What To Put In A Self-Soothing Kit | It's Me Laura Lee

August 22, 2019

What To Put In A Self-Soothing Kit

I have a self-soothing kit.  Actually, I have two.  One lives in the house and one lives in the car.

What’s a self-soothing kit?  Why do I have one?  And what goes in one?

A self-soothing kit is used for distress tolerance.  More jargon, right?

DISTRESS TOLERANCE

Distress tolerance is your ability to tolerate the frustrations in your life without engaging in behavior that could be destructive – whether that behavior is destructive to yourself or to someone else.

There are many ways to modulate your frustrations.  Napping is one of them.  In this study, nappers who took a 60-minute nap were less impulsive.   I’m a napper.  Like an everyday napper.  Don’t take away my naps.  Like really.  Don’t do it.

Observing your breathing is another distress tolerance skill.  There are many different breathing exercises.  The one that I first learned from my therapist is called four-square.  Breathe in for a count of four…hold for a count of four…breathe out for a count of four…hold for a count of four. Repeat.  Another therapist recommended seven-eleven.  Breathe in for a count of seven and exhale for a count of eleven.  There are many others.  Find the one that works for you and practice when you’re not in distress so that when you are in distress it comes naturally.  When I start having a panic attack, I find that I’m automatically going into four-square breathing.  And, sometimes, the panic attack is triggered because I was holding my breath.

 

WHAT IS A SELF-SOOTHING KIT?

 

A self-soothing kit is just what it sounds like.  It’s a kit that has items in it that will soothe you when you’re having a hard time, having an all-around bad day, or dealing with a lot of stress.  The purpose of a self-soothing kit is to provide you with comfort and encouragement, to help you get grounded and stay grounded, and to distract you from the current problems or from the things that are causing you distress.

Ideally, a self-soothing kit will have at least one item from each of the 5 senses.  Here's an example of each:

Sight – a photo

Sound – music

Smell – essential oil

Touch – worry stone

Taste – sour candy

You can make a portable kit to keep in your car – use a small backpack, bag, plastic container, etc., and place it in your trunk or glove box.  You can also make a kit and place in a small bag to place in your purse.  You can create a larger kit for your home – use a box, a cedar chest, a larger storage container, etc.  Place it where it’s easily accessible.

 

The self-soothing kit is great for adults and children alike, but it’s often hard to think of what to place in the kit.  So, be sure to download the PDF of 65+ ideas to place in your kit.

A coloring book from Color Joy is a great way to distract yourself and perfect for a self-soothing kit!

Make sure that the things you put in your kit are effective.  So, for example, chocolate is on the list.  If you know you always overeat chocolate – you probably don’t want to put it in the kit because it will cause additional problems.

 

 

The comments +

  1. […] long walks to clear your head and get dopamine flowing through your system, and putting together a self-soothing kit.…self-care can help you manage powerful […]

  2. Holly says:

    Laura Lee, this is a wonderful idea! I always have essential oils..lavender and peppermint with me but to make a kit.. I love this! Great gift idea too!

  3. Tricia Snow says:

    A kit is wonderful idea. Thanks for the tips!

  4. Maggie says:

    Your kit idea is fabulous. I think I need one for every room of the house as well as my office and car!

  5. I love this idea. I am going to make one up tomorow.

  6. Great idea! I may make these up for my girls, who have anxiety.

  7. Chelsea says:

    I love this! I have a self-soothing kit in my night stand. I have a lavender eye mask, lavender pillow spray, my pocket cross (that’s like a worry stone), and a couple of relaxing books. But as someone who suffers from anxiety, PTSD and depression, I have to have easy access to items that soothe me. I call them tools in my tool belt. 😉

  8. Lisa Manderino says:

    Great idea to have a kit like this! Whatever helps the anxiety of life!

  9. Great suggestions! I’m going to have my daughters pack some “soothing” items into their dance bags to have on competition day.

  10. Cindy Mailhot says:

    I used to make these with my therapy clients all the time.

  11. This is an interesting idea.

  12. Sara says:

    Oooh I have some kids that would greatly benefit from having one of these in the car. Great idea.

  13. Barbara says:

    Great ideas and something to think about!

  14. Cas says:

    What a great idea! Sounds like I should make one for myself!

  15. Amy says:

    I think this will is a great list I can use for stocking stuffers and gift exchange ideas this holiday season with my girlfriends. The sour candies are a must for me!!

  16. Leeandra says:

    Great list for self soothing items.

  17. Marianne says:

    I’m most definitely a napper!!! Lol! I’m a shift worker… sometimes starting as early as 3:30am… so I nap in order to function for the rest of my day! My daughter, who suffers from anxiety, actually has a kit like the one you mentioned. Her stuff fits into a small pencil case, that she keeps with her. It’s a great idea!!

  18. Cindy says:

    I love this idea! Thanks for the suggestions. I want to help my grandkids create these too.

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