Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Self-Care Links

Some friends of mine have asked about resources for self-care, so here are some of my favorites in a big Bucket'O'Cope:

Emotional First Aid

Johnson's Emotional First Aid: How to Increase Your Happiness, Peace and Joy by Victoria A. Johnson.
If you buy only one new book, get this one. It has short entries featuring a variety of complaints and solutions. This is the the kind of handbook you find in Terramagne-American quiet rooms.

It is helpful to make an emotional first aid kit stocked with soothing items, just as you should have a physical first aid kit. You don't want to be scrabbling through the house for supplies when you're dripping blood, physical or metaphysical. A sensory kit serves a similar purpose, just with a slightly different theme.

EFA for yourself

EFA for other people

Help an upset friend by listening to them and comforting them.

Dealing with Emotions

How to cope with negative emotions

Anger is necessary to avoid being a doormat, but can turn into toxic aggression. Traumatic rage is even worse. Here are some tips for anger management.

Fear is necessary to avoid dangers, but can make mountains out of molehills.

Traumatic grief comes from a shattering loss, and it heals slowly or not at all or gets worse, instead of recovering at a normal (which is still not fast) rate. Here's a big archive of articles about all kinds of grief. Grieving people -- whether their grief is normal or traumatic -- need a safe and supportive environment. Few things are as precious as a friend who'll let you bawl on their shoulder until you run out of tears. There are tips on coping with grief. I made a grief questionnaire for people dealing with grief.

Frustration results from things not going your way. Learn to deal with frustration.

Experiencing and expressing emotions

Mental Health, Illness, and Injuries

Poster of healthy habits for mental fitness

Be Kind to Your Mind offers simple, healthy actions to promote mental health. Aimed at children, this is also good when you're too fried for more detailed instructions.

On the Road to Living Well lists warning signs of mental issues and how to respond to those.

Individual Problems List is a checklist of things that can go wrong in your head, marked by severity.

Acute Stress Reaction is a normal reaction to an overwhelming situation. Know the signs of it. This goes away on its own, usually after a few hours or days, although it can last up to four weeks. Acute Stress Disorder is a mental injury, with distressing symptoms beyond the usual. It may or may not get better; acute stress can lead to chronic PTSD. People with acute stress may want treatment, but this is often difficult to get in local-America, which prefers to wait for emergencies to treat mental injury or illness.

Burnout comes from overwork. There are ways to prevent or heal it.

Skin Hunger covers that and touch aversion, with the negative effects of insufficient or unhealthy touch on humans.

7 Super Skills to Help a Friend in Need offers practical ways to support a struggling friend or family member.

Talking to Someone with a Mental Health Disorder covers what to say and not say to a friend who's having trouble. For godsake don't sit there and nothing, that's awful. Here are more detailed tips in an article.

Use the Spoon Theory to teach people why you can't even.


Everything Is Awful And I'm Not Okay asks you some questions. If you haven't done the things, go do the things, and see if you feel better. Variations of the first two, about food and water, appear on the menu in the Kwan Yin House of Compassion.

List of Universal Human Needs is handy to print out so you can mark which things matter the most to you, which are not getting met right now, and then prioritize the ones to work on first. See also Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; that is a common order, but by no means universal. (Frex, a slave might have their physical needs met, yet run away in pursuit of freedom, a part of self-actualization.) Know what your priorities are.

Safety Tracker

Self-care spans all the stuff people do to keep their body and life in good working order. There are internet prompts and other self-care resources that can help.

Worksheets on self-care include life assessment, areas of wellness, a simple self-care plan, a daily self-care worksheet, a not-to-do list, overcoming obstacles, obstacles and solutions, and support system.

Taking care of yourself

Being gentle with your pain

21 Days to a More Impactful You Movement Self-Care Challenge has a program and a calendar.

The Self-Advocacy Tree shows how to stick up for yourself. This may or may not work, depending on context, but at least you've got some ideas to try.

Think ahead, and always have an exit plan! This post focuses on PTSD but generalizes well to any other condition that can cause a flashback, overload, or meltdown. Ideally, have two or more layers of response (if A happens, I will try simple fixes; if that does not work, I will try more serious fixes) and two or more options per layer (if A happens, I can try X or Y or Z). This maximizes your chance of success.

