As a sufferer of multiple mental health illnesses, I have tried many coping mechanisms and distractions. I personally think that what works the best for me might not work in the same way for you, but in the chance that it does, I want to share with you how to make your own Self Soothe Box.
A Self Soothe Box is something that I was uncertain of at first. It was described to me as a ‘safe place’ that contained things to help me cope with staying safe and positive. At the time I thought that nothing helped me so I would practically have an empty box. Though with time and as I thought more about it, there were a lot of things that had the potential to help me, and I learnt that I was worthy of helping myself and using this as a way of coping when I am feeling negatively.
I bought my box from a local art and crafts shop for £2.50 and over time began to fill it with small items that helped me in different emotional states. One year on, my box is overflowing and I have a limitless amount of support made by and for myself.
Here are some of the things that you could put in your own Self Soothe Box:
Notes from a Friend or Family Member
Felt Tip Pen
Mini Mindful Colouring Pad
Small Writing Pad
Ribbon and Textiles
-Guatemalan Worry Doll
Feather or Soft Brush
A Small Jar of Spices
Scratch and Sniff Stickers
Hot Chocolate Sachet
Gum and Mints
It is important to cater for the majority of emotions that you feel; therefore your box can help you in multiple situations. By including at least one item that appeals to each of the senses, it is likely that you are covered! Most of the items in my box are small and transportable. Therefore I can always keep the box with me and have the safety of having things close to me that I know help in tricky situations. If you can’t bring your box with you then you can still take a couple of things from it that will support you in your day.
The Little Box Of Distractions
In 2016 I was kindly gifted with a ‘Little Box Of Distractions’. The Little Box Of Distractions is a project made by Kerry and Shelley Elliot. Since 2015, they have been making boxes filled with items to help sufferers of mental health and very kindly sending them for free. When I received one of their boxes it really motivated me to begin to help myself when I felt that I was underserving of recovery. I got the chance to talk to Kerry about The Little Box Of Distractions.
Casey: Hi Kerry! Who or what would you say has had the biggest influence on you to create such a kind project?
Kerry: I have tried so many different therapies that have been flung at me. I was willing to do anything to make me better. Most services suggested I make a “self-care box”. I realised that when phoning the crisis team they would always say “take a bath, read a book, make a hot drink” etc. so I decided to make up a box that people could try before phoning the crisis team, so that they can say they had already tried their suggestions. I decided to use my own benefit money to make 10 boxes to start with. I thought “if I help 10 people that would be amazing” when those boxes were gone people started donating and I made 10 more. Before I knew it I had helped 50 people and I was getting regular donations from my local council and participation budgets. 2 years down the road, we are a registered charity and have helped over 700 people.
Casey: I really respect your determination to get better and recover! Well done for being so strong. It must be such a wonderful feeling to know that you have helped so many individuals. What are you hoping for The Little Box Of Distractions to achieve in the next 2 years?
Kerry: I am hoping to continue to help people. Hold good fundraisers and to do talks on self harm etc. within schools and workplaces. We want to provide as many charities, organisations and schools with boxes which they can allocate to people who may need them.
Casey: That’s wonderful! I wish you the best of luck with your fundraising! Is there any advice that you would give to anyone that is struggling right now in terms of their mental health?
Kerry: If you can’t manage one day at a time, try one hour at a time or a minute at a time. It’s one more minute you have got through it.
Do you have a Self Soothe Box? Let me know in the comments what is in yours!
Love Casey x