Tag Archive | Coping strategies

The HSP in me

It’s that time of year. The nights are drawing in; no more sitting outside in a comfortable warmth as it gets dark. The mornings are distinctly chillier and I am more inclined to snuggle back under the duvet than to leap out of bed raring to go. Energy levels are sapping just as work schedules are increasing massively over the winter period.

Of course I have a 16-week break to look forward to between February and June, but it seems a long time to wait just now.

So how do I make sure that I maintain equilibrium in the meantime? I know that I need to rest, stay healthy and as stress-free as possible. But how?


Targets, financial deadlines, Christmas, all words guaranteed to set my soul a-flutter at the mere mention. I am normally very good at managing my stressors but when I’m busy or distracted it’s easy to forget my coping strategies so here are a couple of reminders to myself;

Plan ahead

This is really important and saves me from a lot of unnecessary stress. Last week for instance I had to travel to London for a training day. I knew that the train would be busy, the Underground even more so. I am used to working from home in a quiet environment much of which I can control directly so being in a lecture room with a group of colleagues can be daunting. As can shopping for lunch at a busy time at the midday break.

I booked my ticket in advance and reserved my seat. An early train to get me into London before the main rush-hour. I took my lunch with me.

I also booked the next day off as holiday. I knew that I would be tired after a long day traveling combined with the training so I made sure that I had a restful day before returning to work. Luckily the weather was sunny and bright and I spent the day in the garden and in the garage making hedgehog houses. Perfect recuperation.

Routine maintenance

Maintaining a routine is not easy for me as my sleep patterns vary so much, as do my energy levels. I have learned instead to “go with the flow” and not worry too much if I don’t quite follow my plans to the letter.

Good routines include, at least an hour or two before bedtime, shutting down all electronic equipment. As an information and social media junkie this is difficult for me and I probably pay the price in that my sleep can be disturbed by vivid dreams and I often wake after just 4 hours rest. Instead, I should read (a proper book, with real paper pages and not on Kindle) and in the morning, I should make time to start the day in a calm way by practising something like yoga or writing my journal.

I definitely need to work on this one. I think I’ll start tomorrow.

Hopefully I shall survive my “busy” season with sanity intact having followed my own advice but roll on February.






What mood are you in?

Diabetics monitor their glucose levels, heart attack and stroke victims monitor their blood pressure, lots of people monitor their weight and body fat ratio and health gurus monitor their heart rate during exercise. And what do we depressives monitor?  Nothing.  We don’t monitor our stress triggers. We don’t monitor our emotional reactions and we don’t monitor our mood.

Why not?

Through greater self-awareness we could identify changes in mood and recognise personal patterns of behaviour quickly so that we have a chance to react early and prevent a relapse instead of leaving it to chance.

There are several on line tools which you can use to monitor your mood and I find Moodscope particularly helpful. After creating an account (free) you answer 20 questions each day and your mood result is available immediately. You can even elect to send the results to a friend who can help you monitor and deal with changes in mood. By using Moodscope I often identify changes in my thinking and attitude which I haven’t yet noticed and put coping strategies in place to prevent a downward spiral. You also get a daily Moodscope email with useful hints and tips on how to deal with common stressors and how to implement coping methods. Moodscope has been featured in a few press and magazine articles recently as a good way of becoming “smarter” and psychologists are testing the tool to see whether it can be launched as an official aid to recovery.

Mood Panda - Online Mood Journal, Mood Diary and Mood TrackerMoodPanda is a free online interactive mood diary where you can create your own mood diary, rate and track your mood, view graphs of your mood and share your mood with others. I haven’t used this tool but know people who find it helpful.

If you are interested in monitoring your mood and finding out more about these on line tools you may also like;

My Mood Monitor

BBC Health-thought diaries