By Elizabeth Tsung

1. Before you do anything, know that you are a good person. You are brave and you are strong, and wanting to hurt yourself is not your fault. It is never your fault, and you are not a bad person. If you are holding an object used for self-harm, gently put that down.

2. Take a deep breath. Slowly release, then repeat “I am worthy, I am loved, I am whole, this will pass.”

3. Grab a piece of paper and write down what you are feeling. Try to stay as truthful as you can, knowing you will be the only to read this. You will be the only one to see these beautiful words.

4. Rummage through your beauty drawers and look for an old nail polish you haven’t worn in a while. Isn’t it so pretty? Aren’t you excited to sport that color again? Settle in a comfortable chair, and give yourself a manicure. Distract yourself from any old thoughts and focus on painting your nails as neat as possible.

5. Take a walk outside, and make sure your nails don’t chip. Breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the rustle of the trees from the wind, mother nature embracing you with its love and support for you.

6. When you get back inside, listen to music. Spend time organizing your Spotify library and making new playlists. Allow yourself to listen to angry music, sad music, bad music, anything your ears want to hear. It’s your time, your time only.

7. Tell yourself you don’t need to punish yourself. Say it again. You don’t need to punish yourself. You don’t need to punish yourself.

8. Make a cup of tea. Have a cookie or two, and savor all the combination of both flavors.

9. Watch your favorite movie. Get your comfiest blanket, sip your tea and enjoy your time relaxing on the couch, letting your body rest after the walk.

10. When the movie is finished, stay seated and think about a time when you laughed so hard your intestines hurt. Try to repeat the scene in your head. What month was it then? What made you so happy at the time?

11. Take another deep breath. Inhale, then exhale. Say aloud, “I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be kind to myself.”

12. Gently get up from the couch and grab a piece of ice. Feel the sensation of the ice melting in your hand. Repeat again, “I deserve to be kind to myself.”

13. Dry your hands, then reach your arms up in the air. Feel your muscles lengthening from your fingertips to your shoulders. Bend your knees and straighten them. Carefully move your body into slow and gentle stretches. Give yourself a mental pat on the back for being so nice to your body.

14. When the stretches make you tired, take out your favorite book. Or continue reading off from your last book.

15. Think about what traits make those characters human. How are they successful? What do they need to work on? Say aloud: “It does get better. I will get better.”

16. Take a shower, feel the water guiding away your sadness. As you scrub away the negative feelings, remember you are worthy. You will heal.

17. Call a friend. Your mom, an aunt, your favorite cousin. Talk to someone about their day. Reminisce about a time you were together. Smile as you hear them laugh on the other side of the phone, and feel the love they have for you emanating from their voice. After you hang up, if you end up relapsing, know that it’s okay. Slip-ups happen, and that is okay. It is not your fault, and it is never your fault. You know the road to recovery is a long one, but when you get there it will be worth it, because you are worth it.

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