New Roots Therapy Blog

Thoughts on Life, Love, & Wellness! New Posts Every Wednesday.

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What To Do When Sh*t Hits the Fan: 3 Tips for Coping With Messy, Stressy Situations

Post written by: Corinne Carter, Relationship Therapist

Sh*t happens and, when it does, it’s helpful to have some strategies in place to deal with the mess! Below are three tips to help you cope the next time your circumstances seem less than crap-tastic.

  • Feel your Feelings: before you clean up the mess, let yourself get knee-deep in sh*t (you’re welcome for the imagery on that one)!  In other words, allow yourself to feel your feelings and acknowledge the emotions that are coming up for you.  Whether it’s frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment…give yourself permission to be fully in that place of emotion.  Cry if you need to.  Take a drive and scream it out (you might want to make sure you’ve got the windows rolled up!).  Meditate.  Say the words out loud, “I feel [fill in the blank]”.  Unacknowledged feelings are more likely to get stuck in our bodies and manifest as physical pain and tension; simply feeling your feelings (without trying to change them) can be enough to release them from your body, helping to mitigate both physical and psychological aches.  As well, acknowledging your emotions can help you to better identify your needs, which can be valuable in any post-“poop happens” planning that you do moving forward.
  • Laugh: The saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” was created for a reason because it truly is good for your mind, body, and relationships.  In the midst of stress, laughter can help you to relax, minimize distress, and point a light-hearted lens at the situation to open up new perspectives.  The next time crap happens, look for the humour in the situation.  Don’t take yourself too seriously all the time (self-disclosure moment: this blog post is totally my way of not taking myself too seriously right now!).  Ask yourself, “Is this really that important? Will it still matter a year from now?”  By developing an appreciation for life’s follies, you create a buffer that helps to keep you from being completely swept away in the sh*tstorm!  For more information on the health benefits of laughter, click here.
  • Practice Gratitude: Gratitude works– it’s a science!  In particular, research has shown that people who practice gratitude on a regular basis demonstrate higher levels of mental alertness and determination, experience greater levels of happiness and optimism, report fewer physical symptoms, and fare better in the face of daily stressors.  In other words, a little gratitude each day helps keep the doctor away.  And the practice of gratitude (both in the moment and proactively) helps to make sh*tty situations more bearable by widening your perspective, developing your resilience, and helping you keep a positive outlook.

I hope you enjoyed this playful, poop-filled post! How do you cope when life sneaks up on you and makes a big ol’ mess? Let us know in the comments below!


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Coping Skills for Stress

Written by: Corinne Carter, Relationship Therapist

When we first meet with clients, we always ask the question: “what are your goals for counselling?”  One of the most frequent answers that we hear from clients is that, through counselling, they want to develop “better coping skills” for dealing with times of stress.

Everyone experiences stress in different ways, and there are countless unique and creative coping strategies available for you to try when you’re up against a stressful situation.  Stress, in and of itself, is not a negative thing; in fact, it’s a necessary part of life!  Rather, it’s the way that we respond to stress and think about stress that can be problematic.  The next time you’re experiencing a difficult/painful/stressful situation, consider trying one (or all!) of the following coping strategies:

1. Focus on what you can control; accept what you can’t:  There are many things in life that we can’t control, such as the behaviour of other people.  Instead of worrying about the reactions of others, focus on how you can respond differently in stressful situations.  Ask yourself, “what is changeable in this situation?”  By highlighting what is changeable, you can then create an action plan to deal with those particular aspects of your circumstance.  Accept that there are some things you cannot change.  Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re giving up or that you don’t care.  Rather, it means acknowledging that certain things are outside of your control.  By accepting what is outside of your control, you will have more capacity for making changes to those areas where you do have an influence.

2. Take care of yourself:  Self-care is important for lessening the impact of stress on our bodies, hearts, and minds.  Making sure that your physical self is taken care of is critical; if your physical needs are neglected, then it will be even more difficult to face emotional and mental stressors.  Getting enough rest, feeding and nourishing your body, burning off excess energy through exercise, etc. are all important elements in caring for ourselves.  Connecting with others – accessing the support of loved ones – is another vital element of self-care.  Self-care doesn’t need to be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming – taking 10 minutes to do something good for yourself is better than nothing!

3. Remember your resilience:  In times of stress, it’s easy to lose sight of the challenges you’ve already overcome.  When we feel overwhelmed, we often forget just what we’re capable of!  By remembering past challenges and the ways you’ve worked through them, you can access “lost” coping skills (i.e., coping skills that you already have, but have forgotten over time).  Perhaps the coping skills you’ve used in the past are no longer strategies that you consider helpful.  Recalling those coping skills can still be useful for more closely examining how you’d like to respond to stress differently now.

If you’d like to speak with one of our therapists to develop coping skills, or preferred ways of responding to stress, please feel free to contact our office at: