Tackling coping mechanisms
Jackie Crist, Contributing Writer
Stress. We all know this word, in fact, most of us battle with it every day. Stress can appear in the form of an upcoming test that you definitely did not study for, a recent break up between you and your significant other, an existential crisis or two, or that pesky assignment that keeps rearing its ugly head (it’s not due until 11:59PM - okay? Calm down. We have time). According to the Cleveland Clinic, these life-changing demands are known as stressors. The way that you adjust to or tolerate stressors while attempting to maintain your positive self-image and emotional equilibrium is called coping. Even positive events such as having a baby, or adopting a pet, or buying a house can cause stress. So go ahead, take a sip of coffee, put your feet up, get comfy, and read about some great strategies to use for coping with life's stressors.
1. Lower your expectations
That's right. It’s life - things don’t always go as planned. By lowering your expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised when things do go your way. We all have that one friend who is late to everything. When their time comes, they might even be late to their own funeral. Anyway, instead of expecting them to be on time for (literally anything) and stressing out when they aren’t, considering lowering your expectations and adding a little extra time on to whenever you tell them. That way when they are on time or only fifteen minutes late - you might be pleasantly surprised.
2. Ask others for help or assistance
If you struggle with this, watch Queer Eye on Netflix - Season Three, Episode 8- Baby on Board. You'll thank me later. As a matter of fact, watch all of Queer Eye Seasons 1-3. At the end of the day, know that it is always okay to ask for help. Better safe than sorry!
3. Take responsibility for the situation
This one can definitely be hard, but worthwhile. Say you've had just an awful week and it's just one thing after another. Are you going to blame your professor for that grade? Are you going to blame your roommate for "making" you feel mad, irritated, or sad? No. You need to own your own ... *stuff*. Once you've taken responsibility, then you can take action on those stressors, which leads us to...
4. Engage in problem solving
Okay, you've wallowed, you ate that Ben & Jerry's ice cream like it is your job and cried like the first time you saw Lion King (you know what part I'm talking about). You've owned up to what is stressing you out, and now it is time to do something about it. For me personally, I like to map my life out. If the lack of time is stressing you out - buy a planner, take one hour and plan your week. If you feel like you have too many responsibilities, evaluate what you can keep and what can go. If you need to just~ breathe. Do it. Just breathe. Try using meditation apps such as Headspace. Visual breathing exercises can also be found with a quick Google search. These techniques and others can help bring you to that place of Zen. You can even try to do this in between classes to feel refreshed and ready to face the world.
5. Maintain emotionally supportive relationships
Remove toxic people from your life. I will repeat it. Remove toxic people from your life. If you have a person who is not helping you grow into the fabulous, beautiful person that you are- pull an Elsa and Let. Them. Go.
6. Take care of yourself - aka treat yo’ self
The best way to cope with stress is making sure you get plenty of sleep, good food to eat, and that's right- you know it's coming- exercise ( does walking from Kochel to Burke or Junker count?)
The Cleveland Clinic offers these basics for coping with lifle, but everyone is different, and I implore you to seek help if you are struggling. Please visit any one of the awesome people at the Personal Counseling Office. They are here to help. Below are their hours and contact information.
Office Hours :Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (appointments preferred)
Location/Mailing Address :Personal Counseling Office
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
Reed Union Building
First Floor, Room 1
4701 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563