Everyone experiences stress and times of challenge. In those moments, our brain goes from wizard to lizard, as our mind reverts back to automatic function and reactions of fight/flight/freeze. Creating a wellness kit can be a therapeutic exercise focussed on your well-being and something to reach for when the lizard brain takes over!
What is a wellness kit and what can you put in it?
Do you remember your favorite stuffy or holding on to your baby blanket when you were little? Those “lovies” were part of your childhood wellness kit. They provided security, comfort, empathy, understanding, and a place of peace. Your wellness kit can do the exact same thing!
Building Your Wellness Kit for Home
Take a few moments either individually, as a family, or with friends to consider what makes each person feel good. Answers can range far and wide from a hug, a cup of tea, a bath every night, keeping a booklet of quotes for encouragement or motivation, lighting a gratitude candle, keeping items from nature, or ringing a bell. Children may want items that bring comfort such as a piece of cloth, a picture, or certain memorabilia or they may even need a jump rope to help burn off excess energy. The key to thinking about items for the kit is what is important to the individual.
When it is a stressful time, putting the items in a place where everyone can go to obtain them is key to making the wellness kit a regular practice, creating an action to change the overall heaviness of stress, anxiety, and pressure. By putting the wellness kit(s) in a common space, as a parent or caregiver you are also immediately tuned into a child’s needs. As an individual, seeing your wellness kit every day is a great reminder to make your mind and feelings a priority and to take the time to connect with yourself.
Building Your Wellness Kit for Travel
Needing comfort or relief from stressful situations is often needed in more place than just at home. Putting together a small fabric pouch or bag with a collection of items special to you, your student, or a family member can give you tools to rely on when under pressure or feelings of anxiety. Stationery stores have a great selection of bags or check out the markets for some fun inspirational one! Items that work well for travel kits include writings that are important to you on a piece of laminated paper such as words from a favorite song, a poem, a meaningful note, a roller of essential oils, a reminder to take a few deep breaths, crystals, photographs, single tea or coffee bags, a stress or massage ball, beads, marbles, a statue, a drawing book, mints or other such miniature items.
Building Your Kit Takes Time
It takes time to really discover what works in your wellness kit. Have fun experimenting with items to put inside and/or enjoy connecting with your family members and friends as you learn from each other how each person handles difficulty, pressure, and stress. Most of all be proud of yourself for making your emotional health a priority. As Patty Gatto-Walden aptly states, “The first step is to recognize that you are more than your mind. We need to stop living a divided self with a sole focus on our predominant intellectual realm, and learn to value and listen to the internal guidance system all five domains collectively provide.” By listening and acting in the best interests of our emotional health, we enhance cohesiveness, harmony and overall holistic wellness in ourselves and when interacting with those in the community.