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Coping Skills

Everyone has some stress in their life, whether it is from presenting a project at school or performing in a play, or more challenging stress from things like dealing with drug and/or alcohol issues. Wherever the stress in your life may come from, you can use stress hacks to cope.

Stress hacks like these are often called coping skills, and they will be helpful all through your life as stresses come and go.

You can also take a stress self check to help figure out how much stress you’re experiencing, including some recommendations on seeking further help based on your results.

Hacks for Coping

Figure out which hack will work for you by spending a little time getting to know yourself.

Are you an active type of person, who feels best when moving, playing or being active?

Expending energy can help you feel better – it can help to reduce frustration and anger. Your stress hacks may look like these:

  • Find a walking or bike path and go for a walk or run.
  • Participate in a sport – for example, go to the community centre and play a game of pick-up hockey or basketball.
  • Work out – do sit-ups, run some stairs, do push ups or any other aerobic exercise. You can do some exercises in fitness classes at school or a gym, or you can look online for workout videos to do at home.
  • Find a yoga class, DVD or download a free app and follow along. Yoga is calming and a good workout at the same time.
  • Ask a friend to work out or play a sport with you. Having someone join you can make the activity more fun, and also add support and encouragement.

Are you a person who likes to create and find self-expression through writing or art?

Self-expression is a great, calming way to figure out what you are feeling, and can reduce feelings of confusion and frustration. Your hacks may look like these:

  • Find some paper, colored pencils or pens and draw. Draw something about the stressful situation, or something you just like to draw.
  • Write your feelings and thoughts down, either in a journal (which can be on any type of paper or in a laptop or tablet) or in a poem.
  • Listen to music that you like and connect with. Listening to music can inspire you to express your feelings and may help you to feel less alone.
  • Watch a calming show or video. Pictures of nature and beautiful scenes often help to calm and allow us to think more clearly.

No matter your personality, you can benefit from some other coping hacks as well.

Try these hacks:

  • Ask a friend to join you in an activity that you enjoy and which will take your mind off the stressor. Taking a break from thinking about stressors and clearing your head can be a good thing.
  • Confide in a trusted friend or adult about what is stressing you out, and ask for their support. They don’t have to solve your issue, but listening and understanding can help you make sense of your stress.
  • Go to a movie, community centre or club activity – something that will provide a healthy distraction. Fun and pleasurable activities will help take your mind off of your stress issues.
  • Do something nice for someone else. A good remedy for stress is to help another person. Helping others raises self-esteem and confidence

Be aware of false coping methods

False coping methods can be harmful! To really reduce your stress, avoid the following:

  • Using drugs or alcohol as a response to stressful feelings or situations. The stressful situation will still be there after the high has worn off, along with the added stresses that drug and alcohol use bring – negative health effects, financial stress and consequences of risky behaviour during the high.
  • Engaging in behaviours that might temporarily make you feel in control, but only add to stress in the end – bullying, cyberbullying, vandalism, graffiti or other criminal behaviour.
  • Giving in to peer pressure to feel better, and doing something you feel is wrong. This kind of activity harms self-esteem and has a negative effect on your self-image and confidence.
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