Coping Strategies, Advice from my Mom

Yesterday was a pretty terrible day for me. Although I was able to wake up and make it through the first few things on my to do list, after watching the news in the morning, then scrolling through Twitter, everything hit me like a brick wall. I laid down on my bed and just started bawling. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was that triggered this, or why exactly today was the day it hit me, but everything seemed so overwhelming. The insurrection at the US Capitol, the hatred and division our current President is supporting, dealing with quarantine for almost a year, and on top of all that, having to be a “normal” adult and deal with work stress. I called my mom hoping she would have some suggestions to calm down or how to deal with this until we get to the other side, and in typical mom-like fashion, she did (and she’s especially knowledgeable on the topic, considering she’s published an entire book about coping strategies!). I know I’m not the only one feeling this way, so I wanted to share my mom’s advice, in hopes these suggestions will help someone else as well.

  1. Stop reading or watching the news, even if just for a few days. I realized watching the news in the morning was only starting my day off on a negative note, so I’ve decided to use that time to read instead. (Right now I’m reading My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)
  2. Stop mindlessly scrolling. During downtime during work hours, I often pull out my phone and mindlessly scroll through Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. While I follow lots of happy and positive accounts, it’s inevitable that I’ll come across something less than that, and that only brings me further down my rabbit hole.
  3. Create a vision board. 2020 wasn’t all bad, and 2021 won’t be either. What are a few things you’d like to manifest this year? Buy old magazines at your local thrift or book store, cut out images that speak to you and your goals and glue them onto a poster board. On the back (or on a separate page), write out your goals! It’s amazing how well this works.
  4. Feel your feelings. Whoever you are, and whatever your position in life, it’s okay to cry and feel sad or hopeless. But know it’s okay to feel happy as well. It seems like because of the negativity, it’s expected that everyone feels sad all the time, and if you’re happy, it’s because you’re not paying attention. That’s not at all the case. While there are a lot of negative things happening right now, there are equally as many positive things happening, and it’s okay to focus on them and just be happy without the guilt!
  5. Find your endorphin booster. There are a lot of things that are off-limits right now, so you may need to find new activities to make you happy. I’m lucky enough to have a cat cafe in my city that I can safely visit, so I’ll be making an appointment to squish all their adorable fluffy faces!
  6. Give yourself something to look forward to. With no concrete end date on this pandemic, it can be a daunting feeling. Having a weekly ritual gives you something to be excited about, and will definitely help your work days go by faster! My mom and dad have a weekly Friday happy hour that they both look forward to all week.
  7. Reward yourself throughout the day. Set a timer and work for an hour or two, then take 15 or 30 minutes to go for a walk, read a book, or play with your pet (the benefit of being at home!).
  8. Call someone. As a millennial, I don’t like talking on the phone, but even I agree that it’s so much more personal to talk on the phone versus text someone. We’re all in this together, which means that more than likely, one of your friends is feeling the same way you are. Give them a call to check up on them, and if they’re feeling the same, give them this list to help!

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