Friday, May 9, 2008

More things that help - H.A.L.T.

I know from my past that when I am feeling vulnerable I need to do a good job taking care of myself. Have you heard of the H.A.L.T. acronym? It stands for "hungry, angry, lonely, tired". It contains the things you need to be careful about when you are stressed.

I try to make sure I care for myself so I am not any of those four states. So I force myself to get out and be with people. I try and eat regularly and sleep regularly. And I journal and read. So far so good. I have some really good news, but first this was the post I was writing yesterday so I want to finish it for the future if I ever need it.

The other night I found this list of "helpful things to do" for self-injurers. No I am not self injuring, I am fine, but I do sometimes have those thoughts when I am stressed. So that's when I get out lists like this. If you want to see the whole list go here. There are 300 plus items on the other list. I picked my top 60.
  1. I have also filled out Kharre's questions which is a great way to reflect. You can answer them online and have it emailed to you.
  2. Print out useful resources like the "Listening to Urges" questions and Kharre's questions (both from Deb's site). And a checklist to take to hospital (UK or US, as a web form).
  3. Make a contract with someone else. Make it someone you care about and who cares about you. Don't have to "know" them in the real world - Internet friends etc. are fine. Make sure you try to get in touch with them when you feel like SI-ing (but of course don't get extra depressed, with internet friends, if they aren't around cos they aren't online - keep a list of phone numbers too.)
  4. Talent: Write down one thing that you are good at on a piece of paper. Carry this paper with you and whenever you feel bad, add another talent to it. If you run out of talents, think of good features etc.
  5. Compliments book: Carry a small notebook around with you. Whenever anyone pays you a compliment or thanks you or says something nice about you, write that down. Reread them all when you feel down or bad about yourself.
  6. Emergency box: Get a box and decorate it any way you like. Inside put things that make you happy, distractions, special photos or letters, and your lists of phone numbers and reasons not to SI. Only open it in an emergency, or it loses its specialness. About once every two or three months entirely change the contents. Have an SO or a friend, or your child pick something special to put into the box while you're not looking so that there will be a surprise for you when you do have to open it.
  7. Emergency tape: Make a tape to listen to when you are particularly down or vulnerable. You might choose all happy songs to put on it, or you might find it helps to choose sad songs that might enable you to cry. See her emergency tapes.
  8. Carry safe objects in your pockets. These can include stones, small books, and stress relieving squishy things. Anything that feels right to you.
  9. Work out what it the hardest time of the day for you, and plan regular activities to occupy you during that time.
  10. Pozzies. Write out a list of all the positive things in your life at the moment, even really small things.
  11. Talk to yourself out loud or into a tape-recorder. Make affirmation tapes inside you that are good, kind, gentle. (Sometimes you can do this by writing down the negative thoughts and then physically re-writing them into positive messages.)
  12. Send yourself an encouraging email: "If I know I'm gonna have a bad day and I don't think I can get through it I email myself the night before and say things like you can do, you're strong, and all that. It kinda helps
  13. Lose the "should-could-have to" words. Try... "What if"
  14. Notice black & white thinking, catastrophising, irrational self-blame.
  15. Identify distorted thoughts and turn them into positive ones. E.g. If you're thinking, "I'm a bad person.", you could tell yourself, "I'm a good person and I deserve to be happy and loved".
  16. Re-organize your room.
  17. Spell your name using images that look like letters. Butterfly Alphabet is a good place to start.
  18. Read a joke book or go to a joke site.
  19. Build a pillow fort.
  20. Memorise something: Things like poetry, Bible verses, or foreign-language vocabulary are good. Or the Greek or Hebrew alphabets, Periodic Table of chemical elements, list of monarchs or presidents, etc.
  21. Plan a holiday. A real one, or a dream holiday where time and money are no object!
