Wellness Wednesday: Coping Skills

Hi! I’m Liz Fast, a licensed therapist, advisor and counselor here at LBCC. I have been working in the mental wellness arena for nearly a decade now and have learned a few things along the way. One biggie is Coping Skills… 

“Coping skills are the tactics that people use to deal with stressful situations. Managing your stress well can help you feel better physically and psychologically and impact your ability to perform your best.”- Amy Morin, LCSW

We have all heard about coping skills, often thinking “yeah yeah, I know I could do better at managing my time etc,” but not ever really paying attention to it. Then when life gets even more chaotic you find yourself using strategies that really aren’t so helpful. Here are some other options that may be useful for you.  

Two Main Types of Coping Skills:


Problem-Focused coping skills are great when you need to make an active change in a situation. Perhaps you’re in a job that requires night shifts, and you want to go to school. This conflicts with your schedule and makes it really hard to function, so finding a day time weekend job would fix the stress and situation. By doing this your stress may diminish, and you begin to feel better (compared to soothing your stressful feelings). 

Emotion-Focused coping skills are great when you need to focus on taking care of your feelings when you can’t make a change in your situation or do not want to. An example of this would be you lose a loved one. You cannot change the situation, but you can soothe your emotions during this stressful time. 

Let’s look at some examples of healthy strategies.

Problem Focused Coping Skills 

  • Ask for support from friends or professionals (such as the staff at the writing center or math support desk) 
  • Create a priority to-do list, and organize it based on what is most critical to be completed 
  • Establish healthy boundaries 
  • Take Action (problem solve). If something isn’t working, what action can you take to alleviate the problem? 

Emotion Focused Coping Skills 

  • Take care of yourself — do the little things for yourself, like listen to your favorite music, put on that favorite lotion, make a meal you love, take a warm shower. 
  • Use relaxation techniques — pet a dog, practice breathing exercises, use a relaxation app, write in a journal. 
  • Practice mindfulness — visualize your goals, write down your gratitude, think of your happy place 
  • Move your body in any way that feels good for you — dance, yoga, walking, pilates, running
  • Focus on a stress-relieving task such as cleaning the house or a room, listening to a podcast, gardening, reading a book for pleasure 

If you’re struggling to find the best way to cope with your stress, schedule an appointment with one of the counselors in the Advising Center. Call 541-917-4780. Remote or in person appointments available.

Image by macrovector on Freepik

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