Count your accomplishments. This is aimed at depression but generalizes widely.

Chocolate is good for you. Local approximations of clinical-grade chocolate include organic and raw options. See some of the best chocolatiers and best chocolate bars.

This flow chart shows how to handle problem-solving whether it worked or not. It came out of health care but applies to a much wider range of challenges.

Outside Help

Being vulnerable is often uncomfortable. Learn how to cope with it.

Asking for help can be confusing. This post about an autistic child explains the process of asking for help, with a flow chart, and includes a list of very practical reasons why people often resist asking for help.

Accepting help can be difficult for some people. Here are some tips for it.

Emergency Chat is a handy app if you sometimes cannot speak. Alternatively, you can write down information (about mental or physical problems, your emergency contacts, etc.) on a card, or make a list of phrases ("I need to leave," "I need food now," etc.) that you can point to for expressing your needs.

Coping Skills

Introduction to coping skills

Poster of coping skills sorted by category, with pros and cons. It's among the most popular posters in T-American quiet rooms.

Poster of stress relief activities sorted by five physical senses, another favorite in T-American quiet rooms.

How to Develop Coping Strategies talks about finding new ones when your old ones aren't enough.

What to do when you feel overwhelmed


How to stay calm during an emergency

Staying calm under stress

Help upset people calm down

Meditation comes in many types. There are basic and more advanced instructions for it.

This Yogasanas poster illustrates several moves and short routines.

Calm Down Yoga for Kids has five simple poses and their purposes, also useful for adults too strung out for complicated metaphysical work.

Mudras are yoga for your hands. They are discreet, free of cost, and most of them are easy to do. They work by balancing the energy of the five elements in your hands, or influencing the nervous system, or both. Here are some mudras to try. My favorite for stress relief in miserable situations is the four-step Sa-Ta-Na-Ma. Learn how to do mudras.

Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi is the best book I've found on this topic.

Breathing exercises in text and a video on breathing for calm


Relationship Health Check compares healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. Although the introduction mentions "boyfriend or girlfriend" the grid below does not, and could apply to any relationship: romantic/sexual, familial, friendship, or whatever.

The Equality Wheel describes characteristics of healthy, happy relationships. It has a general family focus.

The Power and Control Wheel describes unhealthy to abusive relationships, focused on sex/romance.

Relationship Bank Account is a metaphor of fairness and the give-and-take of healthy relationships. Learn how to make some easy deposits.

20 Things to Start Doing in Your Relationships is a simple list of suggestions on how to improve interpersonal dynamics.

Conflict Resolution

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin. It explains verbal attack patterns, sensory modes, and techniques for verbal self-defense. Remember that almost all physical fights start as verbal fights; if you can take control of the verbal phase, you can prevent the physical phase. This is not easy, but it can work. If you buy only one new book on conflict resolution, this is a great choice.

Verbal De-Escalation Skills that Actually Work is a short introduction to defusing confrontations instead of blowing them up.

Finding Common Ground presents the process and points of negotiation.


Personal Development Workbook is a broad-spectrum life assessment and improvement tool.

Self-Care as Quality Care is a short booklet for taking care of yourself.

Most of the trauma scrapbook resources are either loose pages, or packets that cost money. I have compiled a workbook of free trauma scrapbook pages in the notes under "Together We Have It All." Scrapbooking helps put horrible life events in context, so they're less likely to rattle around loose and cause problems.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan was originally meant for major mental illness, but generalizes well to any condition that sometimes flares up and complicates your life.

I couldn't find a free version of the WRAP for youth, so I built one from worksheets, visible in the notes under "A Safe Refuge from the World."

The Hurt Yourself Less Workbook is by and for people with self-injury issues.

I couldn't find any L-American equivalents to the T-American workbook How to Hurt Each Other Less. So I cobbled up one from worksheets, which appears in the notes under "The Day You Start to Move Forward."

Marriage Preparation Workbook II is for newly committed sexual/romantic relationships.

Lifeline Couples Workbook offers ideas on building healthy relationships.

Further Reading

See my memorable posts under Coping Skills, Safety and How To for more ideas.
Tags: family skills, how to, life lessons, safety
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