We all have our different coping strategies. It is important to recognise that some making it easier for others to cope and some don’t. Let’s all make it easier for others to cope with the challenges of this world.
The Diversity of Coping
Sunday night, I was in a conversation about what I had on this week. As I started to list all the things I needed to do this week, I realised that I was a little overwhelmed by it all. One of my coping strategies is focusing on one thing at a time from the most important to the least. Pulling it all together in a long list made it harder not easier for me. I recognise for others the list is the greatest coping tool of all. On other occasions where the tasks have been more methodical & routine, I have made a list just for the dopamine hit of ticking them off.
We all cope in different ways at different times and for different challenges. Having a wide range of coping strategies matters because it offers us a tool bag that we can swap and change when things are not working. As challenges drag on and get deeper or more complicated, our initial coping strategies can cease working or become unhealthy. My caffeine addiction is much stronger now that making myself an espresso coffee is a regular part of by daily breaks.
We need a range of coping mechanisms because one person’s coping can be another person’s source of stress. We need to take account of others and make sure that our coping is constructive for the wider community around us.
Venting can be an effective way to manage stresses. Just expresses our frustrations aloud can diminish them. However, it is important to note that this can be a cause of stress to others, particularly when our venting exposes new issues, adds to uncertainty or can suggest that we are off-balance when others are counting on our support or stability. We need to vent in ways that are constructive and positive for the wider community around us. That includes on social media.
Many people have control as a coping mechanism. Being more controlling might provide psychological satisfaction in a time of uncertainty. However, it is likely to intensify and magnify the stress for those who experience our control. Losing autonomy over one’s work and circumstances is rarely a positive experience and it is worse in times of uncertainty. If control, is a coping strategy for you, ask yourself what is the minimum you need, what autonomy will you grant and how might you mitigate the worst excesses with transparency, measures and systems to reinforce trust.
When life is overwhelming, it can feel easiest to retreat. To withdraw into our own world and shield ourselves from all the buffeting. Retreat can be time for meditation and recovery. It can also be a time of abdication, abandonment, and depression. The further we are from the world the easier it is to lose context and to lose the path forward. An alternative is making choices on where we will re-engage the communities around us and ask for their help to manage through our challenges. Just one friendly ear or one helping hand can make a significant impact on our ease through challenging times. Being able to rely on a whole community can be transformative.
Not all coping is equal. Consider with care how your strategies enhance your outcomes and those of the community around you. We all need ways to better manage the challenges together.