Creating a Coping Strategy Toolbox - August, 2021 3rd August 2021 Our monthly wellbeing calendar will be starting August 1st, and we are hoping that staff, supporters, and service users will be able to join us and share with us on how the activities are going on Instagram. This month's theme is 'Active' August, and we want to highlight that 'active' means different things to each of us. 'Active' can be mental, physical, or social, so we've tried to include different ways we can keep ourselves active this month. This month's daily activities challenge us to try various activities to see what helps improve our mood, and what does not. 'Wellbeing' is now a term that comes with an entire industry behind it, and with that can come pressure to be "doing" wellbeing "right". Some of this is made more pressurised by social media, where we are presented with images of what wellness "looks" like - and sometimes how it looks can seem unattainable, expensive, inauthentic, or not inclusive. This is not the version of wellbeing we want to engage with this month - get messy outdoors, blast cheesy music, dance like nobody is watching, and share those unfiltered photos that bring joy. There is no "right" way to do wellbeing - and the fun is in exploring different techniques and finding what works for you. There are going to be daily activities that don't really work for you - and that is ok! Building a coping strategy toolbox requires trial and error, and what works for one of us will not work for all of us. The important thing is that we try various activities to see what works - so that when we find something that does work, we reflect on how it helped, and we make a mental note to use it again. Once we know what works and what doesn't, we'll be more likely to use them in the moments we are feeling stressed, triggered, or deregulated. The more confident we are that we feel comfortable with these strategies, the more likely we are to engage them, the more likely they are to work...and the more likely it will have a positive impact on our mental health. If you already have a coping strategy toolbox, then see if you can build on it this month - as we grow and change as humans, and as symptoms of our mental health change, you may find that the coping strategies change as well. That is why it is important to visit these strategies, even when we're not feeling stressed or experiencing low mood or anxiety. We always want to be prepared with things that help soothe us in the tough moments, where possible. Find it hard to commit to a month of daily activities due to childcare, work, or feeling unmotivated? That's ok. Do as much as you can without placing pressure on yourself. Once a week is better than never. Five minutes in a day is better than zero. Build from wherever you currently are and know that that is enough. You are enough. So, ask a friend to join or challenge yourself to commit to doing the activities every day this month and join us on the 13th of August for a Q&A on Instagram to ask us questions about coping strategies and mental health. Sharing is also optional - some of us would prefer to do this alone and without engaging in social media, and that is just as good as wanting to do it with a virtual community. There is no pressure from us - we are just happy to know you are giving it a try. We hope you enjoy building your personal coping strategy toolbox - may it help you feel grounded in the difficult moments, and may it bring joy or relaxation in the moments of ease. Happy 'Active' August from the Mental Health Team at RWC!