As part of caring for myself, almost six years ago, my therapist recommended that I build a care box. Initially, it had a few calming items but as I understood my coping and anxiety better, I have expanded what the box contains.
A care box is unique to you. It is created for a time of crisis or to return to it everyday to calm or to energise self.
Step 1: We need to find a box. The box can be a cardboard box or something you make. The sight of the box must be reassuring and happy – so decorate and personalise anyway you like.
Step 2: Next, it would be great if we explored what makes us feel better along three lines:
- something for your body – physical,
- something to activate your senses – sensory,
- and, something to soothe your feelings- for your emotional self.
If making a list helps you, then this is the part where you bring out a paper and make a list of all the things that help under these three categories.
Step 3: For physical you can add a ball to throw around. A game that involves spinning tops or putting a ball into a cup. Squeeze balls to ease stress are also a good idea. SOS meds are a good idea to keep here; something for stress headaches or pain or anything else you might like to take like vitamins.
Step 4: The next one is my favourite step. Sensory. This was something I took lightly for many years. But over a period of time this is the most vibrant part of my box. A stone with rough edges, which you can roll around in your hand or origami paper that can be folded; a smell of any kind – candles, aroma therapy oils or even a scented soap; a packet of your favourite drink – could be tea; a bar of chocolate – if that is the sweetness you like. You could even add a headset which reminds you that music is good at this moment. Basically to cover touch, smell and taste.
Step 5: The final step is finding something that appeals to your emotional or spiritual self. A book that you like to read and reread; a colouring book; a journal; just colours and paper.
These steps are loosely designed based on what I have learnt works for me. Having something to touch, to throw, to colour and to smell help shift my brain from its fear response of flight or fight to something that reminds me I am not in danger at the moment.
We would love to hear from you what your care box would contain. Participate in our campaign on our social media or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For easy and quick access to this resource, you can download this as a handout here.