A few weeks ago I talked about creating a self-care box and I mentioned that you could also think of it as a toolkit. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to expand on the idea of a self-care toolkit because I thought a lot about everything that it could actually encompass.
What Is A Self-Care Toolkit?
This self-care kit is all-encompassing. Think of it like your imaginary toolbelt or suit of armor (with all the bells and whistles. bells and swords?) that you can carry around with you to help you tackle any IKEA furniture or fire-breathing dragon that comes your way.
Need to feel relaxed? – The lavender essential oil in your toolbelt is the answer.
Need to feel inspired? – The vision board of your life in 5 years that you’ve got tucked away in the hilt of your sword keeps you going.
Achy muscles? – Those bath salts that are hidden in your right front pocket will do the trick.
I think you get where I’m going here.
What Should I Put In My Toolkit?
Absolutely anything goes here! Physical things. Mindset shifts. Technological advances. The sky is only limited to your imagination and what restores, relaxes, or reinvigorates you.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I like to look at self-care through the lens of 8 dimensions:
There are a lot of things that someone could put into this toolkit. So think of this as an intimate look into my toolkit and a fun and free self-care guide to expanding your mindset about what you can have in your own.
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I’m a huge reader and I always have been. It wasn’t until recently that I actually started reading books about self-care. They’ve deepened my understanding about what self-care is, what it can be, and ways that I can better incorporate self-care into my life. Below are a few of the self-care books that I’ve read/am currently reading. (If you’d like me to review these books – leave a comment letting me know).
This is actually the first book that I dove into when I started to really think about what self-care could be. Being an introvert, reading this book really spoke to me. It allowed me to understand my introvertedness more and come up with some unique ways to both enhance introvertedness and push me out of my comfort zone. If you’re an introvert like me, you should definitely check out this book.
If spirituality is your jam, you’ll love this book. It has sections on crystals, astrology, tarot, and more. If you’re wanting to get more into your spiritual side (because being spiritual is definitely a form of self-care. I highly reçommend you getting this book. You can purchase it here.
What I really love about this book is that it is super simple and has a bunch of self-care ideas in it. PLUS, its actually a small book and it can be easily carried around if you’re needing some self-care on the go. Not a Libra? No need to worry – there are books for every Zodiac sign. Click here to take a look.
I’ll be completely honest. I was super late on the Ayurvedic train and I’m still not fully on it (I’m hanging on in the back), but I’m loving learning more about it and how to integrate it into my self-care plan. It clearly explains what Ayurveda is, what it can do, and how to integrate it into your life in super simple ways. If you’re super into Ayurveda or you’re hanging out on the back of the train like I am, I recommend picking it up.
There are so many apps that are a part of my toolkit that I couldn’t list them all here but these are the ones that are my favorites or that I use on an almost daily basis.
Spotify is the absolute first app that I use in the morning, as it is a huge part of my morning routine (see next section). I use Spotify to not only listen to music during the day, but as part of my morning routine by listening to business or inspirational podcasts. These help me with learning more about being an entrepreneur or just start my day with positivity. Lately, I’ve been listening to TedTalks Daily and Work Your Inner Wisdom.
You can also try a FREE trial of Amazon Unlimited (very similar to Spotify) if Spotify doesn’t work for you.
I’ve been using MindShift for a couple of years now. It is an app that helps you to shift your perspective on the situations that you are dealing with. I primarily use it when I’m feeling stressed or anxious. You can tell it what kind of anxiety you’re dealing with (general worry, perfectionism, panic, etc) and it will give you tips on how to tackle your anxiety. The coping cards and belief experiments are particularly helpful.
My Affirmations is an app that I only started using pretty recently. I was looking for an app that had pre-made affirmations as well as ones that allowed me to create my own. You can set up affirmations for different areas of your life (my current affirmations are mostly around career/business and my health) and have them set as notifications throughout your day. These help me to stay grounded and remember the things that are currently important to me in my growth. Here is a similar app for IOS called ThinkUp.
