Think Dirty Coping Toolbox: Distractions & More!
Over the course of the next few weeks, the Think Dirty Team will be sharing our coping mechanisms with you! If you haven’t read our article about Anxiety in The Time of Corona, I highly recommend you do that first. If you are not planning to do that, here are the highlights. There is no one way to cope with the state of the world right now but the key is finding the best way for you. The purpose of our team sharing their coping strategies is to provide ideas for you to try out. We are in no way telling you that this is the best way for you to take care of yourself during this time. Now let’s get into what has been working for me thus far!
Now, if you are not a reader then you may be tempted to skip right over this section. I get it, reading may be stressful for you. Shoutout to schools that force specific books onto students and instil a lifelong distaste for reading. But, before you move on, give me one moment of your time to tell you why I find reading helpful. Truthfully, the reason is quite simple, reading can take you to a different world. There is something very unique about reading that allows you to get pulled into a different place or time. Whether that world is better than this one is not the most important factor. The key is that you are stepping out of your own life. A murder thriller book may present a terrifying scenario but it is still outside your own world. If you are willing to give reading a try, I suggest picking a genre that is similar to the movies you like.
Here are a few books I have read recently:
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck — I would not recommend this classic if you are just getting into reading. If you are a lover of books as I am, highly recommend!
- The Wives by Tarryn Fisher — This is an amazing thriller that is definitely for you if you liked the Gone Girl movie or Big Little Lies TV show.
- Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter — This is not for the faint of heart but will have you wanting to find out more and more.
- Normal People by Sally Roony — This read made it into my favorite books of all time! For those of you who like unconventional love stories.
- Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi — Very weird, very good. This one is not for beginners. There are a lot of mental health themes here so if that is triggering for you I do not recommend.
Who doesn’t love baked goods! For me, however, the best part is actually making them. Even more so than cooking, baking is an amazing distraction. The execution requires you to be far more precise than with cooking and therefore requires more focus. Plus, watching a stand mixer do its thing is so satisfying!
Here are a couple of my favourite time-consuming recipes :
- Tasty’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Once Upon A Chef’s Lemon Pound Cake (a team favourite, specifically Shanen)
In all honesty, I have to be pretty anxious to want to clean. Once I get into it, however, it works wonders. Nothing distracts your mind more than scrubbing your shower.
Some people like to use colouring books but I find it satisfying to swipe a paintbrush across a page. Adult paint-by-numbers sets are perfect because they are a mix of small details and larger areas. Plus the sets come with everything you need, no need to drop money at an art supply store!
All physical activity is great and boosts your endorphins but walking just hits different for me. I find putting on my headphones, blasting music, and walking outside clears my mind. It gives me time to run through my thoughts and then let them go. In a way, walking is similar to meditation for me.
Talking about it or Journaling
While the above suggestions are all about distraction, this one is about working through what is on my mind. Often I find that my mind begins with one thing that is making me anxious but as I talk (or write) about it, I discover there is a deeper issue. This discovery can help you address the root cause of your anxiety. For the journaling I use the DiveThru app which provides different prompts to help you get started. For talking to a friend or family member I find it is best to let the person know you are not looking for someone to solve the problem. The focus here should be on working through it in your mind. You can tell them you just need someone to listen or ask some questions as you talk through it.