People have to deal with and overcome struggles and difficulties in everyday life. To maintain our mental and emotional well-being during those difficulties, we use coping skills or strategies. Coping skills are behaviors or activities we do to reduce unpleasant emotions and help us regulate them. They can be done on our own or with others and include but are not limited to taking deep breaths, playing with fidget toys, and many more.
Coping skills can also be divided into two categories: emotion-focused skills and problem-focused skills. Emotion-focused skills help us take care of our emotions when we don’t want to change our situation or when circumstances are out of our control. These types of coping skills can look like exercise, taking a bath, giving yourself a pep talk, or meditation. Problem-focused skills are helpful when we need to change our situation, possibly by removing a stressful thing from our lives. These types of coping skills might look like working on how to manage time better, asking others for support, establishing healthy boundaries with family members, or creating a to-do list to start prioritizing tasks.
Coping skills are incredibly useful for all ages, especially when we feel overwhelmed, busy, or stressed. Many families tend to experience these emotions around the holidays as there is a lot to do in little time.
Here are some strategies adults can use around the holidays to cope more effectively:
Set boundaries with family members. We need to care for ourselves first by establishing our limits.
Take time for yourself. There is much to do during the holiday season and putting self-care and alone time on the list is crucial for a better mood.
Get your body moving. Taking care of your body through regular exercise is beneficial for many reasons, but daily physical movement can also help alleviate stress.
Adolescents and younger children can also struggle during the holidays as they can be overwhelming. Here are strategies that families can use together to help support their children in times of distress:
Set time away for one-on-one time with your children.
Ensure that they can take breaks away from family by themselves when needed.
Do fun activities outside in the fresh air and sunlight.
Let your children know in advance what to expect for the day.