Winter Break tends to be a busy season filled with travel, celebrations and LOTS of family time! Entertaining the kids can be exhausting (and costly!)
One of the most common complaints I hear from the kids I work with is "nothing helps." I know this not to be true because *everyone* uses coping skills each and every day- usually multiple times a day!
What is a Coping Skill?
Coping Skills are strategies that help you "hang in there: when things feel overwhelming or intense. Our emotions ebb and flow like waves- while the emotion might not totally go away - the intensity will lessen over time. Coping skills do not make a problem or situation go away- they just help us hang in there until the intensity lessens just enough that we can think and act more wisely- not impulsively.
One May Not Be Enough
If your anxiety is at an 8 on a 0-10 scale (where 10 is full-blown panic attack mode, and 0 is completely calm) taking a few deep breathes may not cut it. It may get the intensity down to a 7 but that's still pretty high!
While I was in grad school, I worked at a group home for teen girls where we received consultation around how to implement DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) strategies in our work. The trainer shared that it can take 6-8 coping skills to match the same relief you feel from a problem behavior. That's why it's important to have a variety of go-to strategies- not just one or two.
A-Z Coping Skill Game
Want to have fun while thinking of 26 coping skills together? Try playing the A-Z Coping Skill with your family. Everyone takes a turn going through the alphabet and naming a Coping Skill that works for them that starts with the letter they have. For example, if I start I have the letter "A" - I might say "Art" the next person would have the letter "B" - they might say "Back Rubs" "Belly Breathing" or even "Blowing Bubbles."
I've heard some very creative responses with the kids I play with and would encourage your family to have a little fun exploring their own A-Z Coping Skill game.
If you or your family comes up with an amazing coping skill you just have to share please do so by commenting below.
Want even more positive influences in your teen's life? Teen Girls Therapy Group is a weekly space where your teen girl can connect with others dealing with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. By talking and learning together, they learn to feel better about the relationships they have with themselves and others.
If you want to secure your teen's spot- complete your complimentary 15-min parent phone screening at 203-228-8971 or completing the contact form here.