Sanative Magazine’s 50 alternatives to self harm ordered by mood.
It is important in many peoples recovery journey to have a management plan when working through self harm. People can experience a wide variety of moods when the urge to self harm arises, although this list only deals with a few moods I hope that it is comprehensive and you will be able to understand that if you are feeling jealous you may like to try out the sad suggestions (if you are feeling particularly down), or the angry ones (if you are feeling particularly riled up and filled with frustrated energy).
It is good to have a few ideas that you would be willing to try in mind before the urge becomes too much to bare. Different emotional states often respond best to emotion specific responses, which is why lists like these can help. Keep any ideas that you are drawn to written down and try them next time you are feeling as if you want to self harm. These distraction and self soothing lists will be in constant revision as you find out what works for you (some things won’t work, and often nothing will work 100% of the time, but it is important to keep working at it.)
As with any mental health concern I recommend getting the assistance of a professional to work alongside you in this journey.
Here are a list of some distractions & self soothing ideas based on mood. Some of these activities could overlap into another mood, so don’t feel like they’re set in stone - use whatever you think would be helpful!
1. Cry it out.
2. Watch a ridiculous comedy.
3. Take a warm shower
4. Listen to inspiring, upbeat music.
5. Spend time with a pet.
6. Organise your room
7. Phone a friend or even visit them
8. Read a trashy magazine
9. Make a list of quotes and lyrics that inspire you
10. Make a list of places you’d like to visit, or things you’d like to do within your lifetime.
11. Write how you’re feeling in a journal
12. Go for a long and peaceful walk
13. Bake or cook a favourite dish
14. Go to the movie theatre and watch the next movie that comes on (of course attempting to ensure that it will be trigger free)
15. Watch silly daytime television.
16. Play a video game or a board game.
17. Write letters to your best friends and send them if you wish to.
18. Start drawing, or a create a collage of how you’re feeling - don’t worry about how it looks, no one has to see it.
19. Cuddle a soft toy
20. Place a blanket in the dryer and wrap it around yourself
21. Make a cup of tea/coffee and attempt to focus mindfully on your actions whilst preparing and drinking the tea.
22. Look up and learn breathing techniques and mindfulness strategies, if you see a health professional try talking to them about these strategies and work out a plan of how to practice these techniques so that you’ll eventually be able to successfully use them when your urges seem unmanageable.
23. Run yourself a warm bath and fill it with aromatherapy oils.
24. Count by 9’s
25. Paint your nails
26. Colour in a mandala
27. If you are religious, pray or meditate.
28. Take photographs of something that catches your eye. Upload it somewhere like Instagram.
29. Collect a list of silly websites! For example
30. Look up funny cats and dogs on Youtube. Trust me. It’s endless and brilliant.
31. Fill in a CBT ABC worksheet or something similar. You can ask your therapist for something of the sort. Here is a good resource, it contains thought records as well. You can even draw up your own as these are arguably not the most aesthetically pleasing worksheets.
32. Watch a candle burn.
34. Dance to ridiculous music
35. Scream out to music that expresses how you feel
36. Scream into a pillow
37. Punch a pile of pillows
38. Invest in a punching bag. Punch the absolute shit out of it.
39. Write a letter to someone you’re mad - swear at them, scream at them, get it ALL out, and and tear it up
40. Eat a lemon, sour loly, a chili - anything that will focus on your senses without hurting you.
41. Hold ice cubes in your hand, rub them under your knees, on the heels of your feet.
42. Watch a film that makes you laugh.
43. Take your dog for a walk
44. Wash the dishes
45. Go for a run/sprint
46. Write your thoughts on your body in red pen.
47. Hit soft toys/pillow against the wall repetitively.
48. Have a cold shower. With your clothes on if need be. If you get out of the shower and your urges/anger comes back, get in the shower again.
