INSIDE: Worry that you’ll let your self-care slip if life gets tough? Well, it won’t with a self-care toolkit! In this post, I’m sharing how to create one plus the 3 essential must-haves that’ll stop your self-care from falling to the wayside when you need it most.
The importance of self-care…
We all know how important self-care is. And that we should be doing what we can to incorporate self-care activities into our day. But when life gets tough, focusing on anything but the bare minimum can be hard. And during those times, when we’re doing all we can to keep our head above water, one of the first things to fall to the wayside is our self-care.
Which is silly because those tough times are when we need it the most.
So how do we stop our self-care from slipping through the cracks? How do we make sure we take care of ourselves during those times when we need that touch of self-love more than ever?
By having a self-care toolkit.
If you’ve never heard of the term self-care toolkit before or you’ve thought you should do something to help you look after number one when times are hard but never really known what then keep reading. Because by the time you’ve finished reading this post, you’ll know exactly how to create your very own self-care toolkit and what to put in your self-care toolbox. And it’s not what you might think! Let’s dive in!
What is a self-care toolkit?
Think of your self-care toolkit as a collection of tools, tricks and resources up your sleeve that you bring out to play whenever you’re having a tough time. Helping to keep your stress levels low, the contents of your self-care toolkit ensure that you continue to make your wellbeing a priority – no matter how hard life might be at the time.
Whether you’re having personal difficulties, health problems, relationship issues or problems at work, your self-care toolkit will help you get through. Kind of like a silent best friend, knowing it’s there ready and waiting for you whenever you need it most will make even the toughest of days easier to get through.
What should you put in your self-care toolkit?
Whenever I mention the self-care toolkit to someone for the first time, the first thing that comes to mind is a box filled with at-home spa supplies. And whilst you can indeed do that (and I’ll be talking more about that in a minute), a pamper kit is just one element of the self-care toolkit.
There’s so much more to it than that.
What you put in your self-care kit is entirely up to you. But if you’re creating one for the first time, there are three things that should definitely be added to your self-care armoury. Three things that I have in mine and three things that every good self-care toolkit should have. Want to know what they are?
- A list of self-care activities to fall back on (aka your self-care back-up plan).
- A self-care pamper kit, and
- A network of people you can trust.
Let’s take a look at each one in turn.
Self-care toolkit item #1: The self-care back-up plan.
The first essential element of the self-care toolkit is the self-care back-up plan. We might have a self-care routine and self-care activities that we like to do. But when life gets complicated and our usual routines go out the window, it can be hard to follow our normal self-care routine. We might not have time to go to the gym or spend a whole Sunday afternoon prepping our meals.
And that’s where the self-care back-up plan comes in.
The self-care back-up plan is a list of five or six activities that help us to take care of our wellbeing when we’re not able to follow our usual routine. A list of activities that we can incorporate into our day to help us get through the most stressful periods of our life without having to think too much about it.
Here’s what’s on my self-care back-up plan…
- Drink more water.
- Drink peppermint tea instead of coffee (or switch to decaf).
- Follow the 7 Days of Calm meditation series on my Calm app.
- Go for a walk.
- Read for 20 minutes before bed, and
- Go to bed one hour earlier.
None of these things are particularly complicated or fancy but I find them essential if I’m to stay calm and keeping my stress levels low.
This was especially true when I was going through chemotherapy back in 2016. I didn’t always have the energy to go for a walk but I did drink as much water as I could. And every afternoon I would use the Calm app on my phone to zone out before having my afternoon sleep. These activities kept me going during those hard months and they’ve stayed on my back-up plan ever since.
What will you include on yours?
Make a note of the activities you can incorporate into your day when you’re unable to follow your usual self-care routine. Be sure to keep it somewhere safe. Record it on your phone or add it to your diary or journal. If it helps, use a habit tracker so that you can keep track of your progress.
Self-care toolkit item #2: The self-care pamper kit.
One of my favourite parts of my self-care toolkit is my self-care pamper kit. A cute, pretty box that I keep in my wardrobe, it’s full of all the things I use whenever I want to indulge in a little ‘me-time’. No matter how stressed or burned out I might be feeling, being able to reach for this little self-care package makes all the difference. It makes me feel thoroughly spoiled! In it, I have:
- My favourite brand of bubble bath, Coconut Island by Treacle Moon. It smells SO good!
- Bath salts.
- A face mask – I really like the clay and charcoal ones.
- Coconut body butter (also from Treacle Moon).
- A pair of headphones.
- My journal and a pen.
- Some herbal tea – Teapigs’ chocolate and mint tea is one of my favourites.
- My Enchanted Forest colouring book by Johanna Basford.
- A chocolate slab from Hotel Chocolat.
Don’t already have a self-care pamper kit?
Go create one! Not only is it a lot of fun but just opening it makes you feel pampered and spoiled! It’s a great way to very quickly lift your mood. Get yourself a pretty little box and start adding things to it. Then be sure to get it out whenever you need a little pick-me-up.
Self-care toolkit item #3: Your circle of trust.
The last item every self-care toolkit should have is a network of people you trust. Why? Because when times are stressful and difficult, it can be hard to stay positive and keep going. Having a few close friends that have your back can help you to keep pushing through.
Admitting we’re struggling isn’t always easy…
We all need people we can rely on, that we can reach out to. But asking for help when we’re struggling isn’t always easy. Admitting that we’re experiencing a difficulty can be hard. So, reach out to a few trusted friends and family members now. Talk to them about your self-care toolkit, how it helps you and how you would appreciate them giving you a nudge if they notice you’re not taking as good a care of yourself as you should be.
We might think we’re doing okay when we have a lot on our plate. That we’re coping. But chances are we aren’t. And because it can be hard to spot when we’re on a slippery slope, having someone that knows us looking out for us really can make all the difference.
Taking steps to plan now can make maintaining your self-care routine easier in the future. Always remember it’s during the hardest times that you need to nurture yourself the most. And when you have something like a self-care toolkit to fall back on, life becomes a whole lot easier to manage. Which makes life a lot less stressful and much more enjoyable!
That’s it for this post! Do you have your own self-care toolkit? Has this post encouraged you to create one? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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Did you like this post? Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this 7 Days to Better Self-Care series:
- Simple Ways to Treat Yourself Today
- How to Easily Add a Self-Care Routine to Your Day
- Three Surprisingly Easy Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself
- Five of the Best Cheap and Easy Self-Care Ideas
- Self-Care isn’t Selfish – Why You Should Never Feel Guilty About Putting Yourself First
- How to Put Yourself First Every Single Day