The following suggestions will help you develop your arsenal of coping tools and strategies, and create a plan of action to help you find balance and get back on track.
Creating Your Action Plan
Be Prepared: It’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but identifying and knowing your triggers can help you stay one step ahead of your symptoms. If you’re faced with an interaction or situation you anticipate may be challenging or triggering, take a few moments ahead of time to prepare yourself. Visualize the interaction, and practice your responses. Plan to take a few moments after the interaction to process and decompress.
Hit Pause: Implement the “24 hour rule.” After experiencing a major emotional event or strong trigger, ask yourself whether this is something that requires an immediate response. Might you take a day to process the event and form your response? If you have time – use it.
Taken by surprise? Before reacting, hit the pause button. If possible, excuse yourself for a minute to step outside or visit the restroom. Take a few moments to practice some deep breathing, and check in with yourself. What are you feeling? What do you need in this moment? What is the best way to approach or handle this situation without compromising your mental health?
Refresh: Neglecting to address your basic needs and practice self-care leaves you operating at less than your best, and not only makes you more susceptible to mood swings and your symptoms, but makes it far more difficult to get back on track. Self-care starts with the basics, so set yourself up for success. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Take time to be active and move your body. Fuel your body with a diet that is balanced and nutritious.
Refocus & Reflect: Take a few moments to reframe, and practice your attitude of gratitude. What are you grateful for? Dedicate some time to self-reflection. What can you do going forward that will help set you up for success? What tools or coping strategies can you add to your repertoire that will help you in the future?
Get Moving: Put your plan into action. When you feel overwhelmed by your symptoms, it’s easy to feel stuck. Tempting though it may seem, don’t rest on your laurels; challenge yourself to keep moving. A mantra will help you keep going when the going gets tough. Remind yourself,
This is only temporary.
This too shall pass.
I am strong and capable.
One day at a time.