If you caught our last blog on why Self-care the best new medicine...you’ll recall I made you a promise. To build your own Self care tool box.
We talked about the importance of self-care. And I told you in this post we’d discuss how to build your own toolbox so you can really put self-care into practice.
What’s a self-care toolbox, you might be asking?
It’s an exercise I use with all my clients. We use it to help them find which self-care activities and actions will kickstart their self-care journey.
Your first self-care activity
Doing this is actually quite simple. Start by taking out a piece of paper and a pen.
1. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Brainstorm for the full three minutes on this:
I love to…
Reset your timer.
2. Brainstorm on this:
To relax, I like to…
Reset your timer one more time!
3. List as many things as you can under this:
Things that make me happy and/or feel good…
Take your time—this can be really challenging.
When I did this activity, I struggled to think of more than a few things. But what really helped me was thinking about my senses.
What I mean is, start by thinking of things that you love to smell, touch, hear, taste, and see.
For example, I love to hear the ocean waves, I love to watch a sunrise, I love the feel of my comfy PJ’s, and I love the smell of my “Home Sweet Home” Yankee Candle.
Now that you’ve spent some time thinking up some things you love, things that make you feel good and help you relax, let’s build your toolbox!
Ready? Set? Go!
Ideas for your self-care toolbox
Take a look at everything you’ve written in the lists above.
Circle all the things you are able to do in under five minutes.
This could include things like singing a song, playing with your dog, watching a short YouTube clip, dancing, snuggling with your significant other, or lighting a candle.
Next, highlight things you can do in under thirty minutes. A great example of this is journaling, which is an excellent way to boost your mood. Find out more here.
Now, put a star next to things you can do in about an hour, which could include some form of playful exercise or movement you enjoy.
Finally, double star or highlight in a different color the activities that take over an hour.
This can be a fun craft project if you like, or it can be very simple.
For those of you who want to make this a craft type project: One idea is to make four separate containers and label them however you want.
You can be as creative as you like. Maybe they would be labeled:
The quickie (under 5 minutes)
Time out (30)
Take 60 (under 60)
Or, if not, you can simply create yourself a four-box grid and label each box with one of the four different time frames and fill it in!
How to use your self-care toolbox
Now that you’ve crafted your literal self-care toolbox, it’s time to start utilizing it.
Here are some suggested guidelines for pulling self-care activities from your toolbox:
-Under five minutes box: Engage in these activities on a daily basis.
-Under thirty minute box: 3-5 times a week.
-One hour box: Engage in one activity weekly.
-Longest box: At least once a month.
This toolbox gives you permission to engage in activities you love and make you happy. It will also help you relax on a daily basis.
As you implement these activities regularly into your life, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This relaxation response decreases stress and increases calm and rest.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
I would love to see a picture or hear about your personal self-care toolbox and which self-care activities you included. Comment here!