How to Build a Self-Care Toolbox
Since the start of the pandemic, people have been talking about mental health more than ever. Self-care has also been of the frontlines of mainstream media in the past few years. But what is self-care and why is everyone talking about it?
Self-care has many different definitions and means different things to different people. I like to think of self-care as simply participating in activities that give you energy, not things that take away from your energy. This activity can be anything that allows you to experience a few moments of peace as you escape from reality. When it is over, you feel energized, de-stressed, and ready to get back to work. And the key to engaging in self-care is having a “toolbox” of activities to participate in. Having a robust set of tools can allow you to cope with a wide array of emotions. So if you experience various negative emotions at different times, how is using “one tool” going to fix it? Remember, the bigger the toolbox, the better.
So how do you start to build your toolbox for self-care? It is good to start with asking yourself what activities make you feel energized, happy, at peace, calm, and de-stressed. Then, create a list of these activities either on paper, on a computer or phone, or even in your head; and try your hardest to remember them when you are feeling all kinds of negative and draining emotions. The list can be as long as you want, if you are struggling to come up with activities, check out these examples below:
Play with your pet
Run around in a field or the woods
Read for fun
Call a friend or family member
Watch a comedy special
Cook a fun meal
The best part of the list is that it is not finite. You can always add things to it or take things off of it. As long as you can say that all of the activities on the list make you feel good, you are on the right track! Once you have a list and are feeling emotionally bothered, step back from life, and do what makes you feel good. Embrace it, and do it unapologetically. Self-care is something you should never apologize for. It is not selfish, and it is not conceited to take care of your emotional wellbeing. So start building your toolbox and getting in tune with your emotions. And always remember that if you want to give your best self to the world, you need to feel your best self.