Are you thinking of leaving home or have an urge to run away? We asked our friends at Runaway Helpline if there were other alternatives to making such a sudden decision.
So, what should you do?
1. Find a safe place
If you feel scared, uncomfortable or in danger, please consider whether running away will help, or in fact, make it worse. If nobody knows where you are, then nobody can keep you safe, and there are so many dangers on the streets. Instead, why not find out whether you can stay with another family member or with a friend?
If you run away, the police might be asked to look for you, so it is always better to make sure that somebody knows where you are.
2. Listen to music
Life can feel very heavy sometimes. Try putting on your favourite music – this can be a very powerful way to lift your mood and make you feel stronger. Choosing songs with upbeat tempos and positive, cheerful lyrics will give you an extra boost!
3. Write a list of pros and cons
Running away might seem like your best or only option, but you should take some time to think it through very carefully. Where will you go? Do you have any money? What will you eat and drink? What if you get ill or hurt? How will you stop people from finding you?
In reality, running away is scary, difficult and incredibly dangerous. Write a list of all the good and bad points of running away, and see whether you still think that it is a good idea.
4. Watch something happy and uplifting
Find a film that makes you smile, or watch some hilarious videos. A quick search online will give you a number of lists of feel-good movies or funny video clips to lift your mood.
5. Do something physical or fun
Pursuing a hobby, going outside for fresh air or doing something active can all be very beneficial when you’re feeling down. Exercising releases happy chemicals into your brain can help get rid of anxiety and make you feel energised.
If you have a particular hobby that you enjoy, whether it involves physical activity or not, focusing on this will increase your feelings of purpose and positivity and will help you to feel more in control.
6. Think about all the aspects of your life that you are grateful for
If you’re feeling sad, stressed or anxious; sit down, take a deep breath, and think about all the positive things in your life. What do you feel thankful for? Sometimes it can be helpful to write these down, or even draw a picture.
7. Speak to a person you can trust
It always helps to talk things through. Think about whether you have a family member, teacher, doctor, counsellor or support worker you can go to for help.
If it feels too scary or embarrassing to talk to an adult, perhaps you have a close friend to talk to instead? It is easy to think that other people may not be interested in our problems, but when you reach out to a close friend, you will often discover that they love and care about you, and will do whatever they can to help.
8. Read some positive words
Reading can be a great way to calm down, escape, give your mind a rest and help you to feel a little bit better. Pick up your favourite novel, read a magazine or even browse some inspirational quotes online.
You might notice that lots of the positive quotes you find on the internet were written by incredible people who have experienced very difficult times themselves.
9. Let it all out
Sadness, stress, worry, anger – negative feelings can take over until there is no room for anything else. Sometimes you need to allow these feelings to spill out so that you can start again.
You might be surprised what a really good cry or a scream into a pillow can do to lift some of the tension that comes with these bad feelings.
10. Call a helpline
People run away from home for many different reasons. Whatever it is that’s making you want to run away, there will be lots of people who have been through the same thing.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to somebody you know, another option is to call or text a helpline. You don’t have to tell them who you are or where you live, you can simply have a chat or ask questions.
Runaway Helpline is free and confidential, and somebody will be available to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You can call or text on 116 000 or email on [email protected]
Whatever you tell us at Runaway Helpline we’ll listen and offer support. Not to judge or tell you what to do. It’s your call.