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My coping strategies

By Amelia Alexander

I have not written to you all in a while. It’s not because I’m at a loss of inspiration, but rather, a lack of motivation. People often confuse unmotivation with laziness. The careful distinction between the two is that lazy people desire to do the bare minimum. Whereas unmotivated people only have the capacity to do the bare minimum. There are things that you can do to spark motivation, but ultimately some people just have different brain chemistry that makes them prone to feeling a certain way. Whether it be depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, trauma, circumstantial problems, etc, life can wear on your mind. When simple tasks become somewhat cumbersome, I know that it is time to utilize my coping strategies. I wanted to share some of mine in order to provide help to anyone reading this, and to normalize self-care for when you are struggling.

  • Writing poems or rants about how I feel. Rationalizing and finding a more logical perspective is something that helps me when I am in a rut. Turning negative feelings into art also makes me feel better. I am very emotional and sometimes that makes my problems feel much more intense. I think about them so personally that I forget that I am not alone, and that on a greater scale, I am very blessed. Rationalizing my feelings by writing them down helps me gain perspective.
  • Finding comfort in my favorite things. I have found that on my worst of days, Superbad still makes me laugh. ‘Let Down’ By Radiohead is still a wonderful listening experience, and my dog, Stewie, is still adorable. When you are so low, sometimes you don’t feel as passionate about the things you care about. But for me, doing some of my favorite things that require little energy (like watching a movie) help me feel better and remind me how life is kind.
  • Building momentum. I am a believer in building momentum when it comes to motivation. Sometimes I keep my shoes on when I get home so that I carry the motivation to do the dishes or clean my room. It sounds silly, but it helps me from losing motivation.
  • Monitoring my thoughts. I’ll find myself saying harmful things to myself and I stop and speculate. I understand that criticizing myself and being harsh towards myself will not help me feel better or be a better person. Kind affirmations help me be a better person. Personally, I am already so self-critical that I do not need any additional negative judgement from myself. I use affirmations like “I am enough” and “My value is inherent” to counteract those negative thoughts.
  • Taking deep breaths. Breathing deeply is underrated. It gives my mind something momentous to focus on, and it helps me physically feel better. Certainly, there is science to prove the power of breath, and I’d recommend doing your own research if you are interested.
  • Taking walks. Taking walks and being outside usually improves my mood and builds up my momentum. I usually bring my dog. If you see me walking, feel free to wave.
  • Romanticizing my life. I pretend I’m in a movie or that I’m super important and it helps me want to do things. I romanticize making food, cleaning my room, writing these articles, etc. and it makes it more fun to perform said tasks.
  • Spending time with my friends. I have a good relationship with my friends. Sometimes when I’m down I want to isolate myself from them, but I always feel better after I commit to spending time with the people I love.

Obviously these tricks are not universal. I am a sixteen year old who is sharing her personal coping strategies. That said, take this article with a grain of salt.

I have found that I can’t feel better until I commit to it. You have to want to feel better, and you have to put effort into feeling better. I hope that this article helped you find something useful. I hope you remember that you are not alone and that your value as a human truly is inherent.

Amelia Alexander, an Ada HS student, is the Icon's newest columnist. Her focus is writing about her generation. You will find all her columns on our "Columnists" page.