My 10 Favorite Coping Skills

  1. Journaling: great way to get emotions out!
  2. Art:  drawing, coloring, arts and crafts can be very relaxing.  Many people enjoy adult coloring for stress relief.
  3. Watching a Comedy:  there’s nothing better than to laugh when you’re feeling anxious or down.  Look up funny videos online or watch your favorite comedy! (I enjoy watching clips from Ellen (DeGeneres) on YouTube, they always make me smile.
  4. Talk to a friend or family member:  It’s good to have someone you can talk with who will listen without judging.
  5. Getting Out of The House:  This is a big one.  The worse you feel the more you isolate and it becomes an endless cycle because you start feeling even more depressed or anxious as a result not getting out.  Staying inside all day by yourself feeds into obsessive/repetitive negative thoughts. So get out, go somewhere.  Anywhere.  Sit outside in the fresh air, take a walk, visit a museum, sit in a park, go to the zoo.  All these things can make you feel more connected with the outside world.  I know for myself the longer I stay indoors and don’t leave (sometimes it border on agoraphobia) the more distorted my thoughts become.
  6. Play With a Pet: Pets are amazing, they can decrease anxiety and even reduce blood pressure.  If you don’t have a pet maybe volunteer at a local shelter and help care for the animals, or play with a friend’s pet.  I know the most relaxing thing for me is when my two cats take nap with me or lay on me and purr.
  7. Socialize: Join some sort of group.  It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment.  There are many free activities at public libraries such as yoga, arts and crafts, book discussions.  Or hang out with a good friend.  When I hang out with a really good friend of mine it pretty much completely takes my mind off my problems because we have so much fun together.
  8. Exercise: one of the most effective ways to deal with anxiety is to get out all that extra energy.  Physical activity can greatly improve sleep quality.  It’s good for the body and the mind.
  9. Play a game/do a puzzle: perfect for taking your mind off problems and focusing it on the present moment.  It can provide a brief escape.
  10. Read or engage in some other hobby: I have many hobbies and I find that I almost never get bored now.  I always have something to keep my mind occupied when I have down time.  Learning new languages, music/instruments, find something you enjoy and stick to it!

This is a very basic list of some of the coping skills that have helped me, there are many others you can try.  I’ve seen lists with hundreds of coping ideas, so look around, your bound to come across something that may be beneficial to you, good luck! 🙂

  1. Sunflowers

(Picture taken by me Summer 2018 at a local rose garden)

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Inpatient Tips

I have been having trouble coming up with posts to make which is why I haven’t written anything new in quite some time.  I guess I’m just not that creative, so if anyone has any ideas feel free to post them in the comments.

This topic came to mind today and I felt it is important to go over.

I have been in psych hospitals several times starting when I was a teenager.  Both voluntarily and involuntarily.  If you have the choice, choose to go voluntarily.  You get treated pretty much the same regardless at the hospital but the police will likely treat you like a criminal if they have to bring you there.

Here are my tips:

  • Bring clothes (stuff that doesn’t have strings attached) bring something warm because most hospitals are cold.
  • Don’t bring any sharp stuff
  • Participate in group.  You generally have several groups a day, at least that’s how the hospitals around here are.  Make sure you are active in them.  If you’re there involuntarily they will be looking to see your progress in the groups.
  • Advocate for yourself.  If you feel like something is wrong don’t hesitate to talk to the director of the program about your concerns.  I once had an incompetent psychiatrist who tried to get me sent to a residential facility even though I was doing 100 times better and it was only my first time being hospitalized and all the staff members agreed that I was doing much better.  Thankfully he discharged me once I was there for the max time.
  • Bring something to read.  There are several hours in the day where you aren’t doing anything, a book can help you escape mentally and make the time go by faster.
  • If your doctor says they’ll put a hold on you if you decide to sign yourself out (if you’re there voluntarily) listen to them and just wait until they decide to discharge you.  The last thing you want is to be there on an involuntary status, it will just keep you there longer.
  • Take the meds they give you, complying with the treatment is a big part of recovering.  If you have issues with any of your medications be sure to voice your concerns to the doctor.
  • Do NOT start dating another patient you meet there.  It is not the place nor time and you each have your own problems you’re trying to resolve.

I’m just putting down things that come to mind right away when I think about my inpatient stays.

It can be a wonderful experience.  Take advantage of the therapy and groups.  Get the help you need and most importantly be honest with your doctor.  If you’re not feeling better, don’t tell them you are, tell them the truth so they can help you.

Coping Skills

Coping skills are what the name implies, things that can help you cope with tough situations in life.

