Years ago, before I understood what self-care really means, I wrote a post about a Guilt-Free Mommy Self-Care Routine You Can’t Live Without. I look back now and see I was missing some really important parts of the self-care picture.
Of course, I have gone through some really hard times that forced me to learn about self-care and implement solid self-care strategies since then. I think it is also important to create a self-care toolkit that is your go to for times of immediate need. Some times you may want to think of this as an “emergency” self-care toolkit because you don’t need all of the items in it on a regular basis.
Since true self-care is built as a 3 part model, (which you can read about in the first part of this Self Care Series-What Self-Care Really Mean and Why is it Important for Your Mental Health) then it stands to reason your toolkit should be built address those aspects of self care.
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Self-Care Strategies, Activities, and Products to Put in Your Self-Care Toolkit
1. Self-Care Plan
If you haven’t already, you need to create a self-care plan that becomes a routine. This is the most vital part of your self-care toolkit. To get started creating a sold self-care plan, read How to Create a Self-Care Plan.
2. Self-Care Strategies
Having self-care strategies that you practice is another very important part to have in your self-care toolkit. These strategies should be part of your self-care plan so that they become part of your self-care routine. But also so that you have something to refer to when your self-care gets a little out of whack and you need to get back on track with taking care of yourself-physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Reading your affirmations
- Identify and change negative self-talk
- Reframe your perspective when encountering a a challenge or something negative
- Get enough sleep
- Stay in touch with friends
- Pamper yourself
- Ask for help when you need it
- Practice mindfulness
- Engage in activities that you enjoy
- Keep a journal
3. SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES
Self-care activities are simple things that you do to practice and carry out your self-care strategies.
- Go for a walk or bike ride
- Read a book
- Make your bed
- Give a friend a call
- Take a shower
- Start or work on a hobby
- Drink plenty of water
- Go see a movie
- Regularly see a psychologist or therapist
- Get regular checkups with your doctor and preventative care
- Organize your closet
- Purge and give away extra stuff
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
4. toolkit Items That Bring you physical, emotional, or mental comfort
The following is a list of items that bring you comfort and/or allow you to practice the self-care strategies and activities mentioned above:
Weighted blankets provide deep pressure touch which reduces stress by promoting relaxation and deep breathing. It is thought that this may trigger release of certain “feel good” hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Journal & Pens
Bullet journaling has been a buzzword for a while now. It’s supposed to help you externalize thoughts (which means get them out of your head and put them in a place that you can come back to later). This frees up your brain to think more clearly and concentrate better. Who doesn’t need some of that? It also is used as a planner of sorts to not just jot down your feelings, but keep track of important things in your life.
Many people believe that essential oils have healing effects on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I mainly use them with a diffuser for aromatherapy to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Fidget toys are probably super annoying to teachers because what started out as an occupational therapy tool for ADHD or autistic kids, turned into a fad. But fidget toys can help ease anxiety and give extra sensory input to people that have a need for it. I think every person can make use of one of these items even if it’s just for stress relief (or release.)
Whether you are in to self-help books, or fiction, a good book is a must-have in your self-care toolkit. I recommend this book by Ruth Soukup. She is also the creator of Elite Blog Academy, and is the reason I started my blogging journey. Read How Blogging Made Me a Chronic Illness Warrior to find out more. But, find a good book, curl up in your favorite spot, and let your mind focus on good things.
Different teas have different therapeutic qualities. I’m from the south, so when you say tea, I think “Sweet or Unsweet?” But I have found that peppermint tea is really helpful with bloating and doesn’t taste so “outdoorsy.” Go ahead, you can laugh . . .
Eye masks can be used as sleep aids or for beauty needs. I remember my sister and I would put sliced cucumbers on our eyes when we were kids pretending to pamper ourselves.
A good pair of fuzzy socks comforts the soul as much as your feet. I love mine but my kids always steal them and run off to “skate” on our wood floors. I bought my 14-year-old son a pair for his birthday and I think he like them more than the cash we gave him! Nah, he like the cash better. . . But, it tickled me the other day because he wore them to school with his tennis shoes.
Adult coloring books are all the rage, but I think they are truly helpful. It helps me calm down and focus on one thing-coloring and let the other thoughts clogging my mind be released. Read this to get 30 Amazing Free Adult Coloring Page Printables.
You can create your own affirmations based on the goals and challenges you have in your life. I have created some for my readers. Just subscribe to our email list and you will get access to our Library of Freebies and you can download them from there. Some are blank for you to write your own.
No self-care toolkit is truly complete without all four of these components: Self-care plan, self-care strategies, self-care activities, and comfort and therapeutic items.
So get started with taking care of yourself on a regular basis. Self-care is something every one of us needs to do and can benefit from a well thought out self-care routine individualized to meet our specific needs.
I don’t know about you, but I am going put on my comfy socks and get my coloring pages out–