A self-care box is essentially a concentrated space filled only with things that will help you – whether you need to calm down, recharge, or pick yourself back up again. The idea of this box is to provide you with everything you need to get back on track during those times when it’s difficult to even comprehend self-care. Below Katie, shares what’s in her self-care box and offers some advice on how to put together your own self-care box. 

What is a self-care box?

What’s so great about self-care boxes? Well I find they’re helpful when I’m feeling depressed, dealing with psychosis, or I’m nearing, or in, crisis. A self-care box can be soothing, and make you feel safe and secure. Adding sensory items – items you can touch, smell, or listen to, can help you focus on something in the here and now – that aren’t the negative or intrusive thoughts you're experiencing. Focusing on the sensations can distract you, and help ground you in reality.


Take a look inside what’s inside my self-care box:

  • Fluffy socks – they make me feel secure.
  • Scented candle and an aromatherapy roll-on – these help me focus on something sensory.
  • My favourite book and movie – to remind me of good memories, and that I can and will enjoy things again.
  • My favourite music – something I can listen to that distracts me from negative thoughts.
  • Something to cuddle; a plushie or lavender cushion I can warm up – these help me sleep, help me feel safe and secure, and are useful if I’m alone.
  • Helpline numbers and services, like my local crisis team – having these all in one safe place means they’re easier to find during a crisis, when I might not be thinking clearly.


What should you include in your own self-care box?

  • First off, it’s a good idea to put together a self-care box before you reach a crisis. Then it's to hand when you really need it; and you might not be in the right headspace to make one when you're struggling.
  • Keep it in an accessible place, so you can remember where it is if you’re feeling forgetful, and so it's easy to just get out and open.
  • Let the people you live with, or trusted friends and family, know that you have a self-care box, and where you keep it. They can remind you it's there, and even bring it to you as a suggestion that could help. If you have a mental health team, you could also let them know.
  • Include items that you remember have helped you in the past. Think back and make a list of what helped, and what you wish you’d had for comfort. It might help to include items that remind you of what there is to look forward to in your life. Add photos of who you love and appreciate, and reminders of what you're passionate about.
  • Ask someone to help you put one together. They may have insight into what helps you, through what they've noticed when you’ve been unwell in the past. We all find different items comforting, so yours could look very different to mine!
  • Make a list of what helps you, and think about how you could incorporate them into a self-care box.


My advice to you, if you’re wanting to put together your own self-care box, is see your self-care box as another strategy to help you when you’re unwell – or something that keeps all your helpful tools and strategies in one easy to access place.

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