One characteristic I share with my characters Nic and Battle is the nervous and disgusting habit of tearing grimly at my hands. I bite my nails and cuticles, peel strips of skin, and act like my job is to create as many open wounds as possible on each digit.
There’s a corollary to this habit, though. After I’ve spent some amount of time (days, weeks, months) engaged in this fairly mild yet gross variety of self-harming behavior, I get to a point where it feels like it’s time to stop; to fix the problem I’ve been so assiduously manufacturing.
How do I know when I’ve reached this point? It correlates with a reduction in baseline stress levels. I’ve finished a draft, completed a project, or resolved, at least temporarily, some other form of difficulty. Then I slather my hands with lotion, put on gloves, and let the lotion soak in overnight.
It takes longer than a night to heal, of course. But once the gloves are on, it means I’m trying to.