I’ve been working on my own Self Care long enough now (four-ish months – woo!) that I have certain things that I know will make me feel better when I start to feel resentful or overwhelmed or just generally pissed off at the world. I turn to these things to soothe me, comfort me, or relax me which in turn makes me less scary to be around which benefits my family because as the saying goes, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I keep in my “toolkit” – no it’s not an actually toolkit, although you could probably make one, but these are the things I keep in mind or reach for first when I need to bring the emotion down a few notches.
- My fluffy robe. I got this robe for Christmas and it’s already one of my favorite things. It’s as soft as a baby bunny and when I slip it on, it’s like slipping into a hug. It feels luxurious and comforting and I would wear it to work were it not deemed socially irresponsible to do so.
- A cup of hot beverage. Most of the time it’s hot tea, sometimes it’s hot cocoa, someday it might be a hot toddy (side note: I’ve never had a hot toddy, but doesn’t hot buttered rum sound nice on a cold winter’s night??), and holding a steaming mug in my hands brings me right into the moment and helps distract me from whatever is bothering me for just a little while.
- Music, specifically classical or instrumental music. Just like Frankenstein’s monster, my savage beast is tamed with music. There is a classical music radio station I like to listen to when I’m driving if I’ve had a frazzled day, and this CD that was sent to me a few years ago by a dear friend (thanks Laura!!) is something I treasure – it instantly makes me feel better every time I listen to it.
- A nice scented hand lotion. My hands are always dry and having a nice lotion is a must. The act of smoothing on the lotion and inhaling the scent is also a good way to distract from whatever is annoying me at the moment. I use a lot of lotion at work, not surprisingly!
- Therapy notes from my sessions with Emily. Sometimes I can go back and re-read notes I’ve taken and realize that I have come a long way and there are ways to feel better and I can use them to my advantage.
- My husband. Sometimes he’s the reason I’m ticked off, but more often than not, he’s a great resource for me. You may be surprised to learn that I’m not very talkative at home – I keep a lot of things inside (yet I have no problem spilling it all here on this blog – go figure) but when I do finally open up to him and tell him what’s bothering me, I always feel so much better afterwards. Sometimes I forget that he doesn’t mind shouldering my burdens with me.
- My BFF, Dinah. When I need a shot of reality or when I need someone to tell me how great I am, I call her. An hour on the phone with her lifts my spirits in a way that nothing else does. Sometimes you just need to hear your best girlfriend’s voice to make it all better.
- A walk in my favorite park. Being outside in a beautiful setting is soothing and the walk is good for my blood pressure too.
- Either Lindt 70% Smooth Dark Chocolate or Godiva’s Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt. Because chocolate.
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are other things I’m not remembering or haven’t discovered yet, but you get the general idea. For a long time, I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to stay in a resentful, angry, pissy mood; I didn’t know I had the power to change my emotions. Using these tools helps me change my mood so that I can think clearly and wisely.
Do you have a self care emergency toolkit? What do you do when you are frustrated/resentful/overwhelmed with life?