  22. Hit a punchbag.
  23. Squeeze a stress ball or a lump of Plasticine.
  24. Rip up an old newspaper or phone book.
  25. Blow up balloons and pop them. You could sit on top of the balloon to pop it - find creative ways to pop the balloons.
  26. Go for a walk. Pay attention to the rhythm of your steps.
  27. Swimming.
  28. Cycling.
  29. Stretching.
  30. Running. Go for a run, run as fast as you can. If you can't go out, run up and down stairs or from one end of a room to the other.
  31. Skating: Someone wrote "I always carry my skates (blades) with me. I imagine as though I'm cutting my self with my blades as I push myself to my limits."
  32. Some aggressive type of sport, such as galloping horses, driving fast on go-karts.
  33. Any kind of exercise. Even if it's just press-ups and sit-ups in your own room it still burns away the energy to harm.
  34. Take a walk in the rain (be careful of lightning) and stomp around in the puddles.
  35. Paint your nails.
  36. Get a massage.
  37. Dress up very glamorous.
  38. Get a tattoo or piercing.
  39. Put on fake nails.
  40. Dye your hair. Dyeing your hair red sometimes helps - the wonderful sight when you rinse it off of all this red liquid flowing down the plug hole is very cathartic.
  41. Haircut. "The combination of the snipping sensation and the slight pampering was a good 'halfway' measure, and not nearly as socially-harmful as slicing up a limb or two. Even cutting my own hair worked quite well (though luckily I have curly hair which hid the botched job I did), though having scissors near your head might be dangerous in some situations. The haircut was normally a pre-emptive move for me though."
  42. Bath. Take a long hot bath with bath oil or bubbles.
  43. Hug a soft toy or your pillow.
  44. Read a good book. Perhaps a children's book.
  45. Eat a favourite food.
  46. Hug someone - or hug yourself.
  47. Chocolate!
  48. Treat yourself to a present. Go to a dollar store if you're broke, or any store you can afford and buy yourself a little something. A new pair of earrings, a jar of bubbles to blow outside. a container of Ben and Jerry's, a bracelet, anything. Remind yourself that you are special and you deserve special things. I like to buy lip gloss. and CDs.
  49. Buy yourself some fresh flowers.
  50. Listen to soothing music.
  51. Make a tray of special treats and tuck yourself into bed with it and watch TV or read.
  52. Rewards. Give yourself rewards, even if they're stupid, mundane little things like watching a TV show you like or eating a food you like - and indulge yourself in these things when you feel bad. This makes you remember there are good things in life, however small.
  53. Buy yourself a soft toy or some kind of present.
  54. Wash your hands with nice soap specially kept for such occasions.
  55. Deep breathing: Just sit down comfortably, eyes closed and take long, slow breaths- concentrating on the breath itself as it goes in and out and nothing else. After even eight or nine breaths, as long as you keep them slow, you can feel more relaxed.
  56. Relaxation techniques: You can buy a tape that tells you what to do, or read a book.
  57. Meditation Sit down comfortably, eyes closed and repeat to yourself a word which indicates something you want to have that you don't (emotions wise) or a state you want to be in- like 'happiness. happiness, happiness' or 'confidence, confidence, confidence'. The idea is that in time, you 'fool yourself' that you HAVE these things, and in doing so you DO have them because it's YOU that gives them to you in the first place!!
  58. Go to a church or other place of worship.
  59. Yoga.
  60. Visualize a calm, safe place. Create an internal safe place where you can go. In a time when you feel safe and secure, create a room, garden, beach, mountain, cabin in the woods or any safe area inside yourself which you can retreat to and get away from external stresses. Add as many details as you can to make it real for you.
  61. Find someone you can help. Go outside if you can and give a bit of money to a homeless person. Do something nice for someone. It makes you feel good.
  62. Do volunteer work.
  63. Sort through your old junk and take stuff to a charity shop or for recycling.


ChicagoPioneerGal said...

I needed the H.A.L.T. reminder - - thanks!
Glad things are coming together!

Hanna Marie said...

wow! you just summed up all the coping skills that I have learned in the past like 6 weeks!
gezz if only i could ahve just read that!

hehe much love sweetie

** purple things**