Experiencing online harassment can be overwhelming. You may feel scared, angry, embarrassed – to list just a few among a whole host of (totally valid) emotions. You could even be experiencing physical symptoms such as a pounding heart, nausea, or difficulty sleeping. You might simply feel numb. (Learn more about the impacts of online harassment here)
In these situations, it’s key to take time out to take care of yourself. The first thing that would be good to remember is that online harassment is never your fault and it’s not your responsibility to “fix it.” It is normal to feel scared, but please remember that there is never a perfect response, that being abused online is not your fault, and that you are not alone.
Having that said, it is very important to take the time to recover and employ strategies for taking care of yourself. Keep in mind that there is strength in recognizing harassment and taking steps to develop resilience.
We’ve all heard the self-care buzzwords: eat healthy! Meditate! Take a relaxing bath! Whilst these activities can help some people to relax and re-center, they’re not always accessible – or useful – for everyone, and they don’t often magically undo a day’s worth of stress or anxiety. Here, we’ve compiled an online harassment survival guide; a list of useful advice and resources that we hope will help to support you through this difficult time. According to Katherine Porterfield, trauma specialist and clinical psychologist at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, “there are many methods for focusing on your mental and physical state and bringing yourself to a place of calm and wellbeing. Try different methods and see what works for you. They take practice, so keep trying and notice which methods are most effective for you.”
Each of us has our own unique experiences, needs, and expectations but hopefully, you’ll find something on this list that will help you to take a breath, refuel, and start to feel better.