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.
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This process is super simple and you can truly make this box your own.
Grab Your Box
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!).
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.
- A Warmie (or a regular hot/cold pack) to keep you warm and help with sleep
- A soft stuffed animal to hold tight
- Tea Bags (fruity teas are my favorite)
- Essential oils to uplift, soothe, excite, or calm (grab an essential oil diffuser too)
- A weighted blanket to lay under
Environmental self-care is able about creating a physical space that is comforting, energizing, calming etc (whatever you need!).
- Mini trash bags so you can throw anything away without having to get out of bed or off the couch
- Smudge sticks to cleanse your area
- Sanitizing wipes to clean
- Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out the noisy outside world
- A small lamp or booklight for when you don’t want to open the curtains
For social self-care, think about the things that will help you feel connected to the people in your life that you love.
- 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
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.
- An envelope with $20 in it to buy yourself something special
- A book on financial literacy or financial freedom (here are two of my favorites – The Financial Diet and Broke Millenial)
- A list of your financial goals
- Money/financial affirmation cards
- This journal for manifesting money
Mental/emotional self-care is all about allowing you to feel your feelings without judgment.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.