As you can probably tell, I’ve been on a bit of a self-care binge recently. This sudden investment into my mental health comes partly from the boredom of being stuck in quarantine, and partly because the quarantine has made it an absolute necessity for me to practise more self-care.
The other day I talked about how I created the ultimate self-care checklist, and how having a list of daily/weekly self-care goals helps me stay focused and mentally balanced. I even have 70 self-care activity ideas in case I want to switch things up. However, with self-isolation comes a few more down days, and there are times I feel so out of it that I resort to my self-care toolkit instead.
In short, it’s a box of my favourite feel-good things, strategically placed underneath my bed so that it is easily accessible from my lair of woe. I recently revamped it and had so much fun that I just had to share some suggestions.
Here are some really easy self-care toolkit ideas! Almost everything on this list is actually in my own personal box. If you’re looking for some more self-care toolkit ideas, The Mighty also have 25 awesome suggestions that really inspired me, so make sure to check out their post too.
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1. An Adult Colouring Book
So look, I found this swear-word colouring book for adults and maybe I’m just an immature kid at heart but man do I love it! It’s fun, makes me laugh and the designs are actually better than I expected so it’s a definite recommend. I also have a mandala colouring book for some serious therapeutic relaxation, which I love just as much. I bought mine from The Works ages ago, but I found a similar mandala colouring book on amazon that I might pick up as I’m running out of pages!
Colouring books are a great way to effortlessly unleash your creativity whilst also practising mindful meditation. I like listening to music while I colour, which brings me on to the next item.
2. A Set of Earphones
Music is so therapeutic for me. I have a playlist for every mood and by putting a pair of earphones in the box, I’m reminded that if I stick on some tunes, crank up the volume and lose myself for a while, I’m guaranteed to feel even the tiniest bit better.
3. Facial Masks
Do you remember these 7th Heaven facials? I discovered them again a few months ago and bought a bunch for the nostalgia. Whilst they don’t quite wash away the sucky-ness of the last twelve years, I did kinda feel like a thirteen-year-old again as I cried into my pink guava face mask.
4. A Journal
My journal is a must in my self-care toolkit because it’s what I channel a lot of my thoughts into. Venting my emotions out through journaling is like therapy for me and I like to use these 117 thought-provoking journal prompts for inspiration. My journal also contains some really uplifting stuff, like my favourite quotes, a list of things that help when I’m sad, a safety plan and more.
If you haven’t started your own journal but really want to, the first thing you need is a quality book. Moleskin is my favourite brand when it comes to notebooks because they’re sturdy, reliable and just so classically beautiful. They do both plain, ruled and boxed notebooks in a variety of different colours. My favourite is the daisy pink plain paper notebook.
5. Positive Notes From Yourself or Others
This is one I actually added after reading The Mighty’s self-care kit post. This is my absolute favourite self-care toolkit idea because even just putting these notes together made me all warm and fuzzy! The positive notes can be printed screenshots from friends or nice things people have said about you that you’ve remembered and written down. They can even be written by yourself! Having those little reminders handy can really lift your mood and remind you of the kindness in the world 💖
6. A Hot Water Bottle
There is just something so damn comforting about a hot water bottle. If I could, I’d glue mine to my stomach and take it everywhere with me. Check out these cute fleeced hot water bottles in a variety of different designs!
7. Your Favourite Snacks
I usually put a bag of harbios in my box. Sometimes I take the bag out and open it even on my good days, and then get sad on my bad days when I have no emergency haribos. Learn something from my mistakes.
8. A Feel-Good Book
I don’t usually read self-help books but right now, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’ has earned an entitled space in my self-care toolkit! For someone prone to overthinking everything and wallowing in self-pity, a tough-love approach is exactly what I need sometimes. My favourite quote from the book is this:
“The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important”
I refer to this quote several times a day when I find myself giving too much of a fuck about things that I can’t change, and it’s a great eye-opener for when I’m in a rut.
I’d highly suggest this book if you’re after a no-nonsense approach to self-care, but any self-help, inspirational or motivational book is a great addition to your self-care toolkit. If you aren’t into non-fiction, fiction books can be great additions too. It could be something on your TBR list or an old favourite that you really want to re-read. My last book in the box was actually a children’s book called My Naughty Little Sister! (Btw, has anyone ever read this? I have the collection and I used to love them.)
9. Tea Bags
Buy your favourite tea bags and put them in the box so that whenever you’re sad you can remember that ‘sticking the kettle on’ is a nationally-recognised mood-lifter.
10. Essential Oils
Did you know that essential oils have a ton of possible health benefits, especially in relation to emotional health? As an insomniac, I reap the benefits of lavender oil by putting a few drops on my pillow at night. It definitely helps with relaxation and after doing some research into aromatherapy I’m really looking forward to trying out more.
11. Scented Candles /Incense/Wax Melts
It’s been proven that pleasant smells have a positive impact on emotion, so fill your box with your favourite tealights and light one when you need a bit of TLC. They also make your box smell nice, which is an added bonus.
As you can imagine, my box is filled with several sweet-smelling tealights plus this vanilla cupcake Yankee candle which at the moment is my absolute favourite – and smells as delicious as you’d expect!
12. Fragranced Moisturiser
OK, you get the point. I like stuff that smells good.
13. A Collection of Photographs
Our brains are pretty good at disregarding and forgetting happy moments. When things are bad it can often feel like you’ve been stuck in a long, dark tunnel for your whole life. It’s important to remind yourself that not only have you had some truly happy experiences, but you will also have lots more!
Collect some pictures that evoke happy memories for you. Maybe old photos of your childhood antics or pictures of your friends, family or pets. Put them into a scrapbook, photo-album or plastic wallet so that you can go through them in the dark times and hopefully see some light. Alternatively, make a folder on your phone/desktop and gather all of the photos there.
14. A Pair of Fluffy Slippers or Socks
After all, how can you not feel even the tiniest bit better when you have these adorable fluffy animal socks cuddling your feet?
15. An Eye-Mask
A simple item for when you just want to switch off from the world.
16. A Ready Meal
Okay, so this one doesn’t go in the box but it’s a staple for my emergency down-days. If you’re taking this self-care thing seriously, make your own meal from scratch and pop it in the freezer so that you can be your best healthy self even on the bad days! Otherwise, join me on the dark side and buy an emergency frozen pizza 😉
So here it is, a collection of the things in my self-care toolkit that will hopefully inspire you to make your own. I’m really trying to do what I can to look after myself following a really bad dip, so I’m really appreciative of any other self-care toolkit ideas that you might have!