Whether it’s the end to summer break, or a world-altering global pandemic, the skills we use to deal with change remain the same.
“Positive coping skills should be introduced at a young age, improved upon and reinforced as children grow. They’re tools children can rely on today and for their entire life. They aren’t just something parents or teachers lecture about. If practiced correctly, they can empower and effectively help families deal with any challenge,” said Bridget Mostek, LIMHP, CHI Health mental health therapist.
Mostek recommends flexibility when working with adolescents. “A coping skill that works to alleviate stress or anxiety today may not have the same effect tomorrow,” she said.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things, share ideas and talk about the results as a family.”
When in doubt, Mostek encourages getting back to basics.
“To deal, teens rely heavily on electronic devices. That’s their go-to, but devices may help them avoid, not necessarily accept, change,” she said. “Stepping away from the phones to pay attention to yourself or reconnect as a family is healthier and can be more effective.”
“Change is the only constant in life”- Heraclitus, 500 B.C.
Breathing, and doing it correctly, can be one of the easiest, most accessible and successful coping strategies. Mostek recommends the 4, 7, 8 rule. Take a breath in for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, release for 8 seconds; then repeat. Slowing down our heart rate allows for better focus, alleviates anxiety and helps us to calm our mind for better, more rational decision-making.