Suppose I have several coping mechanisms, things I do when life is difficult. I ‘switch off’ or bury myself in so much work, so many hobbies and interests, that there is no spare time for reflection and regret. If money was no object I would indulge in retail therapy. But mostly money is the actual problem. So retail therapy is restricted.
I was blessed with a mother and father who had their fair share of bad times, yet they always seemed to rise above it. Dad would shrug and say, “worse things happen at sea”, and Mum would make another huge pot of tea and think up a solution, many of her bright ideas actually worked, she was a far better business person than my Dad. Her little savings attempts often rescued us; she had started a penny a week insurance for me since birth, and that came in handy when we married. Had she been in total charge of finances we might have been richer. But Dad was hopeless and Mum loved him, so that was the way it was. The laughter in our house is what I remember though, the fun and the jokes. The way Dad would look at his watch at about 9pm some nights and say “time for a swift half” then off they would steam in their little car, both have a half of lager and then come home. They knew how to snatch small pleasures.
I cook myself out of a bad mood.
The pots and pans, and the yeast are pulled out when life is bleak, I make a loaf or stir a cake when black clouds gather around me, the smell of just cooked bread or the sight of a plump cake has a great and uplifting effect. OK, so the hips might widen but who cares? You could make soup if you want to be healthy. Chopping vegetables can be good for the soul too.
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I pamper myself out of misery.
A long shower, some bright nail polish on my toes, or a fake tan spread over the bits that show, even a sumptuous perfumed cream rubbed into my dry skin, all those things help, and most of the items are in my stock from gifts I have had, so no expense is involved. Feeling perfumed and a bit glamorous helps me feel better about life.
I help someone else.
The way to feel better is to make someone else feel better, say something nice, or send them a card, find a flower for them, ask them round for coffee. Simple and again not much cost. Sharing a cake and a chat can make a bright spot in a day.
I deal with the problem head on then try to get it out of my life.
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If it is an emotional problem, or a relationship problem, there are two courses of action. One is to face it talk about it deal with it, and move on, the other is to decide it does not deserve your effort or energy; to try and remember all things change, and just get on as if it has not happened. It is usually some else who has a problem and they decide to make you feel bad too! So in the end it is their life that needs help, not yours. I know this is a boring statement but what seems like a mountain can be a molehill , so many things we worry about become magnified. Get it in perspective.
I talk to the animals.
I talk nonsense to the cats and used to talk to our dogs, but they seem to make sense of life if I just put a few key words in, like biscuits, fish and dinner. Talking to animals is a sign of madness, but it’s a nice form of madness!
I wander in the garden.
My dose of green is very necessary, I just take time looking at the lemons, watching birds gather nectar, and counting how many of the bulbs have fought their way up. Just a few minutes outdoors can clear the cobwebs. The small connection with nature is a great boost sometimes.
What helps you? I have friends who clean the bathroom, wash a floor or tidy a cupboard, gosh I wish they could come to my house and get their therapy!