Self-Care Masterpost 2015

TW: Most of the links are described enough to warn what will be in them, but just so you’re all aware, the post starts off with a list of suicide and crisis hotlines.

My last act for the Week of Action 2015: a huge masterpost of resources for when times are tough, divided into eight categories: crisis and support hotlines, some nice websites, self-care ideas and things you can do when you’re feeling down, disorder and situation-specific things, stress relief, some cute things, some quotes, and some things to restore your faith in humanity.

I recommend not trying to look through the entire thing at once, but rather skimming through the categories and subheadings to see what will help you right now. You can always bookmark it for later if you think you will need it again. 🙂

1. Crisis and Support Hotlines
– AMHP Muslim Youth Helpline: 1-866-627-3342
– Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
– Crisis Help Line: 1-800-233-4357
– Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741
– Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9626
– Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438
– Exhale Talkline (US): 1-866-4-394253 Non-judgmental, non-religious after-abortion support
– Exhale Talkine (Outside US): 510-446-7977 Non-judgmental, non-religious after-abortion support
– Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272
– Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
– Love is Respect: 1-866-331-9474 or text loveis to 22522
– National Child Abuse Helpline: 1-800-422-4453
– National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
– National Youth Crisis Support: 1-800-448-4663
– RAINN: 1-800-656-4673
– Rape and Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
– Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433
– Trans Lifeline (US): 877-565-8860
– Trans Lifeline (Canada): 877-330-6366
– Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 For LGBT youth in crisis

2. Some Nice Websites
Emotional Baggage Check: You write your feelings down anonymously and send it out to someone who will respond with a song and some words of encouragement
7 Cups of Tea: Talk to a trained listener for free
The Quiet Place: Encourages you to relax and focus on mindfulness for a little while
The Thoughts Room: As you type out your feelings, your words explode into stars to help you let them go
The Dawn Room: You type something you would say to comfort the person you love the most and then you get to read what others have said as if it were addressed to you
The Comfort Spot: An extension of the above project, the Comfort Spot is a place to anonymously share your feelings.
Calm.com: Guided meditation sessions
Soundrown: Mix and match some relaxing sounds
Unique Noise Generator: Another site that lets you mix and match relaxing sounds
Gruntle.me: Fixes disgruntled humans with photos and videos of cute disgruntled animals
Automatic Flatterer: You enter your name into a pop-up box and it will tell you nice things each time you press enter until you exit the dialog box
Do Nothing for Two Minutes: Exactly what it says – relax and do nothing for two minutes
Make Everything Okay: Push a button that says “make everything okay”
The Nicest Place on the Internet: People videotape themselves giving virtual hugs
Positive Doodles: A collection of cute doodles with positive captions
Boggle the Owl: Cartoon owl wants you to take care of yourself

3. Self-Care Ideas and Things You Can Do When You’re Feeling Down

Lists
Self-Care Wheel, with ideas categorized by physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, personal, and professional
Coping skills for the disabled and/or chronically ill
Distractions that can help
List tagged “how to self-care”

Basic Needs
– Have a glass of water if you aren’t hydrated
– Get something to eat, especially if you haven’t eaten in the past few hours
– Jump into a hot shower or warm bath if you haven’t in the past day or so
– Get dressed and put on some clean clothes if you haven’t today
– Curl up in bed, with a partner, or with your stuffed animal and get some rest or sleep
– Go to bed early tonight if you are sleep-deprived
– If you normally take medicine or hormones and haven’t taken it today, go do that
– Take a physical, emotional, social, or intellectual break from something that is taking a toll on you
– Check your nutrition – deficiencies can cause you to feel off
– Pay attention to your caffeine intake – caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety

Social and Interaction
– See your therapist, schedule a visit, or hang on until your next appointment when you can talk through what’s on your mind
– Hug or cuddle a living being, whether a person or a pet
– Reach out to a trusted friend or loved one to talk or vent
– Consider connecting with an old friend, family member, or classmate you haven’t seen in a while
– Write someone a letter
– Say something nice to someone, online or in person
– Visit or volunteer at an animal shelter
– Visit an online support group
– Find a free local event to attend
– Have someone do your hair or paint your nails

