Through my work over the last few years, I have been confronted with the issue of coping, both that of others as well as my own.
To be clear, I don't have a theoretical background in this area. Instead, my practical experience relates primarily to coping with caregiving, bereavement and medical crises. However, coping also relates to many other situations, such as: disaster, relationships, depression, abuse, PTSD and change. Not surprisingly, coping looks like many different things, varying greatly depending on the stressor, the individual and the individual's state in a given moment.
I certainly haven't mastered the skill, but I've become more aware of some of my coping mechanisms (and hopefully embrace them more readily):
faith - My faith is the most important part of my life and therefore, also, my coping. During a particularly hard time, I remember reading A Path Through Suffering on repeat, finishing it and immediately starting again at the beginning.
books - Speaking of reading, sometimes the very act can help me clear my mud-mind and take the next step. Recently, I found myself pacing through the apartment, too angry to do anything other than wander around with an exclamation thought bubble hovering over my head. Then, my eyes fell on the poetry collection on my nightstand. Just reading one passage helped distract and steady me enough to begin troubleshooting.
home - Left to my own devices, I would probably spend all day puttering around at home. I embody the word "homebody" not as a preference but as a need. As an introvert living in an extrovert's world, I need the space to re-collect the energy required to navigate the challenges of daily living.
exercise - Partially, I started running because I wanted to be a runner, but I also started running as an outlet for the nervous energy and/or restless mind that anxiety sometimes generates.
emotion - Tears can facilitate my coping. Crying acknowledges the grief I am feeling instead of suppressing it, Once I've admitted that the sadness exists, I can address it. Though sometimes just exposing it to the light gives me the ability to move forward instead of being weighed down by the sorrow.
Question - How do you cope?