I’ve spoken before about my experiences with depression and anxiety. One way that I now try to help myself if I am having a bad time with my GAD is through the use of my Self Care Kit. When I was at my worst I put together a collection of items which help me when I’m feeling especially low. This kit is very personal to me and wouldn’t necessarily work in this exact form for everyone but may give you ideas that you could tailor to your own personality and likings.
Here are some suggestions of what you could include in your kit and examples of what I have used in my own:
In times of deep distress, anxiety or anger it helps to physically take the emotions out on an inanimate object. A stress ball is a great idea for these situations. You could make a simple one by filling a balloon with flour and then tying off the end. I like to use my squeezy squidgy Rosette Stone.
Playdough works really well for times when you just need to keep your hands busy too!
Nail Polish and Removers
I find that doing something that requires my concentration helps. I’m not great at polishing my nails but I do enjoy doing it and it requires my full attention, meaning that it distracts from my worries and anxieties.
Colouring books and pencils/pens
Adult colouring in has become a big thing at the moment. It allows you time to focus on your breathing and just take a little time out from your wandering mind. I like the Hachette books with the cardboard covers which give you a steady base to
I like having a few pieces of personal embroidery that represent moods and emotions. I like the tactile element of running my hands over them and find it strangely calming. I also think seeing a completed project helps me realise that I can achieve things.
A hug or cuddle is always helpful when I am low. A friend gave me this little whale and I keep him in my box to comfort me when I am struggling.
For some reason I find messing about with bits of fabric quite calming. Maybe it is a substitute cat/dog. I can stroke it and pretend I have a pet. I know, weird eh?
A love spoon
My Nan bought this for my husband and I from a holiday to Wales. Holding it reminds me of her. For similar reasons my box also includes Grandad’s tie.
Keeping my hands busy helps so I keep a couple of old bracelets in there to fiddle with.
I have a range of photos in my kit for different occasions- landscapes, flowers, animals, family (this can be triggering if I am missing people that have passed on but sometimes it helps) and friends.
Just a few ideas of simple ways I look after myself when I am low. The kit is always evolving and changing.
What would/do you have in your mental health self care kit?