Self-care kit: what is it + why you need one

Resting against the warm radiator, reading books while sipping peppermint tea and snacking on sugar cookies. Growing up, that was my ideal recipe for a crappy day.

I guess I had my little self-care survival kit (which included Harry Potter books and my favorite peppermint tea) long before I knew what self-care was.

If you want to practice more kindness toward yourself, creating a self-care kit is a great place to start.

What’s a self-care kit?

Think of it as a box of things and activities that make you feel good. Things that help you unwind, relax; things that make you smile, are comforting and help you clear your mind. It’s a bit more than just your favorite face mask, although an indulgent, multiple-step skincare routine is usually on top of my self-care to do list.

It’s about including more love toward yourself; your body, mind, in your daily routine.

Why do I need one?

I think that everyone should have a little self-care kit, but it’s something that’s especially important to those of us, who sometimes struggle with the entire concept of self-care and slowing down.

Practicing self-care doesn’t always mean taking a day off from work and spending an entire day in a bathtub. It can be something as small as enjoying your favorite cup of tea, or going for a walk or having your lunch outside in nature, during your lunch break. Whenever I stress the importance of self-care to someone, I often hear: “I don’t have time for this“, which is the exact reason why you should treat self-care like any other thing on your do to list, and schedule it in.

Because you can’t pour from an empty cup.

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FOR THE MIND

I talked about brain-dumping before bed in one of my recent posts, and it’s also one of the things that I love to do when feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Journaling, writing, meditating- all of these things can help clear out your mind when you’re not feeling your best. Taking care of your emotional health is just as important than taking care of your body. If journaling isn’t your thing, write out everything that bothers you; your worries, things that stress you out, on a piece of paper, read it and then tear it up and throw it away.

Reading is also a great way to unwind- even if it’s just two or three chapters that you get to sneak in before bed. I’ve been a huge fan of audiobooks for a couple of years now, which means a set of earbuds is something that I always keep in my kit, too. Harry Potter audiobooks are on top of my self-care list, I love escaping into that world, whenever I need a little break. Maybe it’s because it’s something that reminds me of those simple days, growing up?

Think of something that helps you clear your mind. Maybe you like to draw or paint, and want to keep some art supplies in your kit?

FOR THE BODY

We often take so much for granted- including our bodies.  I didn’t realize just how much my body did for me until I injured my back in a car accident last month. I didn’t fully appreciate how easy it is to do simple things like laundry, taking my dog for a walk or even taking blog pictures, until my injury made doing those things extremely painful. Your body does so much for you, try to treat it with love and respect. Massage balls and squishy stress-relief balls are great little items to reach for when all you have is a few minutes to relax.

Keep some of your favorite bath or body care products in your self-care kit. A nice scrub, a dry brush, some magnesium oil to help your muscles relax. You can also keep your favorite PJs or another cozy piece of clothing that feels nice and soft against your skin, and keep that as part of your self-care kit, too. Having a bad day? Throw your PJ’s in a dryer for a few minutes and put them on when you get home from work/school. Do some gentle stretching, some yoga, go for a walk in the park during a stressful week.

FOR THE SOUL

A favorite recipe, book, music, guided meditation- this can be whatever nourishes your soul. I always love making banana bread whenever I’m having a bad day, so I keep a banana bread recipe written on an index card, in my self-care kit. While I love to cook, I’m not much of a baker. Banana bread is one of those things that I know how to make and whether it’s the intense banana-mushing or the warm cinnamon-nutmeg-banana scent that fills up my kitchen while the bread sits in the oven- it always makes me feel instantly better.

You can also keep things like photographs, affirmations, quotes, small trinkets or other little things that make you happy in your kit. Anything that reminds you of your happy place- like a certain smell, color. I personally love lavender and peppermint, so these are the essential oils I usually diffuse when I read or take a bath. Instead of placing actual objects in your self-care kit/box, you can also insert little reminders for yourself, like: go for a run, meditate, call a friend, take a long bath, etc.

Keep in mind that self-care isn’t a *one-size fit all* kind of thing- you have to customize it to your own needs and lifestyle. Not everyone can afford to take an entire afternoon off to indulge in pampering sessions. Sometimes things as small as a daily, 10-minute meditation practice can help lower your stress levels and make you feel more at ease. Remember to treat yourself with gentleness.



What are some of your favorite things or activities to reach for/do when practicing self-care?

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Selfcare | self-care kit | self-care ideas | lifestyle | wellness | slow living | self-care | mindfulness | happiness
  • This is such a lovely idea. We all need to make more time to take care of ourselves and properly relax. It seems to easy to say but a lot of the time we just don’t get around to doing it x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

    • I agree! Even if we do, we usually try to multitask and never really just take the time to practice some quality self-care. x

  • Christine .

