Coping Mechanisms

During Jessi Connolly’s InfluenceNet class Tuesday night on “surviving + thriving in transition”, she mentioned the difference between Coping Mechanisms and Escape Routes: one God-given, the other dangerous. That entire class really got me thinking, but this section stood out the most and has been on my mind ever since, so I started to identify some of my coping mechanisms during this season of transition.

What is this season of transition? There are a lot of things that cause this part of the year to be so hectic, but this year feels more like I’m turning over a new leaf than just going with the flow of the school year, the weather, the homework, and I think the Lord has put it on my heart to be aware of that. For instance, I went into Tuesday’s online class thinking I would take notes and shore up Jessi’s wisdom for next year, when I’ll be moving on to graduate school, but I left with a whole lot of clarity about just how entrenched in transition I am (thank you, God!). Here are the transitions I recognized:

  • applying to graduate school starts this summer- you’ll find me in a library studying for the GRE, learning medieval Latin and brushing up on my Biblical Greek and Hebrew, and working full-time as a nanny. Yikes!
  • transition of leadership in the non-profit organization I am involved with–and of which I’m now president!
  • moving from one dorm to the next, all without stopping home for more than a weekend to visit and hug my family (and cats!). I love hugs from my family. Oh boy do I miss those.
  • a shift in thinking about my future. I visited a very special place on Monday and Tuesday that has me thinking in a different way about where I feel called to in life.

And through all this, I started to pinpoint my coping mechanisms. In thinking about this, I wanted to make sure that everything that I am doing or using during this season is life-giving and productive to my own self-care. It’s very easy for me to get overwhelmed by stress and eat all the things instead of taking a beat, thinking about what would contribute to my overall wellness, and doing that. I turn to food a lot as an escape route, and I’m praying that the Lord would help me look at my choices more carefully to figure out where I’m escaping and how to use the tools He’s given me to cope instead.

A very lovely blogger Pint-Sized Mama asked the class what their coping mechanisms were, and I found everyone’s responses very helpful in identifying my own, so I wanted to share mine here!

My Coping Mechanisms



I have an on-again, off-again relationship with running, but today I did a crazy thing and I came home from work, about ready to burst into tears, and instead of ripping into that bag of popcorn before dinner, I put on my running shoes and went for a jog. It was nothing to call home about, but the fact is that I chose running over a few other way less healthy and less satisfying options and felt much better for it. I’m so thankful that my body allows me to do this, even if it’s only for 30 minutes! I’ll take it.


yes to… skin care line

Y’all, I am in no way associated with this genius company, I promise. But there is nothing like sitting down at my desk after a long day and hitting my face with one of their cleansing wipes. It is incredible. I feel instantly refreshed, and since I’m too lazy to reapply my makeup, it means I go get dinner, my evening coffee, and even make a library run without any makeup on, which is never a bad thing! I’m learning how to be less self-critical without makeup. It’s a journey, but I’m taking steps. Anyhow, I can’t even tell you how wonderful my skin feels when I’ve taken my makeup off–without even leaving my desk! It’s become a major comfort factor for me and helps me focus.

taking walks + bookstore stops

This is a spot in the garden of one of my favorite campus buildings. It’s so glorious in the spring, and I like to walk there to think. It doesn’t hurt that one block over is also my favorite bookstore, where I love to browse for inspiration. One of my favorite sections is the cooking section–I can’t wait until I have a kitchen next year!


Fun fact: I love drawing…on my tablet! I got this for my birthday after eyeing my mom’s for years (she’s a watercolorist), and I love to doodle on it when I’m feeling stressed. I get so self-conscious about my drawing skills on paper, but somehow the computer makes me feel free to do whatever I want. If you do like to doodle on paper, I would highly recommend Zentangles–their method completely freed my controlling left-brain and let my creative right-brain take over on some rainy days this summer.

P.S. Speaking of doodling, I’m in the midst of a blog overhaul! I registered a new domain and am getting to work on the design little by little, so I probably won’t roll it out for a few weeks, but I wanted to tell you now because I’m so excited!! Stay tuned! 🙂

What are your coping mechanisms? How do you make sure they don’t turn into escape routes?