Looking for advice to cope better

Recently, I found myself reflecting a lot and in that time of reflection, I’ve come to realise and become even more aware that I’ve been drowning myself with work as a way to cope with certain unplesant feelings and mental health struggles that I’ve been experiencing.

Personally I feel it’s great that I came to this relisaton and awareness, I think it’s also cause my body is sending a signal to do something about this because honestly while work can be and is actually a good distraction (for me), it’ll become deterimental (exhaustion, burning out etc) if done in excess (which most likely happen soon if I don’t intervene soon).

The worrying sign is that I find myself spiralling into low mood when I’m not working… I’ve been working OT or taking extra shifts at work as a way to cope and I’ve become acustomed to that lifestyle that when I’m not working, I become bored easily and will feel restless.

I do acknowledge this issue and hence also why I wanted to ask for advice on how can I disengage from work and what can I do to replace “work”. I have some ideas in mind (self-care etc) but I think the thing on my mind too is to how to find motivation to do these things and not feel like work is the only way to distract myself/ cope.

Any advice/ suggestions/ words of wisdom is appreciated, thank you :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing @Marshmallow.youghurt. It’s really commendable that you’ve taken time to do some self-reflection. In a fast paced society like Singapore, many of us (myself included) get caught up in the busyness and forget about self-reflection.

I’m no expert but I’ve faced a similar situation like you where I bury myself in work to distract myself from other struggles. I think it’s important to first find what you enjoy doing outside of work. Once you have identified that, you can slowly transition to doing more of your new-found hobby.

It’s very easy to jump right back into work because it’s a coping mechanism that we’re so familiar with so I make a conscious effort to turn off work-related notifications after working hours. I’m a calendar person so I also try to block time off to try new things. Having that dedicated time will help to prioritise hobbies so that you don’t have that much of “free time” for you to go back to work.

For me, I’ve started gymming and running more often while listening to my favorite tracks. It’s a good way to stay healthy while indulging in some precious alone time. What are some of the self care ideas you have in mind?

Hi @Jaws

Thank you for your suggestion, it definitely sounds like a good idea to set aside specific time for self-care/ time away from work.

Lately, I’ve started on my arts and craft again and occasionally, I’ve been trying to game either on my computer or my Nintendo switch.

I hope that I’ll be able to get into the habit of reading again as well as exercise, I hope to be able to cycle and swim more regularly. I’m just trying to find the motivation and energy to get out of bed :laughing:

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@Jaws Additionally, the calendar idea sounds like a great idea, im working part time (while studying)… (I also feel like I’m a calendar person, I like to block out days that I’m not available to work/ like to have off)

so it’ll be great to set aside these days/ time when I don’t have to work/ go to school and take these times to take a walk in nature/ cycle/ swim or even travel around Singapore/ visit attractions in Singapore (be a tourist in my own country), been wanting to visit the new Bird Paradise that just opened in Mandai :slight_smile:

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It’s nice to meet another “calendar-person” haha. Glad you found the suggestion helpful. Sometimes it’s tempting to only block out time when you have a plan but I found that even blocking out time without a plan feels liberating.

Feels like you have many plans lined up, let us know how it goes! If you wanna kill two birds with one stone, can go play Pokemon Go (walk and game) or Ring Fit on Nintendo (exercise and game). :joy:

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Some days are set aside for rest and time to sleep in hahaha

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Sleep is important. Be like Snorlax :sleeping:


Hi @Marshmallow.youghurt

First of all, I’m so sorry for the delay in responding to your post. We’re trying to respond to everyone’s post personally so it has taken us some time. Finally here! Thank you for being so patient :slight_smile:

You know, as I read your sharing, I’m really glad you’ve taken the time to reflect on your coping mechanisms and have recognized the need for change. It’s truly an important step towards a more balanced life and a healthier state of mental and emotional well-being.

I want to affirm you that the way you’re coping (drowning yourself in work) is actually quite a normal thing for people to do when they’re trying to distract themselves. And when work is ‘absent’ or when there’s no work left to do, the downward spiral begins because there’s a sense of emptiness and lack of purpose for that moment (hence the restless feeling that you experience). So it truly is a very normal thing that people do - and your feelings are completely valid.

Sometimes we find it difficult to disengage from work or keeping ourselves distracted because we haven’t found another alternative, or we just don’t have the motivation to try out some self-care activities. It’s understandable that we would not have any ‘excitement’ or energy about doing something new, instead of something we’re used to.

I want to encourage you to try these things to help you disengage from work and find healthier ways to cope:

  1. Gradual Transition:
    I can imagine that making a sudden shift from using work as your primary coping mechanism to embracing leisure activities may feel challenging. Instead of quitting work-related activities abruptly, consider a gradual transition. You can begin by setting boundaries on your work hours and allowing yourself designated periods for work and clearly defined breaks. Over time, you can reduce the extra hours you spend on work and replace them with activities you find enjoyable and fulfilling.

  2. Explore Interests and Hobbies:
    Perhaps the reason why you feel unmotivated to try self-care activities is because you haven’t found one that you will truly enjoy? Engaging in activities that genuinely interest you can be a great way to find motivation outside of work. You can start by making a list of hobbies or interests you’ve had in the past or would like to explore first - and then trying each out. Whether it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, gardening, reading, or any other activity, make sure to allocate time in your schedule for these pursuits. You can start with small, manageable goals that can make it easier to build motivation and develop a sense of enjoyment in non-work activities.

  3. Mindfulness and Self-Care:
    I encourage you to incorporate mindfulness practices and self-care routines into your daily life. Mindfulness can help you stay present and reduce the restlessness or boredom you may experience when not working. Additionally, prioritize self-care activities that nurture your mental and emotional well-being. This can include practices like meditation, yoga, journaling, or simply taking quiet moments to relax. Remember that self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for maintaining balance and preventing burnout. You can try this meditation activity that can help you get started: Mental Support & Wellbeing Resources in Singapore to Improve Your Mental Health | mindline.sg

Finally, remember that it’s okay to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist as you navigate this transition. They can offer encouragement, accountability, and a listening ear as you work on finding healthier ways to cope with your feelings and mental health struggles.

I’m proud of you for taking a positive step towards self-care and well-being, and with time and effort, I believe that you can have a healthier and more balanced approach to your life.

Let us know how you’ve been coping so far, and share with us if there’s any other question on your mind! :slight_smile: Take care and stay well!

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Hi @cottonsoul

No worries about the late reply! In fact, I really appreciate the reply.

When I wrote this post, (I had a different user name) haha but I was also struggling with the recent departure of my sch counsellor. I was really close with her and even though I tried to stay strong, I took the news really hard and her absence really took a toll on me.

However fast forward to today and I’m coping better, work wise, I make it a point to schedule off days every week.

When my sch counsellor left, I was assigned a replacement counsellor, at first even though he’s really nice and great, it was quite difficult to open up to him mainly cause I was still trying to get over my previous counsellor’s departure and wasn’t ready to a new relationship but It’s definitely slowly getting better.

Additionally, in another Let’s Talk post, I did mention about wanting to see a psychologist again (mainly one that does psychodynamic therapy) and I’m glad I managed to find one (thanks to a friend’s recommendation). I’d just had my 3rd session yesterday and so far it’s been great/amazing…

All in all though occasionally there’s still some turbulence and difficulty, things have generally been looking up for me and I’m really thankful for that.

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