The first time I used StayFocused was way back in grad school when I was studying to become a social worker. I actually used it to do a self-study assignment to see if I could help myself be less of a procrastinator. It didn’t exactly work back then but I decided to try it again a couple of months ago to help with my time management.
I use it to block certain apps during certain time periods (like during my morning routine) and to give myself time limits so I’m not mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram all day. IOS has a similar app called Screen Time.
To me, Mint is pure gold. It is an app that allows you to set and track your budget. You can connect all of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, real estate, loans, etc and have them all in one place for you to look at. I check Mint daily to understand my finances and it beats having to log in to multiple accounts just to remember if a certain bill came out or not. I highly recommend it if you are trying to overcome debt or just if you want to understand where your money is going.
Behaviors and Mindset
Behavior changes and mindset shifts are ESSENTIAL to creating a life that you are thriving in. I knew this (like we all know it) but it took a while for me to really understand and actually follow through with making these changes. So here’s what is in the behavior and mindset section of my self-care toolkit.
Morning and Evening Routines
I’ve had a semi-night routine for the past year and a half but nothing that was concrete or that really made me feel “fulfilled”. I really started thinking about crafting a morning and evening routine back in August 2019. My morning and evening routines help me to feel centered, express gratitude, and mix in a bit of fun to start and end my day. Some things that you could add to your morning or evening routine are:
- Gratitude journaling
- Manifestation journaling
- Making a to-do list
- Listening to podcasts
- Having a cup of coffee or tea
Fostering a growth mindset is something that I’ve been working on especially in the past couple of months (gratitude and manifestation journaling helps A LOT with this).
I’d heard about a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset in the past but never applied it to my life until I actually read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. This book was an absolute game-changer for me, with not only how I think and speak to myself but how I think and speak to others.
If you’re really wanting to change your mindset and with that change your behaviors, I cannot stress getting this book enough.
Your WHY can also be your purpose….your calling….your life’s work..etc. It is what you hold on to when you don’t have anything else. It is a combination of your values, your goals, and what you want the world to look like when you leave it.
So what’s my WHY? Why do I do what I do? Why did I start this blog and coaching business?
I believe that people deserve to feel supported, valued, and to live a life that makes them happy. When I don’t have anything else, I have that.
Want to find your WHY? I recommend Find Your Why by Simon Sinek.
While people are not “tools”, they are an important piece of my life and how I take care of myself.
My Family and Friends
I am grateful for all of my family members and friends that I have and for all the ones that I will have in the future. As an introvert, it can be hard for me to meet new people and make new friends. So, the people that I have in my corner are precious.
Tips for finding your people:
- Journaling prompts to figure out what kind of people you need
- Apps/websites like Meetup to find new people
- Try becoming a “regular” at a coffee shop, bar, or gym (I’ve done this recently and it’s not as scary as it seems!)
I was both happily and unhappily single for 7 years before meeting my current partner. I have a lot of wild stories to tell during the time that I was single.
I am grateful to be in a stable, healthy, and happy relationship with someone who is honest, empathetic, and kind.
This section is for some things that I didn’t really know where else to put lol, but they are still extremely important to me and my well-being
My HeartSong Journal
This journal is a mish-mash of everything. It has a bucklist list, a goal-setting, things I want to remember, and my favorite section: love notes. It is not something that I write in or even look in every day, but it sits on my desk as a reminder of the authenticity and beauty that is me.
I’m a homebody. I work from home and love to be at home whenever I can. But, my home is also an extension and physical reminder of how hard I’ve worked to get where I am in life. Past Briana had it rough sometimes and didn’t always believe in herself.
This home, its contents, and warmth has far exceeded what I thought I could do. My favorite places in my house are currently my office and my bedroom, but I am planning on creating a more sacred space for myself in the room just off of my bedroom.
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.
I hope that this post of self-care tools has helped you to expand your mind on what you can put into your self-care kit. As I said, the only limit is your imagination and I believe your imagination is limitless. What’s in your self-care toolkit? Let me know in the comments.
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.