Useful support and ideas

Dealing with self-harm

Letting it out PHYSICALLY

  • Scream as loud as you can
  • HIT a cushion / punch bag / throw a cushion against a wall
  • Smash a water melon
  • Kick a football against a wall
  • Squeeze ice really hard
  • Squeeze a stress ball
  • Tear up a newspaper/phone directory
  • Play loud music and dance energetically – be as wild as you like
  • Draw on the place you want to cut with red marker pen, fake blood or watered down food colouring
  • Spend some energy – go for a walk/swim/go to the gym/ride a bike/go running

Trying to work out how you’re feeling…

  • Ask yourself “Do I feel ANGRY?’ ‘Do I feel anxious?’ ‘What about?’
  • Write a letter to someone you’re angry with (hurt by etc.) saying how you feel (No need to send it.)
  • Write a list of your achievements
  • Write a letter to yourself saying ‘I love YOU because….’
  • Make a list of things you’re thankful for
  • Make a wish list

Talking about it….

  • Talk to a friend
  • Call the Samaritans or other helpline
  • Allow yourself to cry (if you can)
  • Use the Young Minds texting service

Comforting yourself…

  • Have a bath or shower
  • Use aromatherapy oils
  • Eat chocolate (or whatever)
  • Have an ‘emergency box’ with whatever helps you cope
  • Massage your hands / arms / feet (or the area you want to harm)
  • Stroke a pet / cuddle a teddy
  • Paint your nails / Have your hair done
  • Meditate / yoga

Using your creativity

  • Draw / paint / collage / paper mache / finger paint / sculpt in clay – to express what your feelings
  • Write a poem / story / song / joke / autobiography / parody / musical
  • Write a DIARY / journal or read old diaries (unless there might be triggers)
  • Scribble a word again and again to say how you’re feeling e.g. ‘lonely’, ‘angry’
  • Deface a magazine (preferably your own)
  • Paint with red paint using your fingers
  • Take some photos
  • Play an instrument / Sing to music as LOUD as you can
  • Put on music which expresses how you are feeling
  • Write out the soundtrack to your life if it were a film
  • Imagine a colour which expresses your feelings then change it in your mind to another colour
  • Make a memory box / scrapbook
  • Write an alternative ending to a story
  • Watch a foreign language channel and make up your own interpretations
  • Create your own cartoon characters / legends
  • Create a SECRET CODE
Dealing with anxiety
  • Notice what you are thinking
  • Notice what you are feeling
  • Practice focused, deep breathing: try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for a few minutes.
  • Practice a grounding technique
  • Talk to somebody about your worries
  • Practice a distraction technique: go out for some fresh air/play a game/watch a funny video/do some exercise for 15 minutes
Dealing with low mood
  • Notice what you are thinking
  • Notice what you are feeling
  • Practice a grounding technique
  • Talk to somebody about your worries
  • Practice a distraction technique: go out for some fresh air/play a game/watch a funny video/do some exercise for 15 minutes
  • Use self care tools
  • Try to stick to routines like a regular wake up time and bed time
  • Contact a helpline like CAMHS or Kooth.com
Dealing with school stress
  • Talk to somebody that you trust to share how you are feeling
  • Ask for help from school and family to help you with managing your work load/any areas you are struggling with
  • Ask for support with organising your time/with what you are finding difficult
  • Make a timetable of when you will do work at home
  • Practice breathing exercises, grounding techniques to support you.
Skills and strategies

Grounding skills

  • Refocus your attention – try to concentrate hard on something in your environment – look at the colours, shapes, textures and describe it in detail in your head
  • Find a grounding object which you can carry around and use when you “space out” to bring you back to the present
  • Find something that has a relatively strong smell to use as it can very powerful in bringing you back to the present: e.g. Tiger balm
  • Play a game on your phone
  • Stamp your feet
  • Do a breathing exercise

Other websites

Page last reviewed: 10 September, 2021