Coping strategies focused on improving your mood that you can do on your own are sometimes described as self-soothing or self-care coping strategies. Effective self-soothing coping strategies may be those that involve one or more of the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound).
Sometimes when you help a friend, you might forget to look after yourself. It’s important to take care of your own needs while you’re helping out your friend. Make sure that you don’t give up things that you enjoy, and if you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed, take some time out to relax.
If you’re concerned that your friend isn’t behaving normally, it’s important to encourage them to talk to someone trustworthy like a doctor. If you think they are likely to hurt themselves or someone else, find help immediately – even if they don’t want you to.
When stressed, our inner critic is usually loudest. What is needed is a kinder, compassionate and soothing self. Try soothing words of comfort to say to yourself, such as “I know this is a difficult time for you”, “You are not alone”, “I believe in you.”
Self-soothing techniques include: taking a warm shower or bubble bath, going out into the warm sunshine, lighting scented candles or oil, listening to calming music, playing with or petting your pet, wrapping yourself in a blanket, and drinking hot chocolate slowly.
For those who have a mental health issue, there might be periods of time when things aren’t manageable. Harder times can be triggered if your friend is stressed, or if he or she has recently experienced a traumatic event or changed medication, which can trigger the characteristics of the mental illness.
Some grounding techniques include: touching various objects around you; stretching; walking slowly and noticing each footstep; noticing each inhale and exhale of your breathing; feeling the sensation of wiggling your toes inside your socks; eating fruit and describing the flavours to yourself.