    Another fabulous idea I need to do asap! I’m so glad to know that harry potter books help others calm down as well. There is just something about them!! Same goes for the movies also!

  • Great idea. I do not have a self care kit yet. Definitely need one now. Normally, I just cook, eat and sleep. Works for me but I need more.

  • This is such a good idea, definitely going to create my own soon. I definitely want to start listening to audiobooks and podcasts as well. x

    Lisa | Soho Stripes

  • Ohhh a self-care kit, I need to make one! In fact I’m busy doing a 30 day self-care challenge on my blog; if I knew about this great idea I would have implemented it! Now I’ll just make sure to put one together the upcoming days. The idea of having a treat-yourself box is so appealing!

    If you want to take a look at the self-care challenge I’ve created, you can check it out on http://www.wantforwellness.com

  • Devynne Hadley

    You always have such fabulous ideas! Can’t wait to start my self care kit <3
    https://littlearrowofstarsblog.wordpress.com/

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    That is a really great idea.
    I might try to make one tonight – I may not be going to the gym.
    I have woken up today with a sore throat – I just got over being sick – not sure if I ate something that my stomach didn’t like…?
    I really would like one of those facial rollers.
    I might buy one of those and put it in the fridge.
    Kiri
    Set to Glow
    http://www.settoglow.com.au

    • Thanks Kiri, hope you feel better very soon! I love my jade roller- little facial massage in the evening is something I look forward to every day!

  • I’ve said it before but I’m so excited about this idea! Beautiful photos Paula!

    Sharni xo
    A Girl & Grey

  • I am much more of a baker than a cook, so baked trats are usually part of my feel better routine. And while I don’t have an actual kit, I do have a varietky of things and activities I turn to when feeling down.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • This is such a fantastic idea – I’m guilty of always thinking ‘I dont have time’ when it comes to self-care but more and more I also find myself completely exhausted both physically and mentally. Definitely going to look into a little self-care kit…mine would definitely involve Harry Potter too (escaping to Hogwarts is so comforting and nostalgic to me!). Sophie xxx

    http://www.sopharsogood.com

    • I don’t know what I’d do without HP books :) I’m sometimes guilty of doing the same- which is why I started scheduling my self-care, just like everything else. Even if it’s just 10 minutes- it can make a big difference. x

  • I am not a very artsy person, but the number one thing that relaxes me is doing… scrapbooks? Granted, they look horrendous, but it’s the process that matters :)

    • I’m afraid I’m on the same boat- I always wished I was as talented as my mom or husband who can REALLY draw. But hey, as long as you’re enjoying yourself! :)

  • Lisa Autumn

    You are always so inspiring hun!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  • Natalie Redman

    Great post! Love a good self-care kit!

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

  • Kate

    I love the idea of a self-care kit – I think we sometimes forget to take that time out for ourselves, even if it’s just a few minutes, so having a kit could act as a reminder. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • I love those little cards! Great post :)

  • As well as sticking your pajamas in the dryer, you know what else is a great trick? Putting your bed pillows in the dryer for 15 min to fluff them up and make them all warm and cuddly. I do this once every week and it’s a real treat! It also helps kill dust mites ;)

    • This is such a good idea! Freshly laundered and ironed bedsheets are always on my list of self-care tips, I hadn’t thought about putting pyjamas in the dryer, or pillows for that matter!

  • I love this post! Self-care is so important for me these days – especially when life has been so busy lately.

    xoxo
    Regina
    http://mybeautymusings.com

    • Thank you, Regina. It’s something easily forgotten when we get busy, I think it’s at that time when it’s most important to practice a little self-care!

  • I love listening to audiobooks, and I’m making my way through the Harry Potter series! I started last month and I’m already up to Half-Blood Prince. I made the decision to re-read the entire series every year and decided to listen to one HP book per month for the rest of the year, but I was just too engrossed and captivated in the entire world and story to take a break between the books!
    I love the idea of this self-care kit, I’ll definitely have to put one together for myself ♥

    – Rebecca | Sincerely Rebecca ♥

    • I love HP audiobooks- I feel like I could get through anything, as long as I can listen to them haha :) I love re-reading them too- never gets boring :) Good luck with creating your own kit! :)

  • Jess Acorn

    I think this is such a lovely idea and I’m definitely going to create myself a self-care kit tonight when i get home, thanks for sharing this idea!

    Jess x
    http://acornlifefitness.com/