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Somerset Phoenix Project

Working alongside professionals and supporting children, young people and families affected by sexual abuse.

A specialist service supporting the development of professionals in Somerset. We are here to reduce the negative impact of child sexual abuse (CSA) on the lives of children and families living in Somerset

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Self-help resources

During the time when you were being abused there was a part of your brain (the amygdala) that was working almost all the time because it was trying very hard to protect you.

You are safe now, but because your amygdala was working so hard almost all the time it will find it very difficult to relax.  It is probably still working very hard a lot of the time to try to keep you safe even though it doesn’t really have to anymore.  This means that it can find it tricky to tell the difference between when you are in real danger and when you are not so you may be behaving in ways that you have not done before or that you haven’t done for a long time like getting angry for no obvious reason; chewing or sucking your clothes; wetting or soiling yourself; having trouble going to sleep; having nightmares; eating more or less than you did; having lots of tummy aches and / or headaches or finding it hard to concentrate, learn at school or stay still for long. DO NOT WORRY: these are normal for someone who has been abused.  In time things will get better.

It may also mean that you feel angry, sad, confused, guilty, scared, frustrated or worried more than you did before.  It is ok and normal to feel all of these things!  At other times you might also be happy and excited.  This is okay too!


Things that might help you

When you are feeling sad, angry, confused, scared or worried or if you are finding it hard to be calm one of the ideas below may help you.


  • Blow bubbles as large as you can and then pop them
  • Squeeze slime or play doh as hard as you can until it comes through your fingers or throw it at a target
  • Move around: jump as high as you can on a trampoline; kick a ball; do some star jumps or run on the spot as fast as you can
  • Fill a balloon with water and throw it at the floor outside
  • Beat a drum
  • Make a stress ball – fill a balloon up with either flour, sand, rice or playdough. Tie a knot in the top and draw a face on the front. Squeeze it when you are having scared or worried feelings.
  • If you have had a nightmare – draw it, talk to an adult about it and then, if you want, throw the drawing away and your nightmare with it.
  • Make a safe space at home and put things in there that make you feel happy, e.g. books / favourite toy.
  • Draw and colour: colour a picture; draw your favourite thing or a place where you feel safe
  • Play with your favourite toy
  • Try to make someone else laugh
  • Spend time with a pet
  • Do the Spaghetti Body – lie down and make your body as stiff as you can like an uncooked stick of spaghetti then make your body as wobbly as you can like a stick of cooked spaghetti
  • Take some slow deep breaths.
  • Use your voice: sing along loudly to a favourite song; shout a sound e.g. arrrggggghhhhhhh, as loudly and for as long as you can until you run out of breath.
  • Read or get someone to read you your favourite story
  • Wrap yourself in a blanket and get someone to give you a hug
  • Hug your favourite toy or teddy as tightly as you can
  • Eat some chewy food, e.g. raisins
  • Have a warm bubble bath

For more ideas on self-care visit

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