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Starting to Manage Self-Injury at Home

Here are some healthy ways to cope with the negative thoughts and feelings.

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Prepare a list of strategies to use when you feel the urge to self-injure.

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Write down strategies on paper, in your phone or anywhere else that is easy for you to access. The list will help you see what you can do instead of self-injuring.

Think over what was going on leading up to the moment you self-injured. Has that situation lead to self-injury in the past? Do you notice any patterns with when or how often you self-injure?

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Write down what they are so you can try to understand the reasons for self-injury.

Express yourself in other ways.

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Start a journal, draw, paint or write music. It may help you understand how you’ve been feeling. Some people find it helpful to focus on positives. For example, write down one thing each day that you are grateful for to challenge the negative thoughts and feelings.

Let your muscles do the work.

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Take part in physical activity. That will help you focus on what you’re doing and get some time away from your thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t have to be about going to the gym. Get off the bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. Maybe become a dog walker or find a friend who likes to go for walks. Join a dance class or a sports team. It’s always easier when it’s fun. Set a goal, however large or small to get yourself started. Try keeping track of your goals in HabitBull.

Relax your mind and body.

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Use one of the relaxation techniques. It won’t instantly make your thoughts and feelings go away, but  it can help. Try mindfulness (Breathr is a great app) and practice what relaxes you.

Listen to music.

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Listen to your favourite playlist. Make sure to listen to music you enjoy, not music that will make your mood worse or trigger negative thoughts.

Play with your pet.

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If you have a pet at home you may want to play with them, pet them or cuddle with them. Having time with your pet can be very comforting.


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Try using different techniques to distract yourself from self-injuring. No one thing will work for everyone all the time. Try a few different distraction techniques to find some that work for you.

Know that you are not alone.

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It can help to talk through what’s going on for you. Reach out to a friend, family member, teacher, coach or to someone who has been there like a Peer Support worker Not sure where to start? Check out our Tips for Talking with Someone and 8 Easy Tips for Venting to Friends.

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