How to stay strong: 12 tools

Limiting stress and gathering tools that can help us feel our best are keys to recovery that help us stay strong.

Just like anything else, learning new skills and acquiring tools to help you take care of yourself and stay strong takes practice. We suggest trying one new thing at a time. When you find one that works for you, schedule it into your day or week until it becomes a habit.

Here's our list of a dozen coping tools to keep you feeling strong and stress-free.

  1. Connect. Spend time—whether in person, over the phone or via Skype—with someone who makes you laugh or inspires you. Furry friends are great for this, too. They tend to offer endless, unconditional love.

  2. Get Creative. Do art, dance, sing your heart out, journal, write a story or create a blog. Or do something else entirely. That’s the beauty of being creative; there are endless ways to get your juices flowing.

  3. Get Moving. Play a sport, stretch, take an exercise or yoga class, take a walk surrounded by nature.

  4. Breathe. If you’re anxious, try exhaling longer than your inhale (count to 4 on the inhale, 8 on the exhale). If you’re feeling low, try energizing breath.

  5. Explore your spiritual side.

  6. Read something interesting and uplifting.

  7. Collect personal affirmations that work for you.

  8. Try something new. Test out a new recipe. Read about a country or culture you’ve always wondered about. Explore a neighborhood or shop you’ve never been to. Read a book on a subject you know nothing about. Go to a museum.

  9. Disconnect. Take a break from anything with a screen, especially in the hour before bed.

  10. Nourish your body with good food, hydration, and some good old T-L-C.

  11. Detox. Take a break from alcohol and caffeine.

  12. Sleep. Try going to bed one hour earlier and see how you feel the next day.

If you find yourself getting stressed out or having a relapse of symptoms, give yourself a big break and know that you’re not alone.

Recovery is not a straight line. It’s a process — and often one that requires a lot of work. It’s OK to take a little step back now and then – in fact, it’s part of life.