I’ve had my reservations about the term self-care. It seems to be taking over the internet, forcing us to take regular bubble baths and spend a fortune in Lush products in order to maintain sanity and I’m really not feeling that way of life. Recently though, I looked bit deeper into the meaning of self-care and I had a bit of a revelation.

If you’re struggling to understand exactly what self-care is and how it should be practised, simply remove the first word and you’ll find a simpler way of looking at it. So remove the word ‘self’ from the equation, and reflect on the word ‘care’ for a moment.

What does the word ‘care’ mean to you? It makes me think of a hospital, or an old folks home. It conjures up images for good Samaritans giving out hot food to the homeless, or a mother caring for a newborn baby.

Care is all about taking steps to maintain heath, especially in those who are vulnerable. Self-care is all about applying this concept to yourself.

What does it mean to you?

Self-care is an individual thing. For you, it may very well be a bubble bath and I don’t want to take that away from you! But the reality is that it can vary greatly from person to person and change dependent on the situation.

Sometimes the time when you really need to take care of yourself is when you’re feeling at your absolute worst – maybe you’re physically exhausted or just mentally drained – and that’s when an emergency self-care box can really help

1.It’s like mental health insurance

When you’re feeling low, you might hear that nagging negative voice in the back of your mind that likes to tell you that your worthless. I get it quite regularly, and it has the potential to hinder your ability for self-care.

If you’ve taken the time to prepare a little box full of things that might make you feel better, it’s like having a box of bandages ready for when you cut yourself. It helps you heal faster.

2. It’s cheap

Are you prone to a bit of retail therapy when you feel crap? Good news then, because making this little box of self-care activities should theoretically distract you from your usual bad habits and replace them with warm and fuzzy feelings.


3. It’s creative

I’m a huge believer in creativity as a force for good in the world of well being, and the act of making your emergency self-care kit will be a project of this nature. It will give you a chance to explore the sides of your personality that come out when you feel low, and figure out how to soothe yourself through other activities.

4. It’s convenient

No more rummaging around for a face mask when you need a little pick-me-up, or building yourself up to visit the pharmacy for painkillers. Everything you need should be in your kit so that all you have to do it grab it and select what you need in that moment.


5. It’s fun to make

You can keep it simple and fill a shoe box with everything you need, or take it one step further and make it into an entire project. Go through magazines and find images and quotes that inspire you, then use them to decorate the box so that it fills you with joy whenever you look at it.

You could even ask friends and family to write positive notes that you can open up when you need them, and include photos and fragrances that evoke good memories.

6. It’s unique to you

There will be no other self-care box that meets your needs better than the one you make yourself. Fill it with your favourite smells, lotions, drinks, music and photographs to make sure that whenever you open it you feel totally at home.

7. It’s a thoughtful gift

Once you’ve mastered making one for yourself, why not try making a gift for a friend or family member? Again, this can be as creative as you like so you’re actually using it as a self-care activity for yourself too. Checking all the boxes!

My suggestions:

One of my mental health zines You Got This – both of which are filled with kind words and friendly advice on how to deal with down days.

Anything by Laura Talanti, it’s all really thoughtful and beautiful to look at

gifts for depression
These positive affirmation cards are a daily routine for me, but you could add some to your box for when you need some good vibes

Some sort of notebook, like this Five Minute Journal

What will you put in your self-care box?