In your house, you probably have an emergency kit. Something is stocked with items that will see you through those times of natural crises.
But how many of you have a self-care kit?
It’s a collection of things that can help you feel better about yourself and offer you a “pick-me-up” when you are going through a low period. You can buy self-care kits online, but everybody is different and you may find that those pre-packaged kits may contain things you don’t want.
That’s why creating your own kit rocks. You can select the items that go inside your kit so that it makes you feel good.
We will run you through a list of general items that you definitely should have in your kit and let you how to make the kit more specific to your own needs.
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
Journal and pens
When we feel down in the dumps, writing everything down in a journal is a great outlet. It enables you to have an emotional release. It helps you identify your triggers and fears as well as providing an opportunity to discover solutions to your problems.
For the creative person, you can have a range of different color pens to give your journal a bit more pizzazz and visual appeal.
There is no set method on how to journal. Just start and allow yourself to write down whatever comes to mind and keep writing until you feel you have finished.
Most of us have our favorite “comfort food” that we turn to to make us feel better when we are depressed.
Typically it’s chocolate which works wonders in making us feel better. That’s because chocolate contains tryptophan, an amino acid which acts to increase serotonin levels (serotonin is a feel-good chemical) in our brains. However, for people that have health issues with sugary foods, there are other options you can choose.
Here is a list of non-sugary snacks you can place inside your self-care kit:
- Potato chips
- Rice crackers
- Dried fruit
- Energy bars
- Museli Bars
Whatever snack you turn to to make you feel happier, grab it and put it in your basket.
We all love music and whatever mood you are in determines what type of tunes you’re going to listen to.
If you are wanting something that gives you energy and motivation, then grab your headphones and listen to something up-tempo.
When you are feeling anxious and stressed chuck on soothing, calming music. Music that has a rhythm of 60 beats per minute synchronizes with your natural heartbeat and helps you relax.
With plenty of music streaming options available, you just have to choose your favourite streaming app. Heck, you can even go old school and put on a CD or vinyl record.
If you want to be highly organised, make a list of tracks to listen to and place it in your self-care box.
Essential Oils can influence your mood. Without getting too sciencey on you, the oils work by travelling up your nose and hitting the emotional center of your brain.
Because your self-care kit is designed to make you feel better and help you relax, there are some essential oils you should consider placing in it.
Lavender This is a major oil in helping you feel relaxed and also aids in reducing nervous tension.
Spearmint It can act on the nervous system to calm it down from tension.
Lemon This oil could reduce depressive symptoms as well as decreasing anxious feelings.
Bergamot If you are feeling stressed and anxious, bergamot oil can help you calm down and relax.
Chamomile For those of you who have trouble sleeping, chamomile oil may be just what you need to send you off into a good slumber. It’s also a great oil for reducing anxiety.
Sandalwood Yet, another option for those of you who want to alleviate your depression or help you de-stress and relax.
You can choose one or several of the oils listed above or even research other oils to find out which one is your favorite. Add it to your kit and have an aromatherapy session when you feel like it’s time to lift your mood or calm down.
There are many different faiths in the world. Whichever faith or spiritual path you choose you will find within the texts of your faith passages that encourage you, build you up and give you the strength to endure and carry on.
Write down your best passages on to a piece of card (or even print them out) and place them in your box.
When we are at shallow points in our lives, it can be hard to think that there are people who love and care about us. By placing photos of your family and friends into your self-care kit, you have a visual reminder that you still have a support team rooting for you.
If you look at the photos and feel the need to ring the people in them, then grab your phone and have a talk.
Here is a checklist of items for your self-care kit
Items to squeeze and fidget with
Sometimes having something in our hands to play with can help us refocus our attention. That means we can be positively distracted from the issue that is causing us stress or anxiety.
The act of physically squeezing something helps to ease the tension in our bodies and enables our muscles (and us) to relax. Stress balls are a great addition to your self-care kit.
Having something to fidget with has the physiological effect of slowing down our breathing which allows us to become calmer. Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed or anxious your breathing quickens? That’s why people tell you to take deep calming breaths.
Here are some options you can choose from to fidget with:
Grab one or all of them and put them in your kit.
Books help us get away from life for a while. They are a form of escapism which allow us to relax and experience different lives and situations. Select your best books and store them in your self-care box.
You don’t have to confine yourself to merely fiction. Non-fiction books can also work wonders if you feel they relax you.
Sometimes there is nothing better than have an excellent moisturizing session. Sometimes your skin may feel icky, give it a good going over with lotion and you will sense and see the difference. Also, knowing that you look good can give your self-esteem and self-confidence a boost.
When we get into a dark downward spiral it can be hard to see the good things about life and yourself. Positive affirmations can help you refocus and reframe when you are thinking only about the negatives around you.
Think of positive affirmations as rays of sunshine pushing through the dark clouds and caressing you in their warmth.
Countless websites have positive affirmations broken down into different categories. Print off a bunch and put them in you self-care kit
At times we can lose sight of the things around us that we should be thankful for. However, by practising gratitude regularly it will enhance our emotional and mental wellbeing.
Take the time to write down the things you appreciate in your life. Usually, you will focus on the bigger things such as your job, family and friends, but then start to think about the smaller things in your life. The shoes on your feet. The food in your cupboard. Your comfortable bed.
Create a few “Thankfulness Cards” and squirrel them away into your box.
Maybe as a child, you had you “blankie”. That blanket you carried around with you wherever you went because it made you feel good, safe and secure.
Here is a wee experiment you can try to see how you feel emotionally with certain fabrics. Grab something that is rough and feels coarse when you rub your hand through it. How do you feel? Most probably a little tense and uncomfortable. Now run your hand over fabric that is soft and smooth. Does that make you feel relaxed?
It’s time for you to get a new “blankie”. Too often we are told to grow up and people may look at us strangely when we are caressing a comforting cloth. You can do it in the privacy of your own home if you are concerned about what people will think.
How often should you use your self-help kit?
Now that you have your kit assembled you may wonder if you should use it daily, weekly or monthly.
When you use it is a matter of personal choice and the frequency at which you feel anxious or low. It’s not about using the kit on a regimented “have-to-do-it” basis. The purpose is similar to that of your traditional emergency kit. It’s there ready for you when needed.
Also, don’t think that the items in your kit are set in concrete. You can add or take away whatever you desire. Remember, it’s your kit and no one else’s. Make it personal to you.
You could even decorate your basket, box or bag or whatever you decided to make your kit out of.
We would love to hear if you use a self-care kit and how it has helped you. Tell us what you have it your kit. Leave a comment below.
Here is a checklist of items for your self-care kit