Let’s be honest! Life on earth is chaotic, and you aren’t a self-sufficient alien who ought to make yourself believe that you do not require or is unworthy of any sort of a ‘me and my mental health nourishment time!’ Apart from memes, we really need to find a solution towards keeping us feeling less unhappy through life’s ups and downs!
How about building your own little world of joy – a comfort box? It is an act of self-help and also a self-soothing technique so that you can have a safe place of your own to fall back to whenever you come across a trigger or when you feel the need to distract yourself by engaging in any kind of soulful activities of your liking to feel a bit better from within.
Self-care is totally different from self-help. Although several aspects of self-care may fall under the umbrella of self-help, it is necessary that you get a deeper understanding of what self-help means. Self-help refers to an act or instance of using your own time, effort, energy, or all of your available internal and external resources to achieve your goals and dreams or for the sake of bettering yourself without assistance, complete support, or help from others.
You might have often come across the saying that you should be your own hero. Why? Oh! Honey, it is because everybody else is busy trying to save themselves. So, why not stop waiting for a miracle to happen to fix your depleting mental health and take accountability for what and why you are feeling the way you are feeling, and be your own social worker to fix that little soul of yours!
Just grab that red cape and mask and slide down to your secret laboratory (okay, I am not going to lie! I do watch a lot of cartoons!) to make your own little comfort box! But hey, are you confused about what exactly a self-soothe box is and why it would be grand if you had one in hand for no reason at all?
Well, any person can make and own a comfort box. Why does your car or home always have a first aid kit in handy? It is because we give priority to our physical health, and when it comes to our mental health, we be like ‘‘bisshh, we ain’t got no time for that kinda negativity!’’. I just want people to stop thinking like that; mental health is vital, for your mind and brain is a powerful tool you have in your body, so please take care of it ❤
A comfort box is a mental health first aid kit for the boo-boos in your heart and soul. It can be a container or kit where you can store an assortment of cherished stuffs or goodies that will assist and help you when you deal with stress, any kinds of emotional pain, seasonal blues, mood swings or triggers and the like.
A comfort box can be your secret box of joy that helps you find happiness in the little things that life has to offer. Through that process, it will act as a way to remind you of those positive people, feelings, actions, memories, and places that would make you feel safe and comfortable in your world of chaos and woes.
So, now that you know what a comfort box is, let’s move onto the actual process of making or curating a comfort/self-soothe or an anti-stress box-
Things You Will Need:
- A sturdy cardboard box or a cute container/kit (make sure that it makes you feel elated when you see it).
- Some energy and willpower to keep your phone aside and get up from your couch/bed to put this into action (after reading this article, of course!).
- Some effort in rummaging through your room/house/a store to collect different goodies that would spark joy in you when you touch, smell, hear, taste or see it (Obviously, don’t put your cat inside the box!! I am sure you are good at this!!!).
A little side note: What I seek happiness from would not be the same stuff from which you may seek happiness; we are all unique and weird in our own way. Even then, I will give you an idea of the stuffs that you can tuck into your comfort box. You can use this as an inspiration to make one of your own!
Goodies You Can Throw In Your Comfort Box
A Greeting Card
These days, online greeting cards or gifs are the norms and I personally feel bad about it because there is nothing more wholesome than receiving real, physical cards from loved ones. I have a stack of some, and though you don’t want to put a whole stack in your comfort box (because we don’t want it to be cluttered and obviously, space issues!), I would recommend keeping a small, cute card that has some touching, encouraging or kind words that has been written about you by that loved one. This would always remind you that someone out there is rooting for you and that you are loved.
Adult Coloring Book
A little bit of art therapy won’t hurt! I am a huge sucker for all things artsy, and even if you are not much into art, I urge you to try an adult coloring book at least once in your lifetime. It is a big-time stress buster (from my own experience, trust me!), and it makes you feel calm and peaceful from the inside. I have recommended it to several of my friends, who have also found it to be beneficial. The adult coloring book that I possess is a portable version, and its size is what makes it so cute! Even better is the fact that it has a quote on each page, and it is definitely a ‘go-to’ when you feel like your mental health is slipping away or when you want to awaken the dead artist in you.
