Try a self-care tool box - Counseling & Therapy Services - The Juniper Center

By: Kristy L. Combs

Are you stuck in a rut? Do ordinary, day-to-day tasks feel overwhelming? Are your self-critics getting more airtime in your mind than self-compassion?

How would you like to break the routine, focus on the here and now, and quiet the critic?  Novelty or new experiences actually begin to create new neural pathways in your brain. One easy way to harness some newness is to create an actual, tangible box of ideas and challenge yourself to complete at least one item in the box per week (or more as needed for those extra challenging days!).

You will need these basic supplies. You likely already have everything you need in your living space. Otherwise, head to your local dollar store, Target, or ask your neighbor…(Your creativity and personal stamps are welcomed AND encouraged!)

  • Something to write on: Strips of paper, index cards, craft sticks, napkins…
  • Something to write with: pen, pencil, marker, inkwell and quill…you get the idea J
  • Something to hold your writings: Large vase, mixing bowl, small box, recycled jar, shoebox…

Start brainstorming! Write each idea/task/directive on one of your pieces of paper. You may want to count out 52 pieces so you have one per week for a whole year. If that feels like too many, start with 10. (Always remind yourself that if you are feeling overwhelmed, than break it down into smaller, more bite-sized pieces)

Each written idea goes into your container. Mix them up! Surprise yourself each week by choosing a piece of paper or craft stick from your jar and commit to completing whatever is on your card. You can start every Saturday morning by drawing a card. Or maybe you need extra self-love on Monday mornings! To surprise yourself even more, find a friend, co-worker, or loved one to write a few ideas down for you or ask what their favorite ways to care for themselves are. (This can be a great conversation starter, too!)

Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Take a scenic nature walk and listen for different birds * Play your favorite board game * Go to a local farmer’s market and buy 3 ripe pieces of fruit—Enjoy! * Write yourself a love note * Ride a bike * Peruse a bookstore or local library * Make a small aesthetically pleasing change to a living space (flowers in a vase, new photograph in frame, etc.) * Do something for someone in need * Plan a trip (even if you don’t go on it) * Sing yourself a lullaby * Jump rope * Read poetry * Jot down an inspiring quote or lyric and hang it on your bathroom mirror * Buy your favorite candy bar * Bubble bath * Send yourself flowers * Make someone a card for no reason and mail it to them

Remember as you are enjoying each of your gifts to yourself, put down the gadgets and turn up your senses. LOOK. LISTEN. FEEL (internally and externally). TASTE. SMELL.

Taking care of ourselves is not often a daily priority and we get run down, overwhelmed, burned out or worse. You are a unique, valuable human being who deserves to be cared for. Start today!



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