We all have rough days and often it’s helpful to plan, in advance, what might be helpful in getting through these rough days. One way to do that is to write a few things down on a piece of paper and keep that piece of paper easy to access; perhaps in your wallet.
1. Write down 5 people you can call during this rough time. Think of 5 people who make you feel safe. This can include agencies that you are or are not currently connected with or crisis numbers (1-800-suicide).
2. Tell yourself to take 5 deep breaths. Watch your tummy expand with each breath and ensure that you count to 5 with every inhalation and to 5 with every exhalation.
3. Tell yourself to name 5 things you see in the room, 5 things you hear, and 5 things you can feel/touch. This encourages you to focus on what is happening in the moment without feeling overwhelmed by the past or future.
4. On this sheet write down your 5 favourite activities that you enjoy doing. On these rough days you can turn to one of these activities that you enjoy in order to get a bit of relief.
5. Name 5 shows/movies/books that you can watch or read that make you feel good. Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to escape for a bit and to do so in a deliberate fashion. Instead of just sitting in front of the TV or computer, name those shows or books that feel good. Avoid shows or books that will be too stimulating on your system. You’re aiming for calmness and a sense of safety.
As you may notice, the list of 5 things here all include the number 5. You can think of this as your 5 by 5 🙂
Our goal on these rough days is for our bodies to feel safe and secure so that we are better equipped to deal with the challenges we’re up against. When we are feeling overwhelmed, we’re not able to critically think about our challenges and possible solutions.