Practice self soothing exercises during times of calm so that they are more accessible to you during times of strain.
Breathe deeply and slowly in through your nose 4 seconds, (spine straightening breath).
Exhale slowly through your mouth 4 seconds, (spine like a relaxed “C”).
Try to hold each inhale and exhale 4 seconds.
These are pronounced, intentional, breaths. Breathe in, (courage, peace, calm, strength), and breathe out, (worry, pain, sadness, fear, anxiety…). Make it personal, find what works for you.
Repeat four times.
Continue breathing in and out slowly and deeply while repeating to yourself, “I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.”, as you are breathing deeply, calmly, and mindfully.
Relax. Focus on your breathing creating space for a sense of calm.
Continue this practice until you fall asleep, feel calmer, or can focus on something else such as:
Names of players on your favorite sports teams
An image of your favorite place, (What does that place look like? What do you smell? Hear? Feel?).
If you are still feeling worried, distressed or in pain:
Squeeze your hand tightly into a fist, (signaling your brain to focus on your hand rather than your worries). You can also use a stress ball or a pillow.
Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly 4 times as before, (This slows your body, thoughts, and feelings down and brings attention to relaxed breathing).
Repeat to yourself that you can breathe through the pain, sadness, worry. You will be okay.