Helping Kids Learn Coping Skills
Four Steps to Cope with Stress
1. Acknowledge Your Elephant
Identify the thing (or things) that are bothering you. Call them out and stare them in the face. You cannot form a plan of attack until you know what you are dealing with.
2. Recognize What You Can/Cannot Control
3. Create a List of Coping Skills
Make a list of your go-to coping skills. This is a brain-dump sort of exercise, so don’t pause for reflection or edit your list as you go. Simply write them down. Now, seperate your list into positive and negative coping skills. It’s important to recognize the negative ways that you cope, as you may defer to these, which could worsen the situation. Acknowledge that they are there and then cross them out. Finally, seperate your list into two columns…
In the Moment Stress Relief (Anytime/Anywhere)
- Deep breaths Stretching
- Recalling a favorite memory
- Applying hand lotion (soothing)
- Listening to music
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Drawing/Doodling (stress scribbling)
Planned Stress Relief (Routine Self-Care)
- Playing Guitar
- Riding a Horse
- Playing Basketball
4. Limit Stressors
Do what you can to set boundaries and create distance between yourself and the things that are stressing you out. Going back to the stressful neighbor example (from above), you may need to build a fence between you and your neighbor, if he/she is your stressor. This may also look like cutting things out of your schedule, unplugging from electronics/media, and making a “me time” appointment each week to release and recharge.
If setting boundaries is an area where you struggle, you may want to grab a coping of the book, “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend or download the audiobook.