Emotional Wellbeing

Emotional Wellbeing

Updated October 2020

Online abuse can cause psychological trauma. It can trigger a variety of negative feelings years after it occurs, including anxiety, anger and fear.

Taking care of your emotional and mental health is always encouraged and often an important part of dealing with online abuse--and regaining a sense of control over your life.

Consider whether you should prioritize securing your physical and/or digital safety depending on your situation.

Know this is not your fault, and that whatever you are feeling is ok.

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First, make sure you:

  • Call 911 or Suicide Prevention Hotline if you are considering harming yourself

  • Take a break from incident
    -- Consider engaging in physical activity (a walk, yoga class)
    -- Temporarily avoid devices or apps that are platform(s) for harassment

  • Tell an ally/friend what is happening

  • Confirm: Know that it’s not your fault

  • Decide on if and how to take a break from being online, which may include:
    -- Turning off devices (computer, phone, etc.) and/or apps (including notifications)
    -- Choosing to avoid/limit use of email, social media, text messaging
    -- Telling people if needed (partner, children, family, employer, friends, colleagues)
    -- Using other options (silencing sound, having a friend check, etc).

Identify and enlist help from trusted allies before engaging in stressful activities related to harassment and online engagement


Then, choose what to do:

Talk about it
◻Call or text a crisis helpline
◻Consider seeking professional counseling/therapy - consider options here
◻Explore legal options by hiring a lawyer or getting legal consultation

Build a support system
◻Enlist friends, family, and others to help you cope
◻Consider including supportive (on and offline) communities
Tip: Create plan with allies to help you manage/monitor online presence

Meet your basic needs
◻Make sure you are getting adequate sleep
◻Get adequate hydration (at least 8 glasses of water a day)
◻Eat a nutritious, balanced diet
◻Temporarily avoid substances that may exacerbate negative feelings (alcohol, etc)


Consider doing the following:

Engage in stress relieving activities
◻Engage in physical activity like yoga, running, hiking, cycling, martial arts or dance
◻Cultivate or deepen hobbies that you love
◻Get a therapeutic treatment (i.e. massage, acupuncture)
◻Visit an environment that calms you (garden, park, hiking trail, lake, beach)
◻Use scents to help soothe you (lavender, etc)
◻Get and use a stress ball or other stress relief device

Express your feelings
◻Journal about what is happening
◻Play music, create art, dance, build or engage in another creative pursuit you love

Consider wellness practices
◻Develop or continue engaging in mindfulness and/or meditation practices
◻Listen to affirmative messages via podcasts, videos or music
◻Engage in religious or spiritual practice if you have one

"I began 'ghosting' and blocking anyone whose words felt unpleasant. I moved on to creating a filter in my email accounts that quarantined anything related to hiking or race within a separate folder. And I embraced the mantra that 'anyone is free to write to me, but I am not obligated to imbibe their hatred or to respond.'"

— Juan Michael Porter II, writing about how he rejected his online abusers

  • For tips on what to consider before choosing a psychotherapist, you can go to this link

  • If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can go to this link to find a list of domestic violence agencies in your area

  • If you have experienced sexual assault, you can get access to a local sexual assault program here

  • If you want to engage in activism to stand up to online harassment, you can go to this link