This is a no-brainer! You can’t fill in your adult coloring book with your blood or sweat! (I seriously need to stop with the sarcasm and remind myself that this is a positive mental health blog!) I use colored pencils because the artworks in my coloring book are intricate but hey, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to coloring. Dump those colored pencils/crayons/sketch pens/water colors/paint into your comfort box. Go all out with colors, do whatever you want with it, and paint the sky green and the water orange. Create a world of your own for yourself. Colors immediately make a human being happy; Psychology has often proven this. It is often said that coloring as an adult brings back our old, happy childhood memories where we used to hold crayons or paint tubes with our teeny-tiny hands and scribble away in an unbothered manner, and not feel cautious or concerned about the end result. So, kindle the inner child in you and splash some color into your black and white life!
Stuffed Toy / Plushie
It’s not just girls who can have stuffed toys or plushies in their bedroom because it is considered to be ‘girly’ and ‘feminine’ because ‘society said so’ *eye roll*. Everyone deserves a cute, adorable, and soft plushie/cushion/soft toy that they can hug and talk to (not cheesy or cringey at all). You know why? First off, they are better listeners than most people, and they won’t judge you nor patronize you for being yourself, and they are free (Psychiatrists are expensive!). But jokes apart, the bonus part is that they are ridiculously soft! Name them, if you really want to go the extra mile! Personally, I don’t do all that, but I do have plushies and soft toys because touching them (don’t take the wrong meaning!) and looking at them makes me feel happy. What about you?
This is something you can tuck in your comfort box to remind yourself to get sufficient, restorative sleep that wouldn’t make you feel more tired but instead, would make you feel rejuvenated! I have a really cute and fluffy one, and I love touching it (yeah, I am weird). Sleep is important but sleeping to escape reality isn’t. So, try to maintain a healthy sleep-wake schedule as it plays a significant role in relation to our mental health.
Stickers / Craft Items
Alright, guys, I have something to confess. I have an addiction. I am addicted to stickers. Stickers are my thang! I don’t know, just looking at it makes me happy, and I have a not-so-bad sticker collection as well. I am the kind of person who enjoys long walks to the love of my life – stationery shops! If you find me in a stationery shop, I’ll be by the sticker section, drooling over some 3D puffy stickers like a 5-year-old! Similarly, you can dump some craft items like cute washi tapes, glitter, foam sheets, craft papers, ribbons, artificial flowers, etc., to remind and inspire yourself to do something creative. So, get all crafty! Your craft need not be perfect like what you see in YouTube videos. It is okay to fail and end up making something sloppy because you should enjoy the process and allow yourself to feel happy by just engaging in activities that you love doing.
This is something I vouch for. Journaling is therapeutic. It helps you explore your mind and gives you a space of your own to let yourself run freely with your wild thoughts in mind. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or any other kind of psychological disorders, or if you are feeling low and want to recharge your mental health, journaling is the go-to option! If you are someone who doesn’t like the idea of writing down your thoughts, you can always maintain a junk journal or an art journal and make it your own secret escape. If you ask me, I like journals that look cute. I often find myself unable to write when my journal doesn’t spark any joy in my mind; I don’t like bland-looking journals or diaries. I prefer something cuter which fits my aesthetic. So, go find a journal that fits your aesthetic which would maybe motivate you to start journaling rather than watching aesthetically cute journaling videos online! Oh! And, also don’t forget to paste your stickers in there too!!
A Memorable Item
It could be anything ranging from a keychain to a book or a matching t-shirt with your BFF! I have a mini ice cream cone keychain which I bought for my friend and me. Both are of different colors, and whenever I see that, I can remind myself of the fact that I always have a friend with whom I share matching stuffs with and have had a fun time with because whenever you feel low, you tend to think negatively. So, it is essential to keep such stuffs around you or your workspace to remind yourself that you are loved and that you are capable of making and establishing strong relationships or friendships in your life! Ward off those negative thoughts and take time to count your blessings!
Random Cute Things That Make You Happy
This would differ from person to person. I am a massive fan of all things tiny and cute, and hence I have a lot of knick-knacks laying around the house, and not going to lie, looking at those stuffs fills me with joy. I have tucked in a red-colored heart-shaped, sequin keychain (yeah, I do adore key chains too). It is one of that reversible sequin fabric, and I love playing with it. Similarly, you can keep something like that in your comfort box. It is your box, and you have the full liberty to place whatever you love in it as long as the stuffs don’t get stale (like certain eatables, for example).
Hand cream / Body Lotion
A little bit of self-care won’t hurt. But more than self-care, body creams and perfumes can be neatly thrown into your self-soothe box as they can stimulate your sense of touch and smell. I love keeping a fragranced body cream/perfume/mist as an olfactory stimulator. It will help in elevating your mood. Different fragrances positively stimulate different people. So, find a fragrance that reminds you of good memories or one that simply calms you down and puts you in a good mood as soon as you smell it! Mine is in an attractive tube that reminds me of sunshine and glitter! and even when I look at it, my mind automatically feels good.
