Coping Mechanisms: Choose the ones that work for you 

How well are you coping? Let’s admit it. The “second wave,” felt a bit too much like being Wile E. Coyote as the anvil drops a second time.

In the time of COVID-19, when our normal daily structures are obliterated, we are being forced to rely on our own coping mechanisms to stay emotionally strong.

Don’t you just love discovering killer unexpected solutions that ALWAYS work? Like sugar for hiccups, raw potatoes for itchy bug bites and duct tape for… well anything (or maybe that’s my “Southern” girl coming through). If only the coping mechanisms we use to calm ourselves down were as effective every time. 

Human beings are a bit more complicated than something you can wrap duct tape around. Many of our coping mechanisms fail us, be they binge eating when depressed, drinking too much when stressed, or procrastinating when buried in a to-do list.

Other coping mechanisms are more helpful: Meditating to calm down. Yoga or the gym to incorporate mind-body connections. Socializing with others to foster connectedness and overcome isolation.

But if 2020 has done anything through the experience of a COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest and fracturing politics, it’s robbed us of many of our outlets, like going to a movie theater, meeting friends for happy hour or even going to the gym.

With more of the same stressors on the horizon (none of this is likely to end soon like we thought a few months ago) we need strong coping mechanisms that help foster our wellness. 

The best ones are the ones that fit your unique personality archetype. In short, what works for you, may not work for someone else. 

The Five Archetypes and Coping Mechanisms

I want to share a little gift with you. A little “duct tape can fix anything moment.” This stuff works because it’s not one-size-fits-all and is based on your primary nature, which remains constant throughout your lifetime. If you don’t know yours yet you can find out here

Once you know your scores, come back here and look at the coping behaviors that will keep your mind, body and spirit in check. 

Because here’s the thing that is going to really surprise you: You don’t “cope” through your natural primary instincts. You cope with a different one, and often it’s one you aren’t very strong in!

For example, if you’re a Water archetype you naturally cope by seeking isolation, getting deeper into your thoughts and pulling away from the stressors of others. But those behaviors will likely deepen your crisis. Instead by moving to Wood behaviors (which many Water’s don’t easily identify with because they are often more task and people focused) they will find their path to strong coping.

It’s true for all of us. Like instead of applying duct tape, we’re using Elmer’s Glue and doing little more than making a sticky mess! 

Coping mechanisms for each archetype

Fire – you cope through Earth activities. What can you do? 
  • Eat – make sure you are eating nourishing food. Don’t go more than 3 or 4 hours between meals.
  • Talk – find someone you trust to talk you through the intense feelings that are coming up for you
  • Help – help someone else who is in need
Earth – you cope through Metal activities. What can you do?
  • Breathe – take a nice inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth with enough force to blow out a candle.
  • Organize – clean a drawer, or a shelf
  • Count – how many corners do you see in your room? Door frames, windows, table edges and picture frames all count.
Metal – you cope through Water activities. What can you do?
  • Think – get quiet and imaginative. Tap into your creative juices.
  • Hydrate – drink some water, tea, or electrolytes
  • Listen – put on some soothing music
Water – you cope through Wood activities. What can you do?
  • Move – stretch, jump, do pushups, just move your body
  • Nature – get outside and take a walk in nature
  • Plan – come up with your next step to move you forward through your current challenge
Wood – you cope through Fire activities. What can you do?
  • Smile – get a little silly and smile at yourself in the mirror
  • Play – play a game just to have fun, not needing to win
  • Remember – reflect back on all your successes so you don’t get stuck on what’s not working

Make sense? Maybe at first it doesn’t but try it out. And hit me up on social media to tell me how it’s going. What’s your stress? What was your coping mechanism? How did it work out? Comment below as well. Let’s talk about it and cope together, even if we can mostly only connect virtually these days!