49. CALL A HELP LINE OR THERAPIST IF YOU ARE IN DANGER OR ARE FEELING UNSAFE
50. Remember that not every distraction will work and it is still important to consider why you are self harming to begin with. According to DBT therapy distractions are not a CURE for self harm, rather they are a technique to be used whilst the urges are too severe to work on. Aftere the urge has subsided it is important to SPEAK TO SOMEONE about how you are feeling. It is 34239534973657864% recommended that you find a health professional you trust to talk through these things with.
I repeat: NOT EVERY DISTRACTION WILL WORK. And those that do may not help every time. A slip up, or a 100, do not make you a “failure” of recovery. The fact that you are actively trying to get help and find other ways of coping is AMAZING. Try (and try and try) not to be hard on yourself!It is important in many peoples recovery journey to have a management plan when working through self harm.
It is good to have a few ideas that you would be willing to try in mind before the urge becomes too much to bare. Keep these ideas written down and try them next time you are feeling as if you want to self harm. These distraction and self soothing lists will be in constant revision as you find out what works for you.
As with any mental health concern I recommend getting the assistance of a professional to work alongside you in this journey.
This man could narrate my life. And I would be completely OK with that.
"Only in very hard times, when the pride is extremely hungry, will issues of priority be settled by fighting."
This man could narrate me opening a jar of mayo and make it sound like Earth’s most epic struggle for existence.
Hello! Killjoy here. This left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth because fangirls are not an inferior class of fans, nor are they animals. Would we have these strong reactions to fangirls were they not female? In things like this, are we not (as a friend wiser than me put it) “sidelining women’s voices by characterising them as hysterical and subhuman?” I suppose I’m just kind of sick of fangirls being the butt of the joke.
OOPS, I WOTE AN ESSAY:
This video is really well made, and it’s great satire. But it only makes me laugh if i turn off a pretty big part of my brain. Let me tell you why.
I guess any kind of stereotyping of “fangirls” (a term which I’m still not sure how I feel about) makes me pretty sad. Portraying them as crazed, rabid, disrespectful, and inhuman might be the easy joke to make, but comedy as an influencer should not be underestimated.
If it wasn’t for the negative stereotypes I would probably consider myself a “fangirl”. After all I identify as female (although I’m 24 so, maybe not truly a girl anymore), and a fan of many things. When I talked to Natalie Tran at VidCon I was so nervous I don’t remember anything I said to her. I adore Taylor Swift and I’d call myself a pretty massive fan of the extremely talented people I am lucky to call my friends.
I think although it’s probably obvious, it’s worth noting first that pictured in this video are real life SitC attendees, not actors (I believe the bit at the end with Evan was staged though). These are people who pay good money to see creators they like, they also pay good money for merch, and these are the people who allow many YouTubers to make their living. They are the people who queue for hours, sometimes in the rain, who deal with panic attacks and sometimes convention disappointment. These are the people who make conventions like SitC, VidCon, Playlist etc possible. I’d even go as far to say that these are the people who make the YouTube world go round.
And it’s also worth pointing out that all of the young women in the video were behaving entirely appropriately and understandably for a person who is seeing someone they really like, enjoying a concert, or just, you know, having a good time. It’s important to keep this in mind when all the other elements of this film (the music, the sweeping aerials, the staged shot, the slow motion, the narration) are working hand in hand to make you think otherwise.
Except for of course, the one shot at the end which was staged, where you see a YouTuber being chased down by a group of “fangirls”. Swarming is something that I have unfortunately seen first hand at conventions, and it’s very dangerous and disrespectful and desperately unfunny. And yeah I do worry about making light of that kind of conduct, normalising it, and inadvertently inviting copycat behaviour. In light of Robin William’s death there’s a lot of discussion on the appropriate reporting of suicide as to not contribute to further similar behaviour. Bit of a healthy stretch here, but in that perspective, I wonder if trivialising this behaviour is responsible journalism. But, it’s not journalism is it. It’s a YouTube video - not the news. Anyway, getting off track.
