Sometimes we mistake self-care with our coping skills. According to Morin (2020) coping skills help us tolerate, minimize, and deal with stressful situations in life. We need coping skills, but we also need self care. Self-care is proactive and coping skills is reactive. The link above gives us a list of healthy versus unhealthy coping skills. Coping skills is something we do automatically when we respond to stressful moments (or perceived stressful moments). They become something we do without thinking. Our. coping skills move to the top of the list during stressful times
Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health (google dictionary, 2020). Self care is simply the practice of taking an active role in protecting our well-being. Self care is a healthy active practice. We all need self-care in these stressful pandemic times, but we run to our coping skills instead because we cope without thought. Self care gets pushed to the bottom of the list during stressful times
In order to understand the difference between self-care and coping skills, we must ask ourselves: What are the reasons I am doing what I do? Sometimes I clean my house to cope and this can be a healthy coping skill, as long as I don’t assume others need a clean house to cope as well. Sometimes I clean my house because it helps me implement self care later in the week.
I no longer clean my house for self care because I have found other things I like to do like blogging, running, exercising, eating a delicious meal with my husband, having a deep conversation on the phone with one of the many inspirational women in my life, taking my dog for a walk, sitting on the back porch, enjoying a cup of coffee. Being mindful in being proactive to choose self care before the automatic unhealthy coping skills take over is so hard.
Lundberg Tuesday Challenge: Write a list of your coping skills. You can use the hyperlink to get ideas of healthy vs unhealthy coping skills. Then use that list to mindfully write down a few things already do or could do for self care. Remember we do not want to use our coping skills for self care.
Move the self care items to the top of of the list, the healthy coping skills next, and the unhealthy coping skills to the bottom of the list. Then, when our unhealthy coping skills become automatic we will have a list to help us until we become mindful to practice self care.
This message is endorsed by Jules Lundberg. I am not a licensed therapist, but one day by the grace of God I will be. These are my ideas and thoughts and they are subject to change.