40 coping skills for stressed out adults


Social worker, teacher and the founder of Tweens2teen

Coping skills are those things we do to manage stress and anxiety. Sometimes they help us and sometimes they don’t. The trick is to find strategies that not only help you cope with a crisis, but carry you to through it as well.

I’ve published a list of 40 coping skills that work well with kids already. While some of these are great for adults, I thought it was worth putting together a list of more grown up ideas.

This list is a follow on to my article on making the most of a midlife crisis. Part of the process of redefining myself has been working out some new coping strategies for this stage of my life. You’ll find plenty of them listed below, so trust me, they work!

“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.”


Here’s 40 coping strategies adults can use to manage stress and anxiety:

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Listen to some music
  3. Have a bubble bath
  4. Play solitaire
  5. Take a nap
  6. Sip a coffee in the park
  7. Do something creative – draw or colour in, knit or build something with your hands
  8. Pull something apart that needs fixing
  1. Go stargazing
  2. Paint a wall
  3. Watch some funny animal clips
  4. Take some deep breaths and listen to the sound it makes
  5. Write a letter
  6. Declutter a room
  7. Do a workout
  8. Listen to an inspiring podcast
  9. Plan your all-time best holiday ever
  10. Phone an aunt or cousin
  11. Get a massage
  12. Play an instrument
  13. Clean out your wardrobe and give what you don’t want to charity
  14. Write a card to a friend
  15. Do a mindless chore
  16. Buy a bunch of flowers
  17. Watch some videos to start a new hobby
  18. Squeeze a stress ball
  19. Do some gardening
  20. Call a friend
  21. Give someone a hand
  22. Start a puzzle
  23. Do some stretching or join a class
  24. Watch a movie
  25. Write your thoughts in a journal
  26. Do a crossword or wordsearch
  27. Cook something to share
  28. Light a scented candle and watch the flame dance
  29. Head to the beach, the mountains or a national park
  30. Listen to a mindfulness app, like Smiling Minds
  31. Get a facial or manicure
  32. Visit a museum or gallery

Of course, this is just the start of what you could do. Coping strategies are endless, and it’s about finding the ones that work for you.

Do you have some other ideas? I’d love you to share them below so we can all give them a try. Thanks!

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