What To Keep in Your Emergency Self-Care Toolkit (plus FREE Kit-Building Download!)
Bad days happen. They zap your energy, your mood, and your sense of self-worth to low levels. These days are rough and the lack of motivation that come with them can send you into a spiral.
To prepare for these days, we recommend building an emergency self-care kit, filled with things to help you feel clean, fed, comforted, and validated.
On days when I feel my lowest, my mood is directly proportionate to how gross I feel physically. If I’m feeling crappy, a shower always lifts that crappy feeling ever so slightly.
For days that a shower is impossible, be sure to stock your self-care emergency kit with some hygiene essentials to make you feel like less of a grease goblin:
- Face wipes: My skin type is oily but sensitive, so when I haven’t washed my face in more than 12 hours, I can just feel the oil sitting on my cheeks and forehead. I feel gross and dirty. A quick swipe with a face wipe immediately fixes that.
- Deodorant: Being able to smell yourself (in a bad way) only contributes to the bad feelings. Keep deodorant in your kit for easy access and a quick fix to your whiffs.
- Hair ties/bobby pins: Get your hair off your neck and out of your face. This will keep you from running your fingers through your hair and from getting too sweaty.
- Underwear: Even on low days, your sexual health is important. Keep your sexy parts healthy with some clean panties or boxers (or go commando).
- Mints: When your toothbrush is out of reach and you can taste your morning breath, having a tin of mints or gum can be a saving grace. While you should still brush your teeth at some point (cavities and gum disease are no good), a mint can help tide you over for your mental health.
Down days mean lack of motivation to cook or go anywhere to grab food. Unfortunately, food delivery people won’t come in your house and hand you your food, so when you’re stuck in bed, food and drink can be a problem.
Keeping your self-care emergency kit stocked with some basic necessities can keep your growling stomach satisfied:
- Granola/protein bars: Granola and protein bars are quick to grab and eat and can help get your blood sugar enough to tip your mood in the right direction. Watch out for high-sugar bars, though; they can contribute to feelings of stomach ickiness.
- Water: Water is so important to have on you at all times, but especially when you’re feeling gross and low energy. Water can help wake you up, stave off headaches, and keep your skin healthy. Water is life; always keep a full bottle by your side.
- Tea: About a year and a half ago, I discovered the joys of tea. There are teas for energy, teas for comfort, and teas for relaxation. On days when you just want to stay in bed, it’s worth it to get out of bed long enough to make some tea. I recommend some of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea or, for the really rough days, Kava tea. Beware with Kava tea, though; It is not the tea to drink a lot of or do anything after you drink it. Kava tea is ultimate relaxation tea.
When I’m feeling low, I want to surround myself with things that comfort me. I want soft things that feel like hugs and are calm. I don’t want anything that will contribute to the anxiety and depression that this down day is already filled with.
- Sweatshirt: While this is definitely weather-permitting, a sweatshirt, especially an oversize, well-worn one, can be a huge source of comfort when you’re in a low mood.
- Soft blanket: I’m a very tactile person. Resting my face on a soft blanket or a cool pillow is instantly relaxing and soothing to me. Keep something soft closeby for your self-care days.
- Chocolate bar: While food shouldn’t always be the first thing you reach for to comfort you, having some chocolate nearby (I recommend Dove chocolates for ease of access) can provide some instant satisfaction.
- Calming media: On days when I’m angry, I reach out to the Real Housewives to get out my aggression. But when I’m anxious and overwhelmed, I reach out to more comforting shows like “The Great British Baking Show” and soothing sounds. White noise emulators like Rainymood and Coffitivtiy can help your depression nest feel less empty and more calming.
Sometimes when we’re down we just need to know that we are valid in our feelings but also valid in our lives. It can be hard to see our reality and the positivity in our lives when we’re feeling our lowest.
Stashing happy things in our self care kits can help remind us of the good things, even when we don’t feel them.
- Pictures of things you love: Keeping pictures, physical or digital, of happy things close by can be an easy reminder of the life and love you have. These can be of family, friends, your pets, other people’s pets, or even memes that make you smile. Develop an archive of happy.
- Kind words: In college, I kept a collection of positive affirmations on post-its stuck to my mirror. They reminded me that “I’m a force to be reckoned with” and “I am loved.” It’s cheesy, but sometimes we just need to hear those things to feel worthy. This can also come from a friend. Reach out to someone who can give you those kind words when you need them.
- A journal: Journals get a bad rap for being flippant diaries, but I think they are a great way to express yourself and also get organized. Keep a journal as a place to vent your frustrations, catalog your accomplishments, or even keep a to do list. A journal is your place to write or draw or explode however you want without any judgment.
We all have bad days. There are depression slumps and anxiety pits that can be debilitating. Keeping an emergency self-care kit handy and ready can help you at least feel a little better as you get through the lows. Especially when it’s filled with things helping you find your happy.