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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