Expressing Feelings and Taking Time for Yourself
– Meditate
– Try mindfulness exercises
– Write down your feelings in a journal (there’s a Self-Care journal out there in case journaling comes more easily to you with prompts)
– Have some quiet time just for yourself
– Go outside just to look at things
– Go somewhere beautiful
– Treat yourself
– Cry if you need to
– Scream if you need to
– Tell yourself you are enough and what you are able to do is enough
– Remember how much you have survived already
– Smile to yourself in the mirror and compliment yourself
– Create a coping skills toolbox (example here)
– Create a comfort box (example here)
– Create a list of activities you find pleasant (lots of examples of what could go on this list here)
– Try some mental grounding exercises

Accomplishments
– Make a routine for the day or week
– Accomplish something small on your to-do list, like answering an email or washing the dishes
– Accomplish whatever tasks seem doable and reward yourself for completing them
– Organize something or clean something out
– Go somewhere you’ve never been or try something you’ve never tried
– Make a plan to change something or do something exciting when you feel up to it
– Do something you think you can’t do

Creative Outlets
– Learn a new skill
– Take on a DIY project
– Write a song
– Write a story
– Write a poem
– Draw
– Paint a picture
– Create a visual art piece
– Take photos
– Record a video
– Play an instrument
– Make a playlist of music that matches how you feel
– Make some jewelry
– Customize a piece of clothing
– Cook some comfort food or find a new recipe to try
– Try to recreate a great meal you once had

Physical Activity
– Exercise, whatever that means to you
– Go for a walk or a hike
– Go for a run
– Go for a bike ride
– Dance and move your body to music
– Work out
– Do some yoga or stretches
– Climb a tree and spend some time there
– Chop up some wood to let out some anger or stress
– Throw balls or pillows to let out some anger or stress
– Rip up a piece of paper or scrap fabric

Other Activities
– Read a book
– Read a book you loved from childhood
– Memorize a poem
– Research something you’ve been wondering about
– Collect flowers for pressing
– Listen to music or white noise
– Discover and record sounds you love
– Record a fond memory or your favorite memories from the week
– Watch shows that don’t demand any kind of mental focus
– Light a scented candle or some incense

Many of the ideas on this list are not my creation and can be attributed to the hard work of: Eponis, Teile des Ganzen, Muura, Greatest Reality, and Online Counselling College.

4. Disorder and Situation-Specific Things
Note: this list is incomplete. If you don’t see anything of value for you here, please let me know what I’ve failed to include so I can make a better list in the future. Also, if you have anything to add, I invite you to share links and resources you find helpful.

General Mental Health, Surviving, and Recovery
Stress analyzing tool
Going to therapy as a queer, trans person of color
One way to remember whether or not you’ve taken your pills today
The app Medisafe is also helpful in terms of tracking when and whether you’ve taken your medicine
Keep going, we will find ways to make living worthwhile together
“Hurry Up and Heal”: Pain, Productivity, and the Inadequacy of “Victim” vs. “Survivor”
Cognitive restructuring worksheet to attack unhelpful thoughts
It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s also okay to be okay
Three Radical Reasons to Be Okay With Not Being Okay (and How to Manage the Feelings)
On mindfulness and interruption

Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Toxic Relationships
8 signs of a relationship gone wrong in multiple languages
Power and control wheel specific to abusive LGBT relationships
Power and control tactics specific to trans people
Resources for abused trans teens
On choosing to forgive – or not forgive – toxic parents
On toxic parents and learning what loving behavior is, excerpt from same book as above

Activist Burnout
PTSD and activism
“You can’t care about everything.” Article about activist burnout, guilt, and love.
When activist burnout meets depression and anxiety
More thoughts about self-care and social justice work

Anxiety and Panic Disorders
Guide to anxiety disorders (understanding, differentiating) in comic form
How to distinguish an anxiety attack from a heart attack
Breathing exercise to calm panic attacks
Some resource documents for anxiety, self-help and for parents
Comic: this illustrator calms her anxiety by thinking of it as a panicky little friend
Some apps available for people with anxiety

Depression
The basics of depression and bipolar disorder
Depression toolkit: self-care
Comic: you are not alone
Common relapse triggers for depression and how to prevent them
16 Things I’ve Learned from 16 Years of Dealing with Depression

Dissociation
Signs and symptoms of dissociation as well as what can be done about it
Reminder: this world is real and so are you
Grounding techniques to help keep you in the present
More mental grounding techniques

Eating Disorders
The basics of eating disorders
Website for trans people fighting eating disorders
Support group for trans people fighting eating disorders

For Those Who Want to Support Loved Ones
How to be an ally for people with PTSD
How to help someone having a psychotic delusion, written by someone who has psychosis
How to help someone who is feeling suicidal
Be mindful of how you talk about those who have committed suicide
Decoding a person with an anxiety disorder
How to support a friend or loved one who has been raped