Different things work for different people.

What do you enjoy doing?

Think about that for awhile and try to come up with a list of things you can do easily when times are rough and you need a distraction.

Here are some of my top coping skills that have helped me many times.

Journaling

This is definitely at the top of the list for me.  It’s a great feeling to be able to just write and get all your feelings out, especially when you have nobody to talk to.  It’s also interesting to look back at patterns in the future and see how you dealt with things before.  I personally use a physical journal, I just happen to like that better.  You can do it however you want, blog, draw, write in a journal.

Coloring

Another big one, this is insanely helpful.  You may think it sounds silly for adults to color but it’s not at all.  It’s extremely relaxing, it gets your mind off what’s going on around you and on deciding which color to use next.  A very good distraction tool.  There are thousands of coloring books you can find online and order, even ones specifically for adults meaning that they’re much more intricate and time consuming than a child’s coloring book, but then again simple is fun to.  Whatever makes you happy!

Music

This is a tricky one, because naturally you will tend to be drawn to more depressing/angry songs when your depressed or anxious.  That’s okay too but it’s not good to dwell on bad feelings.  Try making a playlist with a mix of different types of songs so it doesn’t get to depressing.

Those are my top 3 coping skills, here is a simplified list of things that help me relax or take my mind off things.  Feel free to reply with what helps you or tweet me @ChaoticMindBlog

  • Relaxing shower or bath
  • Going for a swim
  • Taking a walk
  • Reading a good book
  • Watching a funny or positive movie/videos
  • Meditating
  • Arts and crafts
  • Playing with your pet(s)
  • Taking an afternoon nap (refreshing)
  • Practicing muscle relaxation techniques
  • Listening to relaxing sounds/music
  • Organizing/cleaning (helps some people feel better)
  • Having a cup of tea or cocoa

Your Illness Doesn’t Define You

It’s common for people to say things like “I’m Bipolar” or “I’m Schizophrenic” but I think a better wording would be something like “I have Bipolar disorder or “I have Schizophrenia” Now, you can say it however you want but what’s important is what you believe behind it. Are you just Schizophrenic or whatever your diagnosis is, or are you a person, beyond a diagnosis.  Sometimes we get caught up in our labels, A lot of times people try to label and diagnose every behavior as some sort of episode that is caused by their illness.  It’s completely normal to have sad days, to have a bad week, to get angry, to get a little hyper or over enthusiastic.  That is within the normal range of emotions.  It’s concerning that people want to medicate away any emotions they have, they are part of life, remember that life is full of ups and downs, it’s learning to cope with them that will get you through.  It feels good to experience a full range of emotions and not be totally numbed out, that’s the point of life, to experience it.  Of course your illness is serious and may need medication, but that doesn’t mean it defines you and is all there is to you.

You Can Succeed

Well, the title is pretty cheesy but it’s reality,  You can succeed in life no matter what mental illness ails you.   There is help out there, reach out to a school counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist if necessary.  You can get to a point where you are stable, it may take time and several med adjustments but you can accomplish your goals.  Whether it be going to college, learning to draw, learning to play an instrument or getting a job, you can succeed just like any other person, it will just take more time and patience.  I started college right out of High School but wasn’t currently diagnosed with this illness yet and didn’t even make it past the first week due to distracting symptoms.   Now, a few years later, I am stable enough to try again.  I am taking 2 classes and am doing very well in both of them.  What are some of your goals?

10 Quick Tips: Coping With Anxiety

Whether you have a full blown anxiety disorder or not, everyone has anxiety to some extent. Stress affects everyone and in different ways.  Here are some coping skills to help deal with anxiety.

  1. Journaling: This is the one I use most often. It feels good to get my thoughts out on paper.  It’s also a nice way to record and track progress.
  2. Coloring: It’s time consuming and very therapeutic
  3. Doing Puzzles: Crosswords, word finds, things like that plus it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
  4. Stress Ball/Tangle toy: These are both things you can fidget with that can take your mind off what’s bothering you for a little bit.
  5. Tea: Drinking a warm cup of tea or cocoa can be very relaxing.
  6. Showering/Bathing: Again, both very relaxing.
  7. Listening to Music: Even sing if you want to, put on some happy music
  8. Deep Breathing Exercises: Breathe in and out slowly, try to get your heart rate to calm down if you’re having a panic attack.
  9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This entails tightening your muscles for a certain amount of time, releasing, and so on.
  10. Websites: Going on support forums like http://forums.psychcentral.com/  Or really any site like Pinterest, something that takes your mind off things and gets you to focus on something more positive.