The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Nurturing

No. 82: Valuing My Values

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

…I will practice using self-talk to remind myself of the things I value and care about. In this way I will give myself regular reassurance that despite how things might sometimes turn out, I ultimately have positive intentions. I can relax and let my values guide me. 

To prepare myself to self-soothe like this when I am distressed by negative thoughts about myself, I will first spend some time, maybe with a pen and paper, to think about what my values are. I will ask myself, “what is it that I think is most important in life?”

I will then practice regularly reminding myself “I am the kind of person who values…xyz… so no matter what happens out there, I am all right in here.”  

If I find that my distress stems from my doing things that don’t sit well with what I value, then I will be able to move on to a more problem-solving based strategy to discover what I could change or how I could respond. This week, I will practice seeing the evidence of my self-worth in the values that I hold, the things I believe in and strive for.

Once I am comfortable being aware of my values and trusting them to guide me, I will add this strategy to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing feelings of distress.

No. 64: ME Time

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will give myself two moments of ‘me time’ every day – once in the morning (perhaps the first 15 minutes I am awake) and once in the evening (maybe the last 15 minutes before going to bed). During these times I will find a way of taking some time to myself to do something centering or that connects me with myself. This might involve using the time to just quietly sip a cuppa and read a magazine or write in my journal or take a slow shower or go for a peaceful walk or doodle on a notepad or whatever it is that I find gives me a break from the demands of the day and allows me to simply ‘be’ for a moment.

As needed, I will use this as valuable time for sorting through my thoughts or goals or whatever else might be cluttering up my mind at the moment. Giving myself regular moments to myself will allow me mental space in each day to process what I need to process. I might even use this dedicated to time to try other coping strategies I have been wanting to learn. The point is that I take 15 minutes, two times a day to do whatever I want, just for me: I am worth it. 

If I’m out of practice of giving myself ‘me time’ it can take a while to get into the habit. I’ll be sure to be understanding of myself if I find it hard to put this strategy into action. It is often helpful to plan in advance what I will do each day, rather than expecting myself to spontaneously think of something when the time comes.

Modern life can become very busy, this week I will set myself up to cope with stress by giving myself these two regular breathers that are just for me. This is about practicing the art of valuing myself.

Once I’ve figured out the art of spending time valuing myself, I will add ‘Me Time’ to my Personal Coping Kete. In times of stress and distress, I will try a bit of me time to shift my mood.

No. 61: Changing the Scene

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice getting a change of scene to shift my mood, even just for a moment. Sometimes we need to get out of where we are to be able to shift our thinking and feeling.

This week, when I notice slight drops in my mood or energy level, I will get a change of scene by moving my attention to a different aspect of my current environment or by physically moving myself somewhere new.

It could be as simple as going for a walk down a nearby street I’ve never walked down. Or spending a moment looking closely at a plant I’ve never studied closely.

Giving myself a range of different experiences throughout the week will help me to connect with more positive emotion.

I will search out opportunities to give myself these out-of-the-moment experiences, taking the time I need to make considered responses where I am able to find and savour insights rather than act only out of feeling. I will observe how I am affected by these changes of scene.

Once I am comfortable changing the scene, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of shifting my mood in times of stress and distress.

No. 60: The Good Mood Diet

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I am going to practice The Good Mood Diet. It’s not a food diet, though food will be part of it.  The good mood diet is about creating opportunities for positive moods. This will strengthen my resilience to stress and distress, because it will become easier to counter dark thoughts when I have been experiencing some positive things.

The Good Mood Diet is about finding small activities that can be fitted into everyday life on a regular basis. It’s not about trying to only experience good moods, but about making sure that good moods are part of my experience.

I will start by making my own Good Mood Diet plan, which involves first making a series of lists:

  • FUN: A list of things I have enjoyed doing alone or with others
  • TIME-OUT: A list of things that I have found relaxing or peaceful or freeing – we all need time to do just as we please, to chill.
  • NOURISHMENT: A list of things that I found nurturing for my body
  • ACHIEVEMENT: A list of small everyday things that have given me a sense of accomplishment or strength utilisation.

Once I have built my four lists, I will take out my diary or day-planner and I will plan in one item from each list for every day of my week. That means that every day, amongst my usual activities, I will do one thing I find fun, one thing that gives me time out from expectations, one thing that strengthens my body and one thing that shows me my capabilities and skills.

No matter what is happening in my life, I value myself enough to gift myself the opportunity to experience the good bits.

To help myself along I will make sure that the items on my lists are specific and small enough to be achievable. I will keep my schedule in mind and ensure that the ideas I generate will fit with that. For example, planning full-day activities when I don’t have full-days available will set myself up to be unsuccessful. It would be more useful to find little elements of the larger activity that I could implement given my particular context and situation.

If I find it difficult to think of items to try out, I will use the comments feature below to seek help or talk to some friends about what things they might try. Sometimes bad days and distressing moments come about because we become disconnected from these activities. But when we are stressed and distressed, it is extra hard to do these things. As much as possible, I will try to practice them  in advance when I am feeling okay or during higher energy times of the day. 

Once I have gotten comfortable putting a good mood diet in place, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as something to return to in times of stress and distress.

