How To Create A Self-Care Box for Your Bad Days

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Happy Self-Care Awareness Month! Ya know, sometimes there are just days where you don’t know what to do with yourself and you’re just in a funk. For those days, here’s my advice: create a self-care box. You can also think of it as a depression survival kit or comfort box.

In this box, you’ll have a mix of wonderful, fun, and calming things that will help make your day a little bit brighter. The beauty of this box is that it is your own creation and you can put anything that you want in the box.

*This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the provided links to purchase any of the below products or services. Please check out my disclosure policy.*

Getting Started

This process is super simple and you can truly make this box your own.

Grab Your Box

I’ve had this box for about a year now. I purchased mine from the Container Store but you can find similar ones on Amazon (like this and this).

For an even more creative experience, grab yourself a cardboard box, some wrapping paper, construction paper, markers, stickers, and other tools to truly make the box your own. If you do this, PLEASE share with me on Instagram. I would absolutely love to see what you create.

Grab Your Self-Care Materials

Now, like I said earlier, this box is fullllyyyyy customizable to you. Any and everything that you love, makes you happy, sparks your creativity, etc can be placed into this box. Though I don’t recommend perishable food for obvious reasons 😉

If you’re not sure where to start, I do have some suggestions for you based on the 8 dimensions of wellness or as I like to say, the 8 dimensions of self-care (though there are some dimensions that lend themselves better to this!).

Physical Self-Care

For physical self-care, you can include anything that might be helpful to you that helps you take care of your physical health and wellbeing AND things that soothe (or excite!) your senses.

My picks!

Environmental Self-Care

Environmental self-care is able about creating a physical space that is comforting, energizing, calming etc (whatever you need!).

My picks!

Social Self-Care

For social self-care, think about the things that will help you feel connected to the people in your life that you love.

My picks!

  • Pictures of your loved ones to remind you of all the people you love
  • Some stationary, stamps, and pens to write a loved one a letter
  • “Love notes” or compliments that you’ve got from other people (these can be actual physical letters or things that you’ve printed out)
  • A list of all the things that you like to do with your loved ones
  • A list of all the reasons that you love your friends and family members

Financial Self-Care

For financial self-care, put things in your self-care box that will help you get your mind right about your money or that supports you financially.

My picks!

Mental/Emotional Self-Care

Mental/emotional self-care is all about allowing you to feel your feelings without judgment.

My picks!

  • A journal (with pens!) to write down your thoughts (check out these journaling prompts to get started)
  • Fidget toys to calm and distract you from your anxiety
  • Coloring book with colored pencils
  • Tissues for when you need to let out a good cry
  • Affirmation Cards to pick yourself up

Spiritual Self-Care

For this dimension, think about all the things that make you feel connected to a higher power or higher purpose. This does not have to be connected to a particular religion.

My picks!

  • Your favorite spiritual or religious book
  • Crystals for manifesting spiritual awareness
  • A candle to help with focus and meditation
  • Yoga mat
  • Something to help you be creative like paint and a canvas

Occupational Self-Care

For occupational self-care, put things in your box that you think might help you get further in your current career OR things that might help you jumpstart a new one.

My picks!

  • A book to help you with your career goals (here are two recommendations – Future Proofed and Getting To Yes)
  • A list of your professional accomplishments (and add to it if you need to)
  • A journal to evaluate your career growth
  • A magazine to learn more about what is going on in your professional industry
  • A list of your professional goals and steps on how to get there

Intellectual Self-Care

Intellectual self-care is about engaging your mind in a way that increases your skills or knowledge. Is there something you want to learn about? Put it in your box.

My picks!

  • A book that stimulates your intellectual curiosity or personal growth
  • Brain teasers like sudoku, word searches, or crossword puzzles
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Handheld video game player with games (I actually still have my old Gameboy Color and Pokemon games).
  • A journal to record your new learnings

If you’re interested in getting some in-depth and personalized help with starting or leveling up your self-care practice, check out my For The Love of Self-Care coaching packages here.

Some Things To Consider

Mental Health Gift Basket

Have you read through this and thought to yourself, “This would make an amazing gift!“. I agree! If someone you love is struggling and you want to do something nice for them, make a self-care box or “mental health gift basket” for them to show them how much you care. Go through the same process and pick out the things that you think they would like.

Changing Out Your Items

Every few months or so you may want to replace or change up the items in your box as you learn more about yourself and grow in your self-care practice. Take each item out and really think about if it is still useful for you. If it is, put it back in. If not, think of something to replace it with that would serve you better or make you happier.

Variations On the “Box”

A “box” is just used as an example. There can be many variations of this same concept. If you want this to be more mobile, you can get a smaller box, use a bag (or a container to put in a bag), or put an extra “box” in your car.

My finished box!

So there you have it. An awesome self-care box for you to pull out whenever you need it. What would you put in your box?

Briana Hollis is a licensed social worker and self-care coach. She earned her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2014 and her Master of Education from Tiffin University in 2019. She has spent the last 5 years working in crisis intervention.  Her passion for serving others is the heart of this site. She started Learning To Be Free to assist others in bringing freedom to their lives.

Briana is also the author of The Self-Care Journal for Young Adults.

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  1. Brianna, I was so happy to see this blog about creating your own self-care basket. I love the fact you have such innovative and creative ideas.

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you Beth!

  2. These are all such fabulous ideas, and you are right–it would make a great gift! Also, I am totally going to need to get myself a copy of Hater Cats, LOL! Thank you so much for sharing, and have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Briana says:

      Thank you for reading Valerie!

  3. Lee says:

    We sometimes forget to take care of ourselves and I like the idea of a self care basket. Thank you for sharing.

  4. This is such a great post – “self care is not selfish” which is a post that I am working on and you have given me some tips. Thanks for sharing on the Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party.

  5. Great ideas here. I am going to make a sick care basket. When you are ill the last thing you want to do is rummage looking for the good stuff!!! For some reason NO ONE else in the house knows where we keep the tissue boxes and cold meds. Love this! Thanks for sharing at #trafficjam

  6. Amanda Kerr says:

    This is a great idea! Very cute! 🙂

  7. Cathy says:

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to make mine 🙂

  8. Rachel says:

    I love the idea of having a self-care box at the ready when you need a pick-me-up. Very clever!

  9. Tiffany Lei says:

    These are great ideas. I love the diversity that you through over! I am definitely an environmental one.

  10. Ashley says:

    Wow this is so unique. I’ve never thought about this! I’ll have to try it soon!

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