Self help

Some of the following tips are useful if you are still in an abusive relationship - others are only relevant if you are recovering

A diary -

 or journal can help you if you are still in an abusive relationship or if you are recovering.  It can help you make sense of what has happened to you and help you make sense of your feelings and priorities.  Writing down your worries and fears can help to keep them in perspective.

Healthy eating -

 can help you cope better with stress and depression.

Avoiding too much alcohol -

 can help you cope better with stress and depression, minimising mood swings and flash points, avoiding sleep disturbances.

Avoiding caffeine -

 after 4 pm can help with getting better sleep.

Moderate exercise -

 can help with improving sleep patterns and lifting mood or depression and can help with coping with stress.

Grounding techniques -

 can help with flashbacks, nightmares and stress.  Click here for a list of techniques to choose from.

Mindfulness exercises -

 can help with stress, irritability, depression, anxiety and concentration. Click here for some exercises.

Taking small steps -

 can help you achieve things when everything seems too much.

Listening to music -

 can help lift your mood.

Setting aside worry time -

 can help with getting better sleep and more normal functioning in daytime hours.  Allow yourself some time to think about nothing but your worries and perhaps write them down in your diary. Doing this can help to stop your worries from dominating your whole day.  If you find yourself worrying at other times tell yourself that you will deal with your worries during your worry time.

Podcasts -

The Mental Health Foundation have free podcasts to help with many of the above topics.  Click here to see the list and download.

"When I was recovering I learned a quick mindfulness exercise to use in stressful situations.  I wish I'd known about it to use before court hearings.  It only takes a few minutes and really helps me.

I spend a couple of minutes letting myself become really aware of the physical sensations that I'm feeling from stress - for example muscle tension in my arms or shoulders, shallow breathing and that sick feeling in the stomach.  I take in those sensations.  Then I tell myself that it's quite ok and quite normal to feel like that and I can get on with the stressful task with greater confidence and calmness."