The phrase “emergency preparedness” is one we might hear when a hurricane strikes or a snowstorm hits. It is exactly what it sounds like. The phrase means that we should always be prepared for an emergency: to have a designated plan, numbers to call, and to know what is the most effective way to respond to an emergency. Part of emergency preparedness is having the right supplies on hand. Many people assemble emergency kits that include essentials like water, food, blankets, batteries, and extra cash.
Of course, the key element of of emergency preparedness is that we are ready long before disaster strikes. You wouldn’t, for example, wait for a fire to buy a fire extinguisher.
The same efforts and logic can be applied to your mood and internal wellbeing. We fare better when we know well ahead of time how to take care of ourselves. We’ve talked briefly on Mind Fuel Daily about having an emergency kit on hand for days when you feel blue. Such a kit can include any number of items that will help you feel safe, comforted, or relaxed.
Before an emotional storm hits, think of some “supplies” that you might want to keep on hand. We’ve come up with a few suggestions!
Prayers, Poems, Quotes
The power of words is astonishing. The right words can offer us hope, put our feelings into perspective, and remind us that we are not alone. In particular, words in the form of prayers, mantras, or affirmations give us something audible to recite that feels empowering and meditative. Before a bad day, mine your favorite books and authors for some inspiring passages.
Spa Goodies and Wellness Supplies
Whether its bubble bath soap, essential oils, or scented eye pillows, therapeutic spa items can alleviate low moods by bringing attention to our senses. More than that, they remind us that we are worthy of care and relaxation. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that these items are often good for the body! Bubble baths and soaps get us squeaky clean. Scented heating pads relieve tension and soreness in the muscles. A nice cold eye pillow can ease the pang of a stubborn headache.
Something to Snack On
Food is comforting and sustaining. Feeding ourselves and tending to our blood sugar levels makes a world of difference in regards to mood. It might seem obvious, but it never hurts to have a box of mac and cheese, coffee snacks, or backup chocolate. If you are someone who uses cooking or baking to feel better, consider compiling some of your favorite recipes that are easy to whip up when you feel low.
Blankets, Pillows, Sweaters, Plush Toys
When we were young, many of us were given comfort objects to feel secure. Engaging with soft objects-pillows, blankets, soft clothing- can put us in a reassuring mindset that says I feel taken care of. Not to mention, we are better able to relax and let go of stress, anger and anxiety when we feel physically comfortable.
Tunes and Music
Science has shown that listening to enjoyable music releases dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and elevated moods. In short, we are biochemically rewarded by music! Before a bad day hit, create a playlist with your favorite feel-good music. Even just listening to one or two songs will make a difference.
Crafts or Other Hands-On Activities
Working with your hands, even for just fifteen minutes, engages focus and immerses you in a mindful creative process. Try clay, coloring books, or knitting. Stick to something that allows you to create, but perhaps doesn’t put pressure on you to create something specific or good (that way, you won’t be tempted to judge yourself while in the process).
Whether its photographs, letters, or small keepsakes, personal momentos are a way to remember the people you love and the times you’ve cherished. Connecting to others through physical things is a reminder that you are not alone, that you are part of a bigger network of family and friends. This in itself can be a relief.
Everyone’s emotional emergency kit will look a little different. And that’s okay! There is no one size fits all when it comes to self-care. Have any ideas of your own? Simply share them in the comments below.