Self-care is one of the most important things you can practice. Ideally, you should be doing something that evokes a sense of wellbeing on a daily basis. However, between dealing with the uncertainty of an ongoing pandemic, planning for your future, and dealing with everyday ups and downs, self-care can easily fall by the wayside. Plus, when a stressful situation occurs or a bad day happens, it can feel impossible to think of ways to improve how you feel. That’s where a self-care toolbox becomes useful. A list of self-soothing activities and positive routines becomes your go-to when you feel overwhelmed or don’t know what to do. Instead of slipping into a dark tunnel and experiencing high levels of stress, you can use your list and choose an action that will help you gain a sense of control and well-being.
Building Your Own Self-Care Toolbox
To start creating your toolbox, begin by considering what self-care means to you. Think about how you benefit from self-care. Next, consider what activities or routines have helped you in the past? Then, identify self-care activities that can be done on a daily basis and those that are more appropriate for addressing intense moments of stress. Include practices that have helped you in the past. Write your ideas on two lists, one for daily self-care activities or tools and one for intense situations.
Examples of Daily Self Care Tools:
- Get outside.
- Move your body.
- Think of three things you are grateful for.
- Drink water.
- Sleep at least seven hours.
- Write in a journal.
- Make time to do things you truly enjoy (even if it’s just five minutes a day)
- Take a short time out during the day to breathe consciously and deeply.
- Make your bed (studies have shown that making your bed leads to a more productive day!)
Examples of Self Care for Intense Situations:
- Call a parent, friend, or coach.
- Express your feelings creatively- write, draw, or paint.
- Close your eyes, breathe deeply and remind yourself you can do hard things!
- Listen to a guided meditation. Try meditations on YouTube or find a podcast.
- Turn up the music and DANCE! Movement can literally change the energy in your body.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up, without guilt or shame.
- Make a list of all your options. Writing out your choices will help you gain a sense of control.
Use these ideas and add your own to create your own self-care toolbox. Keep it somewhere visible. Add and change it as you need to but always come back to it for practical and valuable ideas.