I am currently in the end of my first year of occupational therapy school (a third of the way done, whoohooo!). Recently we had a lecture about different coping strategies we can use with our clients and teach them to practice daily. We mainly discussed how these strategies are used for them to cope with triggers in regards to mental health and various addictions.
At the end of our lecture, we were give a face like this:
We then choose the face we felt most represented ourselves.
Next our professor told us inside the face we were going to write down coping mechanisms we used that we felt were positive and help us. Outside of the face we were told to write coping mechanisms that we use that are negative and hurt us. After we were given the time we needed to reflect and write, we looked at our faces. We talked about what we realized in doing this and what thoughts stood out to us. Some of us were happily surprised that we had more positive coping mechanisms than negative. Others realized the reverse. We talked about how visually looking at our coping mechanisms can help us to understand how we cope well and also how we do not cope well. This visual representation of coping mechanisms now hangs where I can see it every day.
My goal is to slowly erase those mechanisms from outside of my face, and add to those inside. Although my coping mechanisms are not for mental health or addictions, they are definitely strategies I use when I am stressed and overwhelmed. This activity helped me to realize what I am capable of and how I can better myself and my actions. It has helped me to take a step back, and realize when I am using a negative coping strategy, and to replace it with a positive one. These strategies can range anywhere from taking time to participate in a old hobby, a 5 minute time-out for yourself, a simple prayer, getting outside, or eating a good meal.
My hope in sharing this, is that YOU will participate in this simple, quick activity if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or struggling with an internal battle. Hang it somewhere you can see it everyday. As a mom it is so easy to become caught up in everything we need to get done, or things we haven’t accomplished for the day. Allow this self-reflection activity to be one you are able to target your coping strategies, and how you can change them if needs be.
This activity has helped me in various aspects of my life in being a mom, wife and student. I hope it will do the same for you! Hang in there mama, you GOT THIS!
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