10 Tips for Supporting Yourself

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

#1 – Build your support network.

Reach out to those you feel will support you best. This can be a caregiver, school counselor, peer, your place of worship, or a community support group. There are people who can relate to how you are feeling and can support you. You are not alone.

#2 – Create a toolkit of things that are uplifting for you.

Being surrounded with people and activities you enjoy is an effective way to feel supported, secure, and less upset or anxious about things. Making an effort to stay active and involved in the things that give you joy, no matter how simple they are, will be uplifting and something that you can look forward to. Talking to someone who listens will make you feel understood and more capable of coping.

#3 – Create a positive mindset by managing negative emotions.

Choosing to adopt a positive attitude is a great way to keep your mind off the things that may upset or worry you. Your brain cannot both worry and think positively at the same time. It’s just not wired for it.

#4 – Focus on self-care.

Your body and mind have the capacity to feel peaceful and to develop coping strategies. For this to happen they need 3 simple things: enough sleep/rest, healthy eating habits, and plenty of exercise.

#5 – Reduce your stress.

Do this by setting priorities, don’t procrastinate, simplify your expectations, and always ask for help when you are overwhelmed.

#6 – Set a routine

Having a routine (e.g., laying out your clothes the night before, following meal schedules, dimming the lights, and turning off electronics before bed, etc.) can make us feel grounded and prepared.

#7 – Journal

Writing about your feelings and thoughts may help you reflect on your concerns and explore healthy options. It can also be calming to write your objectives, reminders, and to-do’s down so that they don’t linger in your mind.

#8 – Avoid substances

Avoid substances that can exacerbate your symptoms like drugs and alcohol.

#9 – Boost your self-confidence

Doing things (like exercise, good nutrition, helping others, participating in something you are good at) can boost your self-image and self-esteem. Do things that make you feel good about yourself.

#10 – Seek a therapist

Seek a therapist that you can trust and confide in. The first thing you should do is reach out to a trusted adult, whether it be a parent, caregiver, a family member, a teacher, or a school counselor. Confide in them and tell them how you feel and that you need their help. They will listen to you and know what to do to get you the support you need, possibly with a professional whose job it is to support preteens and teenagers who go through difficult times as you are. There are also several other resources you can use to reach out for help and where you will find immediate support.