An Item That You Cherish
Again, this would be different for you and me. I have kept a bracelet that my sister picked up from the dollar store. I am sure that I am not going to wear it as it is really pretty (I am not advocating the fact that you should store pretty things and not use them because you only have one life and you better use all that you have for we do not know what awaits us tomorrow!). But this is one item which I would keep aside from daily use. I just like looking at it as it is special to me because it is a gift from a loved one! So yeah, go ahead and find an item that you cherish the most, which would bring a smile onto your face!
A Letter That Someone Special Wrote To You
I have kept a letter that my mom gave me on one of my birthdays (I’ve blurred it out for obvious reasons, sorry!). It is filled with words of encouragement and adoration and reading it would instantly remind me of the fact that I am loved and that I have a loving family. If you don’t have a letter of that kind which may be written to you by your friend, mentor, partner, etc., then you can always write a love letter to yourself and tuck it in safely in your comfort box. It would be heart-warming to read that later on, trust me! Another idea is that, since most people now converse through text messages, you can curate an album in your gallery where you have screenshots of such conversations or of long text messages that you would look forward to reading again and again. Since screenshots are not given much importance in this digital era, you can always take a printout of those and store them in your comfort box. Let me know how that idea materializes!
Fluffy, Soft Items
Now, I have placed a cute, fluffy pouch that my best friend gifted me on my birthday. Looking at it would remind me of her and touching and playing with the softness of it would make me feel comfortable and happy (we are all weird, don’t judge!). Plus, keeping a cute pouch would allow you to store several other items in it such as sketch pens, makeup, candies, tattoos, some cool collections or collectables of yours, etc., (for example, your hot wheels cars, Pokémon card collection and the like which can remind you of the good old times you had in your childhood!).
Scented Candles And Cute Candle Holders
Aromatherapy is not a joke, I swear! Beautifully scented candles can change your world of self-care and self-soothing mechanisms. I have one in the scent ‘piña colada’ and it smells amazing!! Place the candle in a cute candle holder and you are good to go. It can instantly elevate your mood. Apply some face mask and pour yourself a glass of wine or apple juice and listen to some soothing and relaxing music and damn! I don’t even want to begin to explain that vibe! The smell of scented candles invigorates that part of your mind which is associated with memory and mood. From boosting energy to calming your mind, it ultimately helps in improving your mental state and health. The therapeutic aroma coming from a scented flame can produce positive psychological effects. So, grab your candle and set the mood!
Lip Balm / Skincare Items
I have secured a lip butter in my comfort box because I don’t know about you but I have this habit of picking the skin on my lips and so a lip-butter would remind me to take my hands off my lips!! (it sounds pretty weird now that I wrote it down, haha! ) You can place a lip balm or any skincare related item to remind yourself to take care of your body and do some self-care activities connected to it!
LED / Fairy Lights
Time for the cherry on top! Okay…now, this might be a bit weird because who stuffs a small string of fairy lights into a box so that they can take it out when they feel low and switch it on and smile like an idiot or even worse! wrap it around their body and do a photo-shoot? ME! Yeah, you read that right! Well, it is YOUR mental health and do the things that make YOU happy without demolishing or destroying or harming others, of course! Lights automatically stimulate my brain and make me happy even though I love dark places and hate sunlight (Yeah, I told you, I am weird!). It is scientifically proven that LED lights affect our mood and productivity and it just makes people happier in general, without them even realizing it! So, go for it and throw some sunshine in your little comfort box!
This is how the final output looks like! It is my little box of joy. I have taken a box from Bath and Body Works because from the outside, it looks like a plain, sturdy cardboard box and on the inside, it has this blue and white gingham print going on, which is pretty cute! You can always get creative with it and use charts and craft papers to personalize and beautify your cardboard box. You can also try storing all these in a wooden / trunk box. The possibilities are limitless, just do whatever you enjoy doing!
Lastly, store this box in a place that is easily accessible and free from destruction (you don’t want your little sibling to open it and consider it their free playground!).
I Hope you got some inspiration from here for curating your ‘Anti-stress / Self-soothe / Comfort box’. So what are you waiting for? Get up and make yourself a mental health kit to unwind yourself and take a chill pill so that you can nourish your soul!
P.S, don’t forget to show me the end result of your comfort box!
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