Making a Self-care toolkit

I think self-care toolkits are life essentials. We need a variety of self-care toolkits so that we can have a variety of vibes. I start each of my toolkits with the five senses and the moods that need to be expressed or felt. I have toolkits to get out the anger, to love myself, and to elevate my mood, and even a get-me-in-the-mood toolkit. I find having these toolkits gives me more control over my internal life and allows me to stop rumination and prevent slides into dark moods. I have multiple kits for each mood I like to be able to induce and signal my partner with. For example, if I put on Otis Redding, my partner knows that I want to have an intimate evening of wine and conversation and vice versa. Our sensory inputs can be linked to triggers in the brain and set or reset mood. Building the toolkits requires that we take a moment and reflect on what our sensory triggers are.

An example is that, for me, the smell of cinnamon makes me feel relaxed and creates a family vibe, whereas the smell of peppermint makes me feel energized. When building our toolkits, I recommend that my clients go to a perfume or essential oil shop and smell the fragrances and trust their snap feeling when smelling the fragrances, then purchase the oils that had the desired emotional trigger. Another option is to Google oils and try the generally suggested oil for the desired mood. If you are not triggered by smell, pairing the aroma with other sensor triggers can help create a smell trigger. Having an olfactory trigger is helpful because keeping a sash or cloth with a relaxing smell can help reduce anxiety when out and about in the world.

I also advise having visual mood triggers in the home. One that I have is a stuffed animal that I don’t usually have out, but I put it out on my bed when I want to feel light-hearted. I also have sticker books and puzzles when I want to feel chill. The color emerald green makes me feel beautiful. I own several pieces of clothing that I wear when I want to feel beautiful. I also find mixing and matching vibrant colors elevates my mood and makes me feel happy. Looking at different items and colors and noting your snap mood will help you find your visual triggers. For finding what sounds trigger us, I advise starting with music and then moving on to sounds in nature and daily life. For touch, it is about touching things and feeling what feels comforting. The same for taste. I recommend once you have gathered the data, that you then make baskets or notes of recipes for mood-alteration that includes an item for each of the senses. For example, if I feel like I am in a down mood, I eat ice cream and put on Mint Car by the Cure and wear emerald green. This picks me up and curtails the mood, causing a shift in me. These toolkits may not work for severe depressive episodes, but they can help give a slight endorphin kick on down and anxious days.

Posted on 06 Mar 2023 07:17

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