These Self-Care Kit Essentials Are Like A Secret Weapon For My Anxiety

They’re so useful when stress strikes.

by Casey Clark
Originally Published: 
Blue box of a smart cookie 1000 piece puzzle as an essential for a self-care kit that helps with anx...

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) roughly five years ago. Whenever I’m having a panic attack or experiencing a depressive episode, getting out of bed can be difficult enough — forget about trying to engage in most wellness activities to help ease my symptoms. That’s why self-care kits (my secret wellness weapon) have been so life-changing for me.

What is a self-care kit, you ask? It’s basically a box filled with comforting items you can easily dig into when you’re feeling stressed, without much thought or difficulty.

“We live in a society that prioritizes busyness and productivity, but we are human beings not human doings,” explains Rachel Miller, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Hold The Vision Therapy. “Our bodies and minds need us to make time to rest and care for ourselves.”

This is where these self-care kits come into play. You’re preparing to take care of yourself for those times when it feels impossible.

That being said, the most important element of having a self-care kit is that it’s in close proximity. You’ll want to keep it next to your bed or work desk, so it’s always within arms reach.

“What’s in a self-care box depends on the recipient, but a few suggestions are candles, bath salts, a journal, calming tea, a curated playlist, something cozy, and a novel,” notes Miller.

My self-care box is filled with journals, puzzles, essential oils, and eye masks. That’s not to say that doing a puzzle or smelling some lavender is going to cure your depression (although I wish it did!), but for me, these strategies can help alleviate some anxiety and calm down my nervous system.

Ready to create your own self-care kit for when times get tough? Below, see 11 essential items you’ll definitely want to add.

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A Cute, On-Theme Carryall

First thing’s first: You’ll need a carrying case for your self-care kit — and this one is just kitschy enough to make you smile even on dark days. With “Emotional Baggage” emblazoned on the front, it’s both lighthearted and right on theme.

A Safe-Space Journal

Whether you want to write out your emotions or jot down a gratitude list, journaling is a great method to let it all out. Need some inspiration? Consider these journal prompts: What makes you feel powerful? What makes you feel in control? What makes you feel calm?

A Chic Diffuser

One way to help reduce stress and keep grounded is by engaging the senses. Stock your self-care kit with tiny bottles of essential oil, and then use this diffuser to help permeate your favorite blends throughout a room. It operates on a three-hour cycle or intermittently throughout the day, and I just love how chic and sculptural it looks.

Sweetly Scented Hand Cream

As mentioned above, one way to calm yourself down is through your senses. Not only will the texture of this hydrating hand cream (it’s packed with softening sunflower seed oil) engage your sense of touch — but the lemon and ginger aroma will provide a refreshing and uplifting fragrance that can help ground you.

Sleep-Inducing Oil

Sometimes a quick nap in the middle of the day can be a great reset. If you have trouble sleeping, apply a few drops of this lavender-scented oil to your pillow to help promote more restorative sleep. It can also be applied directly on the skin for its hydrating, relaxing benefits.

A Calming Puzzle

Take a step back from the computer and television and distract your mind with a puzzle. Not only will it help you focus your thoughts elsewhere, but completing it will give you a satisfying mood boost. This one features a deliciously aesthetic image of cookies, cakes, and sweets. Once complete, use some puzzle glue to put your project together and hang it up for everyone to see. (Then add a new puzzle to your self-care kit!)

Cool Eye Masks

Let’s be real: crying is cool. Letting out all your emotions can be cathartic, after all. But it can of course result in telltale puffy eyes. Fortunately, these hydrogel eye patches can help you depuff in a jiff. They’re infused with cooling, calming ingredients that include cucumber and flower extracts. And at just $2, you can stock up. Cry away!

A Relaxing Bath Upgrade

If you can find it in yourself to get up and take a bath, toss in a slice of this indulgent bath slap. With the scent of green papayas and tropical mangoes, it smells so yum and will add some lovely colors to the warm water.

A Luxe Tea Blend

A warm beverage like tea can be super relaxing on those difficult days. Steep some of these tea leaves for a cup of vanilla black tea, dotted with cute lil edible hearts. Focus on the warm temperature of the tea or the cup in your hands to help keep you grounded during stressful moments.

A Silky, Slumber-Friendly Mask

Remember that getting a good night’s sleep is an act of self-care. This soft and silky sleep mask is available in pink, green, beige, and gray, so you can snag your fave shade. Made from woven eucalyptus silk, it shields your eyes from the sunlight in the morning and while allowing skin to breathe.

A Tension-Relieving Massager

Stress can sometimes cause physical tension. Relieve it with this handy precision massager that targets stiff and sore muscles with three intensity settings and up to 3,200 vibration pulses per minute. Its cordless, lightweight design makes it easy to store, and it comes with interchangeable massage heads for different muscle groups. All that for just under $100.

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