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Self-care can be small and simple actions that support you through feelings of overwhelm or distress. These actions can be ways of comforting yourself, distracting yourself, relaxing yourself, or having a plan of action ready for you and loved ones when things become too much.  

Keeping tabs on activities and experiences that you like will help you practice caring for yourself in difficult times. Self-care can include reaching out to a friend or relative or calling a crisis line for the first time. Or you may be caring and listening to someone close to you talk about their suicidal thoughts and not know what to say or do and need to find care strategies. In these situations, it is important to remember the things that make you feel grounded and safe, try new activities, or contact a listed service so that a professional can offer you guided self-regulation techniques and tools. 

The following are some ideas for self-soothing and ways to create safety. Feel free to make a list of the things that work for you. 

Comforting yourself

  • Sit in a place that feels safe to you 
  • Spend time outside or in natural light 
  • Pay attention to your temperature – do you need to be warmer, cooler? Hold a soft object, or use a sensory toy 
  • Spray a fragrance you like around the room or light a candle 
  • Have a warm or cold drink 
  • Cuddle or connect with an animal 
  • Hug someone 
  • Hug yourself 
  • Change the lighting in the room 
  • Soak your hands or feet 
  • Listen to music 
  • Sing or dance 
  • Speak to someone who brings you joy  
  • Use a weighted blanket or apply bodily pressure 
  • Use sensory toys 

Distracting yourself

  • Do some house work – cleaning, cooking or doing the laundry 
  • Play a game
  • Visit someone who brings you joy 
  • Phone or text a safe person 
  • Listen to music 
  • Dance or sing 
  • What’s your hobby? Knitting, colouring in, baking
  • Shake your body, move your hands or nod your head 
  • Watch TV or a movie 
  • Try using grounding techniques. Some examples can be found here 

Relaxing yourself

  • Meditate 
  • Breathing exercises – count your breaths, focus on deep breathing 
  • Take a warm or cold bath or shower 
  • Listen to relaxing music 
  • Massage yourself 
  • Move in a way that feels good – it may be yoga or gentle stretching 
  • Close your eyes and visualise a place that makes you feel calm 
  • Use an app to help with guided meditation Smiling Mind (free) or headspace   

What helps me in crisis

  • Let someone know how I am feeling 
  • Talk to a crisis or peer support service 
  • Make and use a safety plan
  • Shout into a pillow 
  • Find a safe place and let someone know where you are 
  • Call someone you trust to come over and be with you 
  • Cry or yell – let your body release tension 
  • Try to identify how you’re feeling and what you need in the moment