I guess I just worry that when we portray fangirls in this way, as animalistic, as careless, as unstable, as a constant in the world of YouTube - they in turn become disposable, voiceless and insignificant. They become strictly watchers, and nothing else. And they are one of very very very many. And I worry that this kind of thinking potentially contributed to situations that have recently come to light about YouTubers abusing their position of power and influence over their audience. And I worry that it posits “fangirls” and therefore females as merely viewers, who watch what is potentially a majority of male YouTubers. And I worry seeing this unbalance discourages females from becoming storytellers themselves and that it discourages males from identifying as part of that body of fan culture that has been so gendered. Not to mention where those who don’t identify as strictly male or female end up. I worry that we are shown a vicious sea of young women as con-goers at YouTube conventions where the average special guest list boasts a mere 29% of female creators*. That although conventions are trying to reflect and respond to YouTube celebrity they are in fact curating it. And I worry this idea of fangirls being fans, and fans only contributes to the polarisation of the viewer vs creator dichotomy. That you can’t be both. That if you don’t have a Special Guest badge at conventions that you probably don’t make anything, or at least nothing worth watching. Basically what I’m saying is that I worry a lot.
But whether you care or not, these “fangirls” are the highest currency on YouTube - and the way you treat them will and is defining the space. So why are we allowing them to always be the butt of the joke?
I’ve talked to “fangirls” - I’m even related to a couple of them. My two younger cousins love YouTubers and I’ve spent a good chunk of time talking to them about who they watch and why. Are they the type of girls who might scream and cry at something like SitC? It’s really possible. But does that make them shallow? Dumb? Part of the herd? Talentless? Hell. No. I’d even go so far to say that they have more talent, charisma, humour and intelligence in their pinkie fingers than some of the large scale YouTubers they watch. And I’m sure this is the case for many “fangirls”. But give them that name - and that all seems to melt away. The power of a word.
Something I can’t shake is the idea that it’s a badge of pride to be a “nerdfighter” but shameful to be a “fangirl”, when both are essentially defined as being unapologetically enthusiastic about something they like. But yet, “Fangirl” is the word that has sadly come to mean a hell of a lot less than the sum of it’s parts.
And it’s pure laziness. To let the ones who shout the loudest spoil the pot when what we should really be doing is imagining them complexly - to see them as the smart, talented, thoughtful and beautiful people that they are? Who you are often seeing one tiny side of? Try to think of other situations in the real world where making that kind of sweeping generalisation would be considered careless and discriminatory.
It’s important to remember that the “natural habitat” of the “fangirl” is not at a YouTube convention - and the way they behave there is probably not an accurate representation of their daily lives. What if you were put in the same room as a person you seriously admire, do you think you’ll be the best, coolest version of yourself? Probably not. If I ended up in a room with Taylor Swift I’d probably actually pass out.
Do I like it when people at conventions chase YouTubers down? Do I like it when people scream? Loiter outside hotel rooms? Are verbally abusive to volunteers and staff and security? Not by a long shot. But when I condemn this behaviour I do not use the word “fangirl” in place of the word “people”. I do not put that behaviour in a box and label it with a word I do not identify as so that I can feel superior and respectful and something “other” than.
Words have power. And you have the power to choose your words. So do it with care.
I’m not saying jokes are bad, and in some ways I did enjoy this video. But it’s hard for me to not look at the bigger picture and see how this dot can be connected to that dot and then that dot and how a small, lighthearted joke can be extrapolated into something bigger and much more damaging.
Am I reading too far into this video? Probably. This video is merely a small piece of the puzzle, it’s just the specific piece that challenged me to say something. This is just my commentary, and I invite you to make your own. If it made you laugh, or made you upset. Try to figure out why exactly that was. Who knows, maybe this was the intention of the filmmakers all along? In fact, I really hope it was.
And in the meantime - who’s up for reclaiming the word “Fangirl”?
-Emily (a proud fangirl)
PS: Shoutout to the filmmakers who have been really cool about listening to different perspectives on this video! Discussion is a good thing.
•based on lineups as seen on the websites from 2014 SitC, VidCon, Buffer Festival, Vlogger Fair and PlaylistLive