Mobile Self-Care Kit On a Budget- Anxiety
In the last post, you developed a self-care kit for your anxiety at home. This time you will adapt your kit to be mobile and will include items that you are more likely to find in public or others' homes. Similar to the last kit, this kit is aimed towards people with mild or infrequent anxiety. If you have moderate to severe or frequent anxiety please work with your therapist to develop an individualized kit.
If you remember from the last time, you were asked to consider the five senses and how they impact you. You are going to do the same thing this time. However, you will be more critical