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Coping Bank

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Make Your Own Coping Bank

We take the money we earn and put it in the bank for when we need it. We take the monetary gifts we get from others and sock it away in our piggy banks or bank accounts for a rainy day or for times of need.

A Coping Bank is the same -- we take what we learn about coping alternatives and put them away, in the backs of our minds, for when we needs them. But during recovery that can be difficult, and during times of crisis it's often hard to think of what we should do. Make your own Coping Bank and you can go and make a withdrawal when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, confused (etc.) and in need of healthy ways to handle it.

How to do it:

1. Use a shoebox, an old piggy bank, a tupperware container, a juice bottle -- it should be something you can cut a slit in to make your deposits, but that is easily opened so you can make withdrawals when you have to.

Decorate the item you chose with magic markers, crayons, paper, buttons, ribbon, photos of loved-ones, affirmations, fabric, cartoon characters, anything you like!

Cut a small slit somewhere in the top or side of your item -- this is where you will make deposits.

Write a whole bunch of healthy coping alternatives on small sheets of colored paper (like construction paper, stationary, old greeting cards, index cards). Here are some examples...

  • Write in your Journal
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Write at least 5 affirmations
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Play your favorite instrument
  • Tell one person how you feel
  • Pop or stomp on bubble-wrap
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Paint a picture
  • Take a long hot bath
  • Go berry picking
  • Take a long drive
  • Take a leisurely walk
  • Rent your favorite movie
  • Take a trip to the toy store
  • Fingerpaint, Doodle
  • Build with blocks. Build a tower and knock it down
  • Build with Legos
  • Spend time with your pet
  • more ways to cope...
  • Come up with your own too!

Take all these little sheets of paper and deposit them into your bank. You can always add more as time goes on, you can make deposits whenever the mood strikes you! You should initially try to get at least ten to fifteen ideas in your bank.

Place you Coping Bank on your dresser, next to your bed, in your china cabinet -- someplace easily accessible and where you'll know where it is.

Make a mental commitment to yourself to go to your Coping Bank when you need to!

Next time you are feeling sad, angry, overwhelmed, confused, or stressed-out, and need to find healthy ways to cope, go to your Coping Bank and make a withdrawal. Pull out one of those sheets of paper and do what it says! (remember to put it back in your bank after you've read it, so it's there for the future).

Remind yourself... "I am taking care of ME!"


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