Coping Skill Toolbox

How do you respond to stressful events or situations? 


Would you use the same tools when repairing a sink as you would to paint an old piece of furniture? No way! What might be useful for one project might not be useful for another. This is also true for stressful situations. It’s helpful to have a wide variety of coping tools within your “coping skill toolbox.” For instance, if your only form of coping is walking outside, this might not be possible when the weather is below freezing. 


When we don’t have a variety of coping skills to choose from, food oftentimes becomes a form of coping as a response to the stressful situation. This doesn’t become a problem until food is the only form of coping you have. Check out the coping skills below for some ideas to add to YOUR coping skill toolbox!

  • Read an interesting book
  • Listen to music
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Take a nap
  • Have a hot shower or bath
  • Declutter one space in your house
  • Take a ride in your car with the windows down
  • Walk or run outside in the fresh air
  • Check out an antique shop
  • Explore a new part of town
  • Start a new puzzle
  • Practice breathing techniques or meditation
  • Drink hot tea under a weighted blanket
  • Join a new club or sport
  • Volunteer at local organizations
  • Watch a movie or TV show
  • Play with your pet
  • Listen to a podcast or audiobook

If you do happen to choose food as a response to stress, that makes you 100% human. As babies, we were soothed with food when we were upset – it’s in our nature to continue this behavior into adulthood. It’s important to remember that food is not only fuel. Food is celebration, culture, and, on occasion, comfort when needed.