If there's anything that we all learn as we go through life, it's how to cope with what life throws at us. From the slightest inconveniences to the largest tragedies, we figure it out as we go along. There are a lot of things in life that we can't plan for, so trying to plan for how to deal with those things is futile. With some things, you just have to do whatever it takes to get from one day to the next. Other times, you need to think more long-term than that for the sake of your health and the health of the relationships that you have with everyone in your life.
I'm a firm believer that everyone should have an arsenal of healthy coping mechanisms. There are so many bad things out there that may feel good at the time but are damaging in the long-term. Whether you're trying to cope with a specific incident, or just trying to deal with whatever long-term difficulty life has thrown your way, it's good to have healthy ways to manage the stress or pain (mental or physical) that it causes you.
I've written extensively on how to positively cope with depression and other mental illnesses and the symptoms that they cause. And no matter what it is that you're going through, you want to get through it in a way that's most beneficial to you. The usual recommendations are working out, eating better, getting rest, talking to someone, going outside in the sunshine, and a million other simple little things you can do to help ease the emotional anguish we all go through. There's nothing wrong with any of these everyday prescriptions (speaking of prescriptions, none of these things are replacements for professional counseling and/or medications). Putting kale in your smoothie and trying to do yoga for fifteen minutes every day is like chicken soup, it can't hurt even if you don't know how much it actually helps.
I'll be the first to tell people that a regular sleep schedule and a workout routine can be huge first steps in regulating your mood and mental state. I wouldn't have made even a fraction of the progress that I've made if I hadn't started taking fitness so seriously. But, that being said, I will also be the first to say that sometimes your green smoothies and meditation periods and bubble baths just don't cut it. Yea they're perfectly positive and healthy but when everything hits the fan at once sometimes you need something with a little more kick to it.
For example, these past few weeks have been extremely rough on my mental health. I do everything I can to mediate but sometimes you just have to admit to yourself that it's time to indulge in things in the short-term to save yourself in the long-term. So I washed off my makeup, sat down with a pint of ice cream, and drank wine straight out of the bottle while I watched Netflix and cried it out.
Was that the healthiest thing I could've done? No. Is it something I recommend doing every night? No. Were there more positive ways to cope with my depressive symptoms? Yes. I get that, I really do. But it's what I needed to do for myself at the time and it got me through until the next day when I could take a step back and regroup and get my act together. I'm not ashamed of it, and I wouldn't take it back even if someone gave me the chance. We all need days like that. We all work so hard to have it together all day all of the time and that's just not fair or realistic.
Yes, we should all try to be as positive and healthy and find the most beneficial coping mechanisms. But just like everything in life, it's all about balance. So if sometimes you need to pour yourself an extra-large glass of wine, burn through a whole pint of ice cream by yourself, or lock yourself up in your room with your phone off for the day with a million blankets and binge a season or two of your favorite TV show, then do it. You've earned it.
Life isn't always pretty, and how you deal with it doesn't always have to be pretty either.
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