One of the first things I learnt about in therapy was the idea of coping mechanisms. We all develop coping mechanisms to deal with difficult emotions & hard situations. They aren’t inherently negative – on the contrary, as the name suggests, they help us to cope – but too often we end up with damaging coping strategies, the kind that do us more harm than good. Tonight I’ve come in from a long day at work. Not especially stressful but long and the kind where you’re “on” the whole time. I came in, and within five minutes I’d washed my face and was slapping on my night cream. I’ve noticed that is the first thing I do when I get home whenever I have a particularly long day. Suddenly I realised: washing my face straightaway, washing the day away, is a new coping mechanism. A slightly unusual one, but one nonetheless. And better for me than cracking open a bottle of wine.

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