Stress is everywhere. Try as you might to avoid it, it always seems to sneak up on you. Some days are easier than others. What do we do when everything goes wrong and it all piles up? How do we deal with it when we can’t seem to catch a break?
Many people turn to destructive behaviors as a way to cope with stress. That is not the answer. Using unhealthy coping mechanisms can cause serious damage to your body and your mind. Fortunately, there is a better way to keep your cool when you need a quick and safe escape from the madness: a coping skills toolbox.
Find an empty shoebox, drawer, backpack, or any container that you can have easy access to when you need it. The idea is to fill it with things that can help you deal with an emotional crisis in a safe and healthy way. Sensory grounding tools that can bring you out of your head and into the moment are key.
Here are a few things that I keep in mine:
- Small notebook
- Chamomile tea bags
- Minty floss
- Sewing kit
- Important phone numbers (including the Lifeline)
Some things wouldn’t fit in my toolbox, so I made of list of other ideas to keep in there: meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, clean, check on a family member, breathe.
When something is seriously stressing you out and you’re on the verge of a meltdown, your toolbox can provide a temporary distraction. After a little while, you’ll be able to go back to the situation with a clear head and a calmer disposition. This can save you from doing something dangerous to yourself or others.
I would suggest doing this project as soon as possible so that when the time comes, you’re not left frantically searching for an escape. Make a playlist of your favorite songs, grab a box, and start packing!