Coping can be described as "an attempt to master, tolerate, or reduce internal or external stressors that an individual perceives as exceeding existing resources"
(Folkman & Lazarus, 1980, 1991)
The Cambridge Dictionary describes coping as "dealing successfully with problems or difficult situations."
What are my coping strategies?
A good place to start is to ask yourself what your current coping strategies are?
The Brief-COPE is a 28 item self-report questionnaire designed to measure effective and ineffective ways to cope with a stressful life event.
Listed below are.a few example items:
If you complete the questionnaire in full, you will have an idea of which of the following coping strategies you may be using:
Self-distraction, Active coping, Denial, Substance use, Use of emotional support, Use of instrumental support, Behavioral disengagement, Venting, Positive reframing, Planning, Humor, Acceptance, Religion, & Self-blame.
Armed with this knowledge you can work on developing helpful coping strategies and decreasing unhelpful ones.
Coping in Context
COPING WITH COVID:
How have you been coping with stay-at-home orders, isolation, lockdowns, a restriction on movement and normal daily activities, such as going to school or work, travel & entertainment, or changes to employment?
During Covid many of the coping strategies you have come to rely on have been restricted. How do you reinvent your coping inventory to cope with a new normal?
COPING WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is defined as excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities (e.g work, kids, parents, COVID, etc), which can lead you to feeling restlessness, keyed up or on edge, easily fatigued and / or irritable. It is difficult to control and can even lead to panic attacks.
Have you been diagnosed with anxiety? How are you coping? What coping strategies can you employ to help you manage better?
COPING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY
Whereas GAD is general in nature, social anxiety can be described as an intense or persistent fear (or anxiety) specifically about social situations leading to sufferers avoiding social situation due to a belief they will be judged, embarrassed or humiliated.
If you have a diagnosis of social anxiety, you may have coped well with Covid related restrictions but now that its back to social engagement, but to working in the office, back to school you may be struggling to readjust.
Take the time to talk to someone about the struggles others might find easy and relearning coping skills in a safe and supportive environment might help get things back on track.
COPING WITH DEPRESSION
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Depression is a common mental disorder affecting more than 264 million people worldwide. It is characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities. It can also disturb sleep and appetite; tiredness and poor concentration are common.
Forced isolation, loss of a job, stress in the family caused by the pandemic can easily trigger depression. Unhealthy coping strategies can creep back in. Keeping these in check or learn to stop poor habits before the become entrenched.
COPING WITH OCD
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is characterised by the presence of obsessions, compulsions. People with OCD have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviours, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning.
The pandemic can heightened anxiety due to the increased likelihood and awfulness of the threat. Coping with OCD in a pandemic entails following government guidelines as they are announced rather than and being going by internal thought s and triggers.