1. Scream. Even if it is a “silent scream” as I call them, as you are too embarrassed or worried to let someone hear you. Take a big breathe in right down into your lower tummy and then slowly, slowly breathe it out as though you are actually making a screaming noise. Keep going until there is no breath left. Sometimes, if your lucky, you may find there is laughter at the end of a few silent screams.
2. Practice breathing. There are apps to help you. 5 seconds in, 5 seconds out… Whilst doing this tell yourself a positive saying… “I am doing extremely well” was a helpful one of mine (my self harm sometimes was due to utter frustration and feeling stuck, trapped and hopeless).
3. Pamper yourself. Wash hair, have bath, indulge your senses. Paint your nails, groom. I have noticed that underneath the self harm desire is a further, deeper desire for self care. Be kind to your skin.
4. Jump, hop, run, walk. Physical exercise really helps, but I do appreciate that it could make you feel more alone. On a recent forced walk I met a man who only had one leg. I am now so grateful for my two.
5. Have a cup of tea. Really make it well, slowly, watching every action and thankful for every step. Be thankful for every sip. Imagine every sip brings you peace. You need to have inner peace before any other peace happens.
6. Make soup. Chopping up lots of vegetables and making something nutritious is such good therapy. (Be careful with the knife if it is a trigger for you.)
7. Phone a friend, if your lucky phone your family. But be very careful who you talk to. I believe there is such truth in the saying that “before you diagnose yourself with anxiety or depression, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes.” Make plans with a friend in advance, for the times when you know you struggle. Yes, i understand faking it may make the panic worse at times, but sometimes it will help to go out. Please please please remember to have a plan b. And a plan c. Planning will help you control this overwhelming feeling more. People can be so terrible at cancelling and you will think they are such assholes for it. Try not to take it personally, it happens, and you will do it to others too at some point. If and when this happens I believe it is the universe challenging you to get through the storm alone.
8. Go to a shop, treat yourself to something. You do utterly deserve it.
9. Go to the park and look at a tree top blowing in the breeze. Think about the roots. Imagine yourself rooted and grounded. If you can take of your shoes and walk in the grass. This is Grounding.
10. Sit on the ground and look up at the sky. See how the clouds move and are always moving. The sky is always perfect and always moving. Imagine yourself put your worries into the cloud and see the worries drift away. Repeat as necessary.
11. Pray. Even if you don’t believe. You could start by just being thankful for things like food to eat, clothes to wear, air to breathe.12. Distract yourself on Facebook, unless it makes you feel worse. Fakebook, as I prefer to call it, can be a hideous place when you are lonely. But there are some amazing groups on there that can really help you feel supported. I recently joined “surviving the narcissistic ex partner” and “empaths and survivors of sociopathy”. Al-anon has also been so amazing for its non Judgemental ways and ability to empathise.
12. Put on the news, unless it makes you feel worse. Remembering you are on a planet can utterly freak out some people and utterly put things in context for others.
13. Read or listen to an audiobook or podcast. There is some super information out there. You are not alone.
14. Draw, paint or write write write. Buy a journal, get a pen and just write, from where you are now and how you are now and where you would like to be. We can only start from where we are now. Journaling is such an important tool to help gain self awareness and tune you in to synchronicity. YOU are the main character in your own story. You matter. Scribble hard on the pages, rip the pages instead of your skin. This worked wonders for me and helped me see the anger that was causing a lot of the harm. Then i just turned over the ruined pages and carried on. Hurting my skin took two weeks to heal.
15. Put on your favourite film, one that you can not be unhappy to.
16. Clean a room and declutter.
17. Music. Make a playlist of songs that make you feel nothing but connected and upbeat. Coldplay has got me through some very tough, isolated moments. Thank you for the music.
18. Make an appointment with your doctor. Never thought I would say this but medication helps and does have its place.
19. Drink a glass on water. You can not be in fight or flight when you drink a glass or water.
20. Make your own list of things that help you and make you happy, peaceful and grateful. make sure you do things on the list.