Building coping skills is useful and we know these work! Not all of these may be appropriate for every child or situation. Some are specific to releasing anger or getting feelings out, others for anxiety or safety issues, and some for physical aggression and self-harm. If you don’t know which technique(s) to choose, ask a trusted adult or a professional to help you.
Some of these, you may already be using. Challenge yourself to try a new coping skill each week and see what else can work for you!
Coping Skills List
Building coping skills is useful and we know these work! Not all of these may be appropriate
for every child or situation. Some are specific to releasing anger or getting feelings out, others
for anxiety or safety issues, and some for physical aggression and self-harm. If you don’t know
which technique(s) to choose, ask a trusted adult or a professional to help you.
Some of these, you may already be using.
Challenge yourself to try a new coping skill each week and see what else can work for you!
1. Talk to a trusted adult about it
2. Sit in quiet and safe place
3. Take a break by taking a hot bath or shower
4. Visualize your ‘best self’ and ask yourself what you would do in that mindset
5. Have some hot chocolate/tea/warm drink
6. Write it down, crumble it up, throw it away
7. Get outside, go for a walk while practicing mindfulness
8. Scream into a pillow
9. Punch a pillow, stuffed animal, bed (without injuring yourself or others)
10. Read. Spending a weekend day at the library can be very soothing
11. Take a nap
12. Do a video blog (don’t post it!)
13. Go for a hard run
15. Talk to friend (when allowed i.e. not during class, w/o permission, etc)
16. Listen to the ocean (Rub hands together quickly then place over ears, listen for an
ocean sound, or use an app, website, audio clip of ocean and practice deep calming breaths
17. Get an ice cold drink of water
18. Watch “funny animal videos” on YouTube
19. Listen to an audio book or podcast to distract you
20. Listen to music
21. Wash your face with very cold or with warm water for a temperature change
22. Cuddle with a pet
23. Take 15 deep breaths and say an affirmation between each breath
24. Ignore or pretend to ignore a difficult situation for the moment and try not to think about
it until you know you can handle it better
25.Rip up paper (or a magazine, newspaper, or phone book)
26. Sing out loud in a safe space
27. Offer to help an elderly family member or neighbor to do some work with your hands like
yard work or cleaning
28. Play dough- squeeze it, smash it, pound it, etc.
30. Hug a teddy bear
31. Clean your room/organize your drawers or closet
32. Stare at picture and make up story about it
33. Throw a deck of cards and pick up in order
34. Make a collage of your goals
35. Use a healthy excuse to remove yourself from the situation
36. Shadow box to hardcore music
37. Mentally recreate a favorite day, memory, or vacation
38. Positive self-talk – you can be your biggest cheerleader
39. Guided imagery or Progressive Muscle relaxation (you can find a great app for these, like
the Calm app)
40. Practice tensing a muscle for five seconds and then release it as you exhale. Repeat on
41. Cry – go ahead, get it all out, don’t try to suppress it
42. Write a letter to your future self
43. Meditate (you can use an app for this too!)
44. Put on Footloose and try to copy the dance moves
45. Make up a rap/Write lyrics
46. Think of people who love you and text them a positive message
47. Get into a calm headspace. Picture yourself as a child. Have a loving conversation and hug
48. Excuse yourself to the restroom and wash your hands for a couple of minutes while
49. Give yourself a face massage, a hand or foot massage, being mindful of pressure points
50. Go for a bike ride
51. Make a list of things/people you are grateful for
52. Put yourself in a mentally safe place and note everything you can about it…what it feels
like to be there, what it smells like, reminding yourself of the safety and peace of that place
(apps for this too)
53. Make silly faces in mirror or with another person to see who laughs first
54. Read the comics
55. Blow real or imaginary bubbles
56. Write a mad story
57. Do 60 seconds of jumping jacks, run in place for 60 seconds, do 60 seconds of push ups.
Repeat again and again until you’re calmer
59. Chose random object and name 30 different uses for it
60. Play the 5-4-3-2-1 game
a. Name 5 things you can see right now, 4 things you can feel right now, 3 things you can hear
right now, 2 things you can smell right now, and 1 good thing about yourself
61. YouTube Tai Chi and practice this
62. Turn off your phone for 24 hours, or make a Social Media ban for yourself for a while
63. Ask to go speak to your Wellness Specialist! If you can’t right now, construct an email, whether in your mind and send it later, or if you can, do it right then and send to
Good sleep is so important!!
Falling asleep and staying asleep, especially during stressful seasons, is a challenge that many face!
There are many strategies to help us wake up feeling rested and the following 8 are some favorites. Give them a try and see what works best for you.
1. Listen to a guided meditation before bed.
We love doing a guided body scan to help our minds get out of thinking and into sleeping! (Insight Timer is a great free app that has lots of guided bedtime meditations to choose from.) There's also HeadSpace and Calm.
2. Do a calming Yin Yoga session.
We find this helps us to feel “heavy” before bedtime. We’ve put together a PDF for you with photos and instructions for our favourite bedtime Yin Yoga poses.
4. Keep a journal next to your bed.
Often what stops us from falling asleep is our mind running through the things we’re worried about or don’t want to forget. Every night before going to sleep, write down everything that’s on your mind. Get it all out on the paper so that your brain knows it’s safe to stop thinking about it. Then, write down 5 things you’re grateful for. Gratitude helps reduce stress hormones and gets your body in a state where sleep is accessible.
5. Exercise daily, but don’t do vigorous activity a minimum of 4 hours before bed.
Intense physical activity wakes your body up so it’s better for your sleep cycle to get your sweat on in the morning or afternoon.
6. No screens before bed!
The light from phone and computer screens tricks your body into thinking it’s morning time so it doesn’t start producing the chemicals you need for sleep. Try putting all screens away at least 1 hour before bed.
7. Try cutting out caffeine.
Everyone is different, so you’ll have to experiment. Does cutting out caffeine after 10 am help you to sleep better?
8. Create a bedtime routine.
Most of our actions are unconscious, meaning that we follow a set of steps all day whether we notice it or not. Our brain is constantly going through “if this then that” steps. For example “if my alarm goes off, then I press snooze” if that is the routine we have created. If you can have a specific set of steps that lead to sleep your brain will go “I’ve brushed my teeth, then turned on my essential oil diffuser, that means it’s now time for sleep”.
Dive deeper into this topic by listening to the following episode of The Balanced Educator Podcast:
Episode 67. 8 Strategies for Better Sleep
Use this list as a set of tools you can choose from when the time is right. Experiment to see which strategies work best for you!!