13 Self-Care Tips for “13 Reasons Why”

Tips from Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s Prevention & Education Team

For survivors of rape and sexual abuse, seeing sexual violence portrayed on television, in the news, and in film can be challenging.  The popular Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why has raised a variety of difficult topics, including rape, suicide, and substance abuse, to the national conversation.  To engage safely with potentially triggering media like 13 Reasons Why, we recommend having a self-care plan in place.

A teenager sits on the couch using a tablet.

Try these 13 tips for watching and enjoying 13 Reasons Why:

  1. Consider whether you are emotionally and mentally ready to watch something that might trigger you.  Remember, if you do not think you are ready, that is OK!  Only you know your limits and what feels safe.
  2. Talk to someone supportive.  This could be a friend, family member, partner, or the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center hotline.  Tell them that you might need to reach out to them if you experience strong emotions while watching or after watching the show.  Come up with a plan for how to contact them if you need some support.
  3. Check in with yourself on a regular basis while watching.  Ask yourself, “Am I becoming overwhelmed?  Do I feel like I am having trouble concentrating?  Do I need to take a break?”  Treat yourself with kindness and respect.
  4. This may not be the best show to binge watch all in one sitting. It might be healthier to watch a couple of episodes at a time, then take a break and do something else.
  5. Make a self-care box while you are taking a break from watching the show. Fill a shoebox with items that you already know will help you to de-stress, such as a coloring book, tea, your favorite scented candle, chocolate, or play-doh.
  6. Try journaling for self-care and reflection, if you don’t already. Create a journal entry after each episode you watch.  Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a great way to track whether or not you are being triggered.
  7. Do some kind of physical activity, like going for a walk, or run, or taking a yoga class.
  8. Balance the emotional response you might have to the show by doing a fun self-care ritual after each episode. Call a friend to talk about lighthearted topics, watch puppy videos on the Internet, or take yourself out for ice cream.
  9. Create grounding tools to use during the show. Cuddle with a soft blanket, eat a snack that makes you feel happy, or color a picture while you watch.
  10. Watch something else. Other good shows to binge watch on Netflix; Gilmore Girls, The Fosters, Switched at Birth, Glee, Young and Hungry, and Parks and Recreation.
  11. Pick up a good book!
  12. Find your favorite DIY-ers on YouTube and start a do-it-yourself project.
  13. Finally, decide not to watch! Don’t feel pressured to watch something just because it seems like everyone else is watching.  You decide what is best for you.


Need to talk?

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s Crisis and Support Hotline is available 24/7. Call or Text (216) 619-6192 or (440) 423-2020 or chat at clevelandrapecrisis.org/chat.


Click here for a printable .pdf of 13 Self-Care Tips for 13 Reasons Why.