How To Build Your Own Self Soothe Box
Want to build your own self soothe box but don’t know where to start? Then this is the blog post for you! However, before I delve into the ins and outs of creating your own, for those who may not be as familiar with the term, let’s briefly cover off what a Self Soothe Box actually is.
What Is A Self Soothe Box?
A box with many names. Also known as a mental health toolkit, crisis response box, hope box, happy box, or mental health first aid kit, a Self Soothe Box is a box full of tools and resources that may assist with symptoms of anxiety, panic, anger, or low mood, to help ground you and bring your focus back to the present moment.
A Self Soothe Box isn’t just for individuals with a diagnosed mental illness; having a Self Soothe Box on hand may be incredibly helpful to anyone who wants to focus on improving their mental health and wellness. Looking after your mind is just as important as looking after your body – I bet you have a first aid kit somewhere in your house, why not have something similar on hand for your mind?
How To Build Your Own Self Soothe Box
Well first off, you’ll need a box or container of some description to house your items. It can be any shape or size, as long as it is an appropriate size for your needs. If you’re unsure, a great starting point is a shoe box, but feel free to be as creative as you like. Some people like to personalize their Self Soothe Box by decorating it with drawings, photos, stickers etc. This box is for you, and should ideally be something that helps to inspire feelings of calm, positivity, and hope.
It's also worth noting that you don’t just have to use a box. Many individuals like to create a primary Self Soothe Box filled with resources to keep at home, and then a mini travel version to carry with you when you are out and about.
Once you have decided on your container of choice, it’s now time to start filling it!
What To Put In It?
I strongly believe that the components of a well-rounded Self Soothe Box include a wide variety of items that engage the five senses; touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound, as well as items that distract, promote mindfulness, and any additional resources as directed by your mental health care professional (if applicable).
If you are new to the concept of creating a Self Soothe Box, I highly recommend incorporating items from each of these categories, so that you can trial various tools and strategies until you are able to determine what works best for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some examples of items you might like to include, organized by category:
- Play doh.
- Massage ball and balm/oil.
- Heat bag.
- Bath salts.
- Worry stone.
- Stuffed toy.
- Stress ball.
- Thick, cosy socks.
- Sour lollies.
- Tea or coffee.
- Chewing gum.
- Popping candy.
- Liquid or sand timer.
- Photo album with pictures of loved ones.
- Eye mask.
- Notes and cards from loved ones.
- Newton’s cradle
- Ooze or glitter tube.
- Affirmation cards.
- Favourite quotes and sayings.
- Scented candle.
- Essential oils.
- Scratch and sniff stickers.
- Scented pouch.
- Noise cancelling ear plugs.
- USB full of calming music.
- Pop tube.
- White noise machine.
- Mini singing bowl.
- Brain teaser.
- Skipping rope.
- Handheld game.
- Fidget items.
- Ice cube tray.
- Notebook/journal and pen.
- Colouring book and pencils.
- Sudoku or other activity books.
- Gratitude jar.
- List of breathing exercises.
Professionally Directed Resources
- Crisis plan.
- Emergency contact numbers.
- Worksheets or cue cards from therapy.
- Back up medication.
- Other resources, as directed by your mental health care professional.
The most important thing to remember is that your Self Soothe Box should be specific to you and your individual needs. As you progress through your mental health and wellness journey, over time you may start to notice that you lean on one or two particular senses when feeling overwhelmed or find that perhaps the element of distraction is what helps you to regulate best, and that’s totally okay! Creating a Self Soothe Box is not a ‘one and done’ exercise, and will likely be something that you will continue to revisit on an ongoing basis.
Ready to get started? Build Your Own Self Soothe Box now!
Still not sure, or perhaps you’d just rather buy something that’s ready to go? Check out our Self Soothe Box Starter Kit, which has been carefully curated for those who are just starting out on their mental health and wellness journey.
I hope this helps you in some way. And if you do get started, don't forget to tag @selfsoothebox on instagram - I just love seeing your creations, and it can help inspire others too!