Cookies are a Coping Mechanism

Pile of chocolate chip cookies on wooden desk

By Donna Shea & Nadine Briggs

We both find ourselves in the midst of several different crises happening at the same time to our family or close friends. Anytime life throws us these incredibly difficult times, it causes us to feel sad, angry, guilty, terrified and/or powerless.

We humans all struggle to cope in the best ways we know how. Some of us turn stoic and it’s hard to tell if we are feeling anything at all. Some of us cry and others get angry. Some of us seem to minimize what is happening to protect our hearts. There are others of us who search for the “what if I had only” or something or someone to blame.

When we teach kids about managing anxiety and strong feelings, we share that worrying is mostly a waste of time, since a high percentage of things we worry about, never happen. But sometimes they do happen. And what if something bad affects our children? How do we manage as parents? No matter what happens, we should all strive to move past blaming ourselves or anyone else and keep our support system or “village” intact and strong. It’s hard when our hearts are wounded. We need to exercise damage control strategies such as:

  • Not everyone is going to know the right thing to say, and sometimes best intentions come out wrong. Forgive people who make awkward comments.
  • Remind yourself that when accidents or unfortunate incidents occur, it is not helpful to try to place blame on someone. When emotions run high, blame can destroy relationships.
  • Let each other talk it out. Talking about bad situations can help everyone process what has occurred and help give the feeling that you are all in it together. Humor, oddly enough, can feel awkward or even morbid but can serve as a relief valve during a crisis.  When something awful has happened, it is okay to acknowledge the awful.

Try to embrace any normalcy that remains during the crisis. For me (Donna), this morning it was baking the regular batch of cookies that I make every Tuesday for a class that I teach. There was soothing to be found in the act of not only doing something but sticking with a small piece of a routine. Our children watch how we cope with crises. They should see us sad, angry, and scared. But they should also see our strength.