Last week I went to see a councillor to talk about my anxiety.
I am at the moment on the waiting list to have treatment for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and whilst I wait the services thought it was best I get control over my anxiety.
I’m not going into detail about what we went through, you need to see someone yourself if therapy is needed – even if I reiterate what was told to me I urge you to go and see a professional yourself. You shouldn’t be getting advice off of the internet.
But this isn’t about advice, this is about one particular part of the meeting where she mentioned making a self-care kit. Something to go to when I need grounding, a way to get to the here and now.
I started searching the internet looking for the best things to put in my care package and although there were some articles that seemed specific to my cause most centred around pedicures and facials.
So, I am writing a list of things to put into a care package. You can adapt and change as you will but this is more likr what I was looking for when I thought care package:
- Tea – put a bag of tea into the package. Make it a tea that soothes you and put it into your favourite cup. I like chamomile tea in my favourite mug that is thick enough I can wrap my hands around. If tea isn’t your thing try hot chocolate or warm milk.
- Photos – I was told to keep photos of people who ground me, people that can make me see clear when things seem to be at there worst. That would be pictures of my mum, dad, boyfriend, best friend and little sister.
- Essence – whether the scent comes from incense, candles or essential oils find something that smells soothing to you. That could be woody-scents, cinnamon or the classic lavender. Find something that can calm you down.
- Toy – there are two types of toys I need within my care package. One is a teddy, something fluffy and soft that can comfort you. Another is something to help with restless hands; I have a fidgety my boyfriend got me which distracts my hands and mind. Another idea is a puzzle or a ball to throw in the air. This could include a squeezie or a stress-ball.
- Notes – letters from loved one, your favourite quotes, lists of things you love in life. You have to dissociate from your thoughts and worries and ground yourself to what is truly around you.
- Mix tape – go old school and make a mix tape or a playlist of songs that can soothe you. Add songs that are attached to happy memories and people you love. Play those moments in your mind; remember how you danced or how the room smelt. Try and find yourself back in that moment.
- Breathing – there are breathing techniques that you can find online or from those who can give medical advice. The one I’ve been taught is breathing into the top of the chest, the side of the ribs and the diaphragm. Taking three rounds of this deep breathing technique should get you on the road to mental clarity.
- Do something you love – if that’s reading, watching a film, going for a walk, doing your makeup or singing (even if it’s in a deafening tone) do something that can distract you and you find rewarding. Even though I listed walking maybe going for something that can shut your mind off and makes you focus on one thing.
- Meditation – although this could be put under breathing there is a lot more to meditation other than how you take your breaths. I enjoy mindfulness, afterwards feeling as though I had woken from the longest of sleeps. Mindfulness is based on watching your breaths, feeling the space your in and having your mind focus on nothingness. As well as mindfulness there are other forms of meditation you may enjoy more.
- Food – anyone who is close to me knows food is one of my loves. Although it can be argued that I am always hungry when it comes to an anxiety attack I get hungrier. Which is understandable as under fight or flight conditions a lot of energy is used on rushing your heart. So put chocolate or sweets into your care package.
I hope this is useful for you and if you have any queries feel free to leave a comment below. Until next week – G.