1.focus on your breath
2. praying, or just reading the daily scripture texts (for example here).
3. contact friends.
4. all the friends. just talking will help. being listened to. being cared about. them accepting the fact that you’re in a crisis situation and supporting you will help you to accept it too (which lowers the panic levels…). words of love, encouragement and support from people who care about you are invaluable, especially in moments like these.
5. keep the number of the Samaritans or a similar organisation on your phone. good to know it’s there if needed. use it.
6. work stops being the priority right now – take time off sick if needed. lower the pressure on yourself in every way you can. to do lists can wait, no matter how full or urgent. your health is more important. that includes your mental health.
7. a basic rule: some sleep is better than no sleep. something small to eat is better than nothing to eat. a little to drink is better than nothing to drink. this applies to all self-care.
8. journaling. finding words for what’s going on is so helpful. in a journal you are allowed to say anything, you can be incoherent or repetitive, you can be angry, you can say whatever you feel, you can imagine what you want to happen, you can talk about things you have never told anyone. anything goes. I learned how to be more open in conversation with other people by practising being open in writing first.
9. try to get some sleep – but if you can’t, no worries. don’t stress about it. just rest your eyes. breathe. have some low calming music on maybe, or listen to an audiobook (no crime/ thrillers etc……! I like Jane Austen, for example). sometimes I can sleep once the sun is up – light is reassuring and helps me to feel safer and to relax enough to drift off.
10. mindfulness practice helps with the breathing, and it helps to calm anxiety/ to not have it escalate into panic (for example, try this). mindfulness is very good in helping us to accept how we feel, how we actually are. it’s so easy to invest energy in avoiding what’s actually going on. if that’s you, consider for a moment that this energy could instead be used to deal with reality, and move through whatever it is you’re struggling with.
11. if you can, arrange to talk to a counsellor or someone in a similar role. there are places that offer counselling at very low cost, quite often community centres or similar. ask friends for help with this if needed.
12. listen to comforting music. perhaps create a playlist of music you find most helpful that you can listen to on repeat.
13. games like sudoku can help you to focus on something else for a few minutes that isn’t exhausting you emotionally, especially if you can’t sleep or if you’re struggling with anxiety. solitaire or freecell, anything on that level. without worrying about winning it, just start a new one if you get stuck. it’s just something small to do that gets you out of your head a little bit.
14. basics: drink water, tea, or similar. avoid sugary drinks, coffee, and alcohol.
15. basics: eat something. if you have nothing at home, ask a friend if they can bring you something.
16. basics: take a shower. or at least brush your teeth and wash your face. it helps. it’s a small way to do something good for yourself.
17. doing something creative might help, like drawing in a colouring book, or just doodling.
18. going for a run or a walk might be good, or yoga. let your body stretch a little.
19. a bit of light distraction via TV, youtube, iplayer can help you to relax. I’m watching Snooker at the moment, and it helps me. something non-emotive, light, slow.
20. take responsibility only for what is yours. leave to others what does not belong to you.
21. stay away from alcohol, drugs, etc. also from coffee, especially if you have anxiety. and maybe also from nicotine if you can.
22. give yourself credit for any and all self-care you can offer yourself, including asking others for help. this is good. I’m glad you’re doing it.
23. you will be okay. this will pass. you will be alright again.