A way to create a sense of calm when things feel overwhelming

Have you ever heard of a self-soothing kit? Or, how about this: have you ever dealt with strong feelings of sadness, fear, or anxiety and wondered what to do about it? When we experience intense emotion(s) it can be hard to think of what we need or what might soothe us. This is where a self-soothing kit can be really helpful.

Think of a self-soothing kit as a First-Aid Kit for your mental health. Instead of bandages, gauze, and ibuprofen you will include in it things that engage your senses, bring you into the present moment, and ease your distress. You can make it a physical kit by gathering items and placing them in some kind of container, or you can put together a list of items to reference when needed. The five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste – will guide you in what to put in your self-soothing kit. Below are some ideas you can use as inspiration. Reminder: a self-soothing kit is for any and all ages.

Sight – Photographs of loved one(s), a favourite pet, or a place where you feel safe. Alternatively, you can include materials like pencil crayons or paints to make something that is visually soothing.

Sound – Create a calming playlist and make a note to listen to it. Remind yourself to check out a guided meditation online. Write down some positive affirmations or encouraging messages that you can read aloud to yourself.

Smell – Incense sticks, essential oils, scented lotion or spray, a small jar of spices like cinnamon, cloves, or lavender leaves.

Touch – Stress ball, play dough, slime, a favourite stuffed animal, a smooth rock, or a cozy blanket.

Taste – Chocolate, tea bags, mints, or gum.

You can also make the process of coming up with ideas and gathering items a joyful act by putting on some pleasant music and setting aside alone time for yourself or inviting friends or family to join you, whichever you prefer.