Grief, Mourning, and Loss
Dealing with anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays after a loss
Recovery chart with more than five stages of grief
“Enjoy life, remember me, and go on” comic I personally love about moving forward
More thoughts about the grief process in comic form
Self-care while grieving

Negative Self-Image and Dysphoria
Some methods of dealing with dysphoria
Comic: our good traits are on our backs
If you can’t love your body yet, that’s okay
If only we viewed our bodies in the same way we viewed flowers

OCD
You can learn about some of the different subtypes of OCD here.
Some strategies for managing OCD’s anxious moments
Support resources for people with OCD
A worksheet on managing obsessions
Radical acceptance, illustrated by a humorous way of beating intrusive thoughts

PTSD and Trauma
The basics of emotional and psychological trauma
How to cope with flashbacks
How to cope with sensory overload
Healing from trauma as a queer black boy
Ten things I’ve learned about trauma
Supporting yourself and others after a trans death/violent crime

Rape and Sexual Assault
Support for men who have been victimized by sexual assault and rape
Self-care after rape: a masterpost
After Sexual Assault: a Recovery Guide for Survivors
On the treatment of rape survivors’ stories as “inspiration porn”
Healing your inner child after child sexual abuse

Self-Harm
How to care for self-harm wounds
More on caring for cuts and burns
How to fade and cover self-harm scars
Some things you can say if someone sees and you aren’t ready to talk about it
Alternatives and distractions
If you want to see blood but don’t want to hurt yourself, you can cut the background of this website and see blood appear

Stalking
Guide for victims which covers what stalking is, practical and legal options for taking action, safety planning, and self-care
Some warning signs of an online stalker

5. Stress Relief
Make sand art
Make silk art
Create a colorful nebula
Change the weather and time of day as you move your cursor around the screen
Listen to the rain
Cute mini games with simple goals for relaxation
Catch music notes as a piece of classical music plays
Create your own flowers
Create a kaleidoscope (warning: moving/flashing colors)
Explore a galaxy of (scientifically-accurate!) stars
Explore a natural environment that reacts as you interact with it
Run your cursor over balloons to pop them
Click rocks and make them disappear
Play with cats in real life via the internet
Watch an episode or two of How It’s Made
Catlateral Damage: a game where you play a cat whose only goal is to knock everything in your environment over
Sushicat: a game where you drop a squishy cat blob through the obstacles on the screen in order to eat as much sushi as possible
Doodle God: a game where you combine basic elements to make new elements and even life

6. Some Cute Things

Cats
Pic: Cat nurses other animals who have gone through major surgery
Pic: Cat lying on top of another cat outdoors
Pic: Cats wearing flower crowns
Pic: Kitten creeping toward the camera
Pic: Cats in sinks
Pic: Cat and baby grow up together
GIF: Kitten plays with penguin toy
GIF: Kittens wearing flower collars
GIF: Kitten licks its tail
GIF: Kitten licks its nose
GIF: This cat is king of the jungle
GIF: No nose boops, only murder
Vid: Kitten tells her owner how she feels
Vid: Cat jumps onto woman’s head towel after shower
Vid: Baby Lil Bub
Vid: Kittens doing things for the first time
Vid: Giant men meeting tiny kittens
Vid: Cats knocking things over

Dogs
Pics: If your dog could text
Pic: Puppies in cute sleeping positions
Pic: Dog thinks this is a line for treats
Pic: Black lab puppy in the snow
Pic: Chihuahua in a sweater,
Pic: Puppy chews on shoestrings
Pic: Pug sticks its tongue out
Pic: Dog with butterfly on its nose
GIF: Seasonal corgis
GIF: Dachshund spins on a record
GIF: Dogs imitate crawling baby
GIF: Dog rides Roomba
GIF: Dog wants to sleep in the bouncy seat with baby
GIF: Puppy in mailbox
Vid: Dogs react to cats stealing their beds
Vid: Dogs who are afraid of cats
Vid: Dog teaches struggling baby how to crawl
Vid: Dog rescues his sister from a scary toy snake
Vid: Dog runs to protect baby each time he hears the vacuum turn on

