You Can Cope

On a day where I feel that I don’t have much to say my question to myself has been:
‘How do I write when I am struggling to find the words?’ 

When I began this blog I made the commitment to myself that I would post without exception every Monday, keeping myself accountable has supported me to honour this commitment. 
In the interest of creating a blog that gives insight into my little world, without too much censoring, I am committed to writing even on days where I feel I have nothing to say. 

This has prompted me to explore ways of being able to write when lacking focus. Primarily it has taught me to be patient with myself. Sometimes stepping back to refocus my headspace in order to achieve the desired outcome when writing. 

As established in my first blog post it’s not how you begin that always matters but the act of getting the wheels in motion, committing to starting even when you are unsure of the outcome. 
Today I reminded myself to shift the focus off the overall intended end goal (this post) and set myself smaller, more manageable tasks to get to where I wanted to be.Which in the case is putting together a reasonably coherent piece of writing to share with you. With the hope that something I say may add some value to your day. 

Inspiration, Creativity, Motivation

All positive aspects of our lives that in my eyes continuously fluctuate.
You may go through periods of time where you feel unbelievably motivated; feeling as though you are one of life’s winners, smashing your goals daily and enjoying every glory life has to offer. 

Conversely, you will undoubtedly experience periods where you feel extremely demotivated and uninspired. During which, perhaps due to the power of perception, you may find it hard to remember the times where you were highly motivated or inspired and the finish line may seem to be a distant illusion. 

With motivation being, almost, guaranteed to come and go in waves it’s often worth taking a step back when it’s seemingly non existent to remind yourself that it will return and progress often comes in various forms. 

The same principle applies to writing – sometimes it pays to take a step back. 

These first few paragraphs have no doubt provided fairly good insight into my current mindset. So putting that to one side and moving forward I will come to my focus for this weeks instalment. 

Coping Mechanisms

What are they? Why do we need them?

I am going to share with you some of my thoughts regarding reliable coping mechanisms and how when we put these in to place daily we become well versed in knowing what to do during times of struggle. 

From my understanding coping mechanism are strategies or skills you put in place to allow you to best manage your own emotional wellbeing, kind of like your suit of armour for life.
They support you when tackling issues that cause stress or negativity. Providing good foundations for healthy emotional wellbeing. 

Our reliance on such mechanisms provides us a constructive way of managing stress and guiding ourselves smoothly through different times. 

From my experience there are some that are more reliable than others in time’s of need. With my personal opinion being that the most reliable coping mechanisms are ones which you can action alone ie. they don’t rely on outside factors. However external focused coping mechanisms (such as friends and family) can also play a valuable role when it comes to wellbeing. 

It’s also possibly good to assess the interchangeability of such strategies to minimise risk of your emotional wellbeing unravelling if one of you coping mechanisms is no longer able to provide reliable support. 

With the understanding that everyone will have different preferred coping mechanisms; some of which we may be aware of, others we may have in place without even realising. I have decided that the way I would like to structure this for you is a list, in no particular order, of coping mechanisms I employ and find useful.

With coping mechanisms being subjective I would like to preface this with the following:
some of these may work for you, some you may already do, some you may think absolutely no way and maybe you have your own you are willing to share.
So, here it is:

Exercise

As predicted by those of you who have been paying attention over the past weeks, I place a heavy reliance on exercise, of many forms, for helping me cope with any stress or struggles.
Science tells us that regular exercise helps to stabilise mood, promote good sleep hygiene and reduce stress. I can say without hesitation that for me this is very much the case.
I live an active lifestyle. Undertaking exercise in many forms: running, walking, cycling, weight training, yoga. Keeping variety to reduce boredom and being mindful of not over exercising and burning out.
Exercise has supported me though my life for sometime and I place every confidence in its ability to continue to do this.

Spending Time in Nature

Being outside is my happy place.
Beach, forest, countryside, spending time in these places never fails to put a smile on my face.
It is my downtime and a reliable go to for days when I am not feeling on top form.
Spending time outside also boosts vitamin D levels which helps to promote mood regulation.
Form personal experience I have also found that spending time in nature stimulates my creative side which can be handy for problem solving! 

Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

What do I mean by this? Well when it comes to sleep the following steps are important to observe to ensure that you are well rested and that your mood is not negatively impacted by lack of sleep:

– Maintain a good sleep routine, 7-9 hours a night is a good average guideline.
– Prioritise sleep, make sure that you give yourself enough time to unwind before bed.
Perhaps create a bed time wind down routine to ensure this happens.
– Avoid substances, such a caffeine, too late in the day that may disrupt sleep.
– Leave technology outside of the bedroom. (One that we all know we should do but sometimes provides the most challenge to action)

Journaling/ Diary

This is a relatively new addition to my coping mechanise arsenal and one that I have found increasingly helpful when it comes to supporting my emotional wellbeing. 

For me this involves keeping a diary of sorts on the notes section on my phone. Easy to access wherever I am. It allows me to jot down my thoughts, feelings and observations as and when I need to. Sometimes I come back to these, other times its just providing me a space to get my thoughts from my head to writing. 

Meditation

As discussed in my blog post a couple of weeks back this is something I am now practicing daily as a way to become more aware of my headspace and allowing me that space to care for that to the best of my ability.
In terms of a coping mechanism I have also observed that meditation can be applied to various aspects of your life to provide a little extra mindfulness and calm. 

Stretching

It feels only fitting to dedicate a operate section to this as it plays such  a vital role in my day to day. Setting aside time to move my body and stretch to release tension has been an invaluable way of allowing me space to switch off. I know that when I am giving the time to this my thoughts often dissipate often allowing me to get greater clarity on things that are on my mind.
In short, moving my body often takes the pressure off my mind. 

Smiling

Never underestimate the power of a smile! I am not saying its going to solve all worldly problems, but a smile goes a long way into promoting happiness and sometimes is what’s needed to brighten up your day. 

Me Time

This can come in many forms, wether its having some time away from you phone, taking a nice long bath, going to a walk or spending some time at a much loved location… whatever me time is for you its something thats entirely dedicated to you.

We all need time alone to unwind, and this is something that can never be underestimated as a way of managing stress levels and giving yourself that positive headspace. 

Time spent with Friends, Family, Loved Ones

Time spent with friends and family can be valuable sources of support in times of need. Knowing you have people you can rely on and turn to when needed is invaluable. Often sharing your worries and problems with a friend is just what is needed to take the pressure off and give you some much needed perspective. 

Personally, having such an incredible support network of friends and family is something that I am thankful daily and I would encourage you to show your gratitude to those that help support you when you need a little boost. 

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