No. 58: Coming Back to Centre

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will be mindful of the calm, light centre I take within me everywhere I go. No matter what life layers on top of me, that centre is unchangeable.  I will be aware that though my moods and thoughts and situation change, I can always return to this light place within.  It is there, even when I can’t see or feel it.  Even if I am feeling really low or dark, the light place within me remains. I can touch it whenever I want to.

When I notice slight shifts in my mood and frame of mind, I will remind myself that I carry this place within me. In my mind’s eye I will visualise this calm centre inside me and I will see myself moving towards it, while I practice the standard breathing exercise.

In this way, I will practice reminding myself of my own intrinsic,  unchangeable worth and capacity to experience something different in a range of different situations.

Once I am comfortable noticing slight shifts in my mood and coming back to centre, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of self-soothing in the midst of distressing situations. 

No. 51: Building a Body that is Prepared to Cope

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will build my resilience to stress and distress by making sure that I am meeting my physical needs.

I will regularly go through the following mental check-list of physical needs I may need to address in the moment.

There are a range of physical states that can trigger or exacerbate negative emotions and stress responses.

The Mental Check-List

  1. Am I thirsty right now? If yes, I will go and sip a glass of water.
  2. Am I hungry right now? If yes, I will go and eat something.
  3. Am I tired right now? If yes, I will get some rest or do something physical to energise myself.
  4. Are my muscles tense or aching right now? If yes, I will move around or do some stretches.

If I am unable to take steps to address an area of need, I will have compassion and understanding for the way that this need will be affecting my emotions, until I am able to take care of it.  I will let the people around me know that I am being affected by it so they can understand why I might be a bit short-fused or on edge.

Once my physical needs are addressed, I will be ready to deal with the challenges of the situation and engage in any other self-soothing or help-seeking as needed.

When I am comfortable with running through the mental check-list and meeting my physical needs, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for lifting my mood in times of stress and distress.

No. 50: Holding Up An Imaginary Mirror

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice valuing myself. In a quiet moment each morning, I will sit down and hold up an imaginary hand-mirror in front of my face. I will visualise my own face looking back at me.

Allowing myself to become aware of how I usually talk to myself when I look in the mirror, I will smile at the picture of myself that I have imagined before me.  I will tell this imaginary reflection of myself “I love and value you.”

I will carry this sentiment with me throughout my day. Each time I feel stressed, pressed or distressed, I will return to this visualisation in my mind, reminding myself that ‘I love and value myself’ so I can act accordingly.

No matter what happens, it will be okay in the end, because I will love and value myself.

Whenever I look in an actual mirror, I will say the words directly to myself. Or some other version of the same sentiment: I am enough.

Once I am familiar with sending myself messages of self-worth, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of talking myself through moments when I am stressed or distressed.

No. 36: Using Humour

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will explore humour. This week I make a commitment to comedy and humour. Every day will contain at least one item of comedy or humour – I will watch funny movies, stand-up comedy on Youtube or live comedians on stage. I will read comic strips and cartoons. I will check out some theatre sports. I will read jokes with my friends. I might even try laughter yoga.  This week is about creating opportunities for positive emotion.

Most importantly, I will laugh at my own falls, foibles and fears – sometimes, it is all you can do.

In much the same way, spending a lot of time focused on things that make us frown and cry primes us to experience more negative emotions more readily and more often. Putting that light-hearted stuff into daily life is a crucial balancing point that we so often forget in the rush of living.

Once I am familiar with connecting with comedy, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete to distract from and soothe distressing emotions.

No. 32: An interesting day

This week, in order to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

I will plan interesting days into my week. This week, every second day is going to be an interest day. I will make sure that I do, talk about, watch or read interesting things. I will approach each present moment with the mindful curiosity and inquisitiveness that I was born approaching the world with.  I will find out things I have wondered about or connect with old hobbies.

This might take some planning. It’s easy to fall out of step with what actually does interest us.

My first interest day might need to involve exploring what I find interesting. I could use the internet, the Engage Online Resources Sheet or Community Resources Directory or my local library as places to find things that will absorb me. Or talk to a friend to come up with ideas. They might even want to join me.

Regardless of what I do or where I find myself, I will take interest in what is around me.

If I can’t do a day, I will do a moment.

Once I have gotten comfortable having Interest Days I will add them to my Personal Coping Kete as an engagement strategy for times when my mood needs a lift and my thoughts need to shift.

No 28: Have a Beautiful Day

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

I will have a beautiful day. I will plan an entire day that will be beautiful to me. I will plan a beautiful way to wake up, spend my morning, afternoon and evening and a beautiful way to go to sleep.  I might start by thinking about some things I really enjoy to incorporate into the day, like my ideal breakfast or favourite music. I will fill the day with beauty for all five of my senses and my mind as well. It could be nice to share parts of it with people I enjoy too. No matter what I choose to do, I will pay attention to the beauty that is around me and seek out beautiful places to rest my attention. I will feel the air on my face. I will stop to notice flowers.

I will schedule a date for my beautiful day and then I will set about organising anything I might need.

When my day arrives, I will approach each thing I encounter as though it were the first time I had encountered it, with delight in the amazing details.

If I can’t do a day, I will do a moment.

When I am comfortable giving myself a beautiful day or a beautiful moment, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for shifting stress and distress.