Babies, Children, and People
Pic: Little girl with butterfly on her nose
Pic: Little girl with flower
Pic: Free-spirited ballerina at the bar
Pic: Big smiles from a little boy
Pic: Big smiles from a little boy with Down’s Syndrome
Pic: Cute kids with natural hair
Pic: Two girls dance
Pic: Happy in hipster glasses!
Pic: Babies tasting lemons for the first time
GIF: Laughing baby
GIF: Babies experiencing things for the first time
Vid: 4-year-old French girl talks about her dream
Vid: Ye Bin learns a lesson (or not)
Vid: I don’t care if you don’t like me – I love me!
Vid: Little boy is exasperated his mom is pregnant again
Vid: Baby experiences rain for the first time
Vid: Babies escape from places to the Mission Impossible theme
Vid: Woman tells her father he’s going to be a grandpa

Other Animals
Pic: Peaceful frog sitting in rose
Pic: Animals with stuffed buddies
Pic: European ground squirrel with flowers
Pic: Rabbit surrounded by chicks
Pic: Horse with its baby
Pic: This baby bird is ready to take on the world
GIF: Birds in a birdbath
GIF: Tiny black snake
GIF: Baby wild cat looks around
GIF: Two mice spin around on a record
GIF: Baby wild cat puts paw on head
GIF: Cat rubs head on hedgehog
Vid: Playlist of videos where animals do cute things
Vid: Bird dances and eats homework
Vid: Baby monkey has a bath
Vid: Cats and dogs meeting newborn babies for the first time
Vid: Confused bird going the wrong way on an escalator

7. Some Quotes
On loving ourselves. “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” (Brene Brown)

On surviving. “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” (Joshua Graham)

On healing from trauma. “Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life – warts, wisdom, and all – with courage.” (Catherine Woodwiss)

On sad people. “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” (Robin Williams)

On change. “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

On loving yourself. “The first step to loving yourself begins with the words, ‘I matter.’ You deserve to occupy space. You deserve to stand up for yourself and claim your right to happiness. You deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.” (Tina Tran)

On personal growth. “I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her.” (Kaci Diane)

On value. “Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You’re a perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that. Unconditional self-acceptance is the core of a peaceful mind.” (St. Francis de Sales)

On potential. “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” (Dalai Lama)

On being enough. “You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And – with or without anyone’s acknowledgement or affection – you are enough.” (Daniell Koepke)

On healing. “There is a moment in our healing journey when our denial crumbles; we realize our experience and its continued effects on us won’t ‘just go away.’ That’s our breakthrough moment. It’s the sun coming out to warm the seeds of hope so they can grow our personal garden of empowerment.” (Jeanne McElvaney)

On progress. “You are not going in circles. You are making progress in a spiral. You do come back around to where you were at the start, since recovery and healing take time, but every time you come back around to that point you’re a little higher up because you’ve got more experience, more knowledge, and more strength. You ARE making progress.” (findingmyrecovery)

On feelings. “I will allow space for all the feelings my heart holds. I will not cower or hide from myself. It’s okay to feel the ugly messy things. It’s okay to feel the burning brilliance of beauty. It’s okay to feel the soft winds of happiness and the quiet bursts of loneliness. It’s okay to feel it all. It’s okay to be myself, all of myself, not just the good.” (positivedoodles)

On good days and bad days. “You will have days where you feel better, and you will have days where you want to die. Both are okay. There is no magical cure. You just need to close your eyes, and trust that the waves will pass, and soon you’ll be able to breathe again.” (violetema)

On recovery. “When people say ‘recovery,’ you typically think of returning to how you were before your illness. But there is no going back. You do not merely recover, but reinvent yourself. You become something completely different from what you were before.” (ana-mia-recovery)

8. Some Things to Restore Your Faith in Humanity
This man prevented between 160-500 suicides in Australia
This man threw himself over another man who had fallen onto the subway tracks; both survived because of his action
This 13-year-old built a braille printer with a Lego robotics kit, now plans on making them affordable and accessible to the blind
During the polar vortex of 2014, someone left these knit scarves all around Ottawa, Ontario
“God” answers little girl’s request about her deceased dog
The power of the internet got this lost stuffed lion home to his owner
Children volunteer to read to shelter cats
Pictures that will restore your faith in humanity
50 random acts of kindness
More pictures of random acts of kindness
This little girl wanted to share her umbrella with a cat caught in the rain

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One thought on “Self-Care Masterpost 2015

  1. Fantastic! If only I had access to this type of information when I was in my late teens and early 20’s things would have been different. But even now, at the age of 60, all of these links are beneficial no matter how old one is! Thank you very much for this information!

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