#52: Improving Your Coping Strategies

Season #4

Show notes:

Episode #52 – Special edition        

Coping strategies

In our 6-part special edition series of the Voice of Aged Care podcast, we are looking at factors associated with wellbeing for those within the aged care workforce – and in this, the sixth and final episode in the series, we discuss helpful versus unhelpful coping strategies for aged care workers.

In this episode, you will learn some new helpful coping strategies, discuss how to keep unhelpful strategies at bay, and also uncover how to identify when you need additional help and support.

So firstly, as a side note, it is worth mentioning the importance of maintaining an optimum level of stress, as it is in this state when we find our health and performance are at their peak. This is when we are feeling challenged and a little stretched, and not too comfortable, which is very positive for our resilience and wellbeing. So having a bit of stress is actually beneficial for us in this way, but not when it is all the time or ongoing. Just like we can’t run or exercise for 24 hours straight as we need to rest our bodies, we need to rest our brains in the same way too. For this reason, noticing where your stress levels sit and adjusting them to optimum levels is essential.

Back to coping strategies – what does a good one look like? Some positive coping mechanisms that you might already be aware of and be using include: connecting with others; communicating with others; talking about our feelings; practising feeling grounded; managing our stress or anger; getting to know ourselves and checking-in; expressing emotions; being open-minded; journalling; doodling; goal setting; cooking; baking; and delegating are all ones you might be familiar with.

Some other positive coping strategies that you may like to try include: meditation; reaching out for support or guidance; learning forgiveness; positive self-talk; getting out in nature; going on walks; and enjoying a new hobby, are all actions that will help to build your resilience and could be worthwhile to explore.

But what about negative coping mechanism that should be avoided? These include things that are not really good for you, or for others. This could be turning to drugs or alcohol, being passive, minimising things, repression, disassociating, controlling behaviours, becoming a workaholic to avoid feeling, and being overly helpful to others (rather than yourself).

It’s worth noting that when it comes to effective coping strategies, it involves ongoing work for each and every one of us. We must create a safe space for ourselves to be able to reflect and recognise what might be going on inside, and this can empower us to be better and stronger in supporting our clients as well.

So getting in touch with ourselves and recognising the importance of practising our helpful coping skills, knowing our strengths and identifying our support network, the people that we can turn to when we need. Also reflecting on what a successful day may look like for you, what gives you purpose and drive, finding opportunities to connect, and creating a space where you can safely laugh and cry, is highly beneficial for your wellbeing.

One final thought on helpful versus unhelpful coping strategies is, recognising when we need additional help and support. I’m very passionate about this and see a huge need to be more aware about recognising the warning signs that we might need for more help and support. Maybe it might be skipping meals or exercise or social interaction. Anything that takes us out of our routine can be a trigger point that we are not coping to well. If you’re in a large organisation, contacting the employee assistance program is an easy first step, otherwise visiting a GP for a referral can help. Other times talking to your manager and seeking practical support can be enough. Recognising there is support out there is beneficial – and also knowing that the sooner we get that help and support, the better we will feel.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Some new (and some familiar) helpful coping strategies you can use every day
  • Which coping strategies you should avoid, as they are not good for you or others
  • How to notice the trigger points that you may need to seek help or support
  • Why being overly helpful to others (at the expense of yourself) is actually not helpful.


I will be running a workshop on resilience specific to aged care workforce. To register your interest sign up below.