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Environmental/Physical Safety

Opening Door to Home Office

Environmental and physical safety is one of the most immediate things that need to be taken care of. If you don’t have these, it’ll be hard to take care of your other safety needs.

Environment-wise, you want to be living in a safe area where you feel comfortable existing. Preferably, somewhere you can live the way you would like (exercise, socialize, hobbies, basic errands) without being afraid to do so. But at the very minimum, somewhere where you can address needs from Step 1 (sleep, have food) without being hypervigilant.

If you feel that your geographical environment is unsafe, try to move. This can also include if you're living with someone that makes you feel unsafe. Find a different home, neighborhood, city, state, or country to move to. This could require some steps that can be accomplished over time if not immediately:

  1. Find a new location. Research online what places are safe that you might be able to move to. Post questions to forums or ask friends and family. See if it’s possible to relocate through work or by going to a different campus if you’re in school.

  2. Save up money. Once you’ve decided where you’d like to move to, see if you can afford it. Save up if you have the time to. If it’s more urgent, look into moving somewhere cheaper and less ideal (but still safer than the current location) until you’re able to move where you’d really like to be. Set up a schedule to save up money during this time, this will help you stay on track and focused on moving somewhere more ideal.

  3. Stay with a friend or family member. Lots of people absolutely despise this option (including me), but it can help you get back on track. Re-assess what obstacles are keeping you from this option (pride and shame are big ones for most people, but I’d like to remind us all that taking care of your life is more important than how things look).

 

Finding shelter is a common occurrence of finding physical safety. I talked about this a little bit in the previous step, but if you do not have a consistent place of shelter, find temporary accommodations until you’re able to have a more permanent solution.

Look for shelters nearby (be careful while there), crash with a friend, or stay with a family member. Don’t let your pride and ego get in the way of asking for help. While you’re in your temporary living situation, apply to as many jobs as you can. Use free resources to teach yourself a desirable skill that can help you get employed. Practice for interviews using online resources, or ask others to help you practice as well.

Bedroom

Physical safety-wise, It's important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for anything suspicious and trust your gut if you're feeling uncomfortable. If you feel that you are being followed in public, go into a store or restaurant until you can re-assess the situation. If you are still being followed, ask one of the staff members to use their phone to call for help. Carry pepper spray or a taser, and make sure you learn how to use them by having someone teach you or through tutorials online (the former option is the best). Find free self-defense classes in your area and watch self-defense videos.

If you feel unsafe in your home, make sure to lock your doors well and use a variety of extra door safety tools, such as door jammers or small alarms that can be triggered when someone tries opening a door. Also, try hiding some self-defense tools in secure locations in your home that you can access easily if you need to.

I have suggestions for these physical safety tool options on my resources page.

If the above suggestions aren’t working and you can’t think of anything else, call 211, a non-emergency referral service that can help direct you to resources for whatever problem you may need. They can help you figure out where to go and the next steps for your situation.

If you are being abused or harmed, or threatened in any way, call 911 immediately.

Summary:

  • If you're in an unsafe location or living with people that make you feel unsafe, try to move and focus on steps that will help you accomplish that.

  • If you're in an unsafe area when you're out and about, carry something for self-defense such as pepper spray or tasers.

  • Take self-defense classes if you can or watch self-defense tutorials online.

  • If you feel you're being followed, go into a store to reasses the situation and call for help if you need to.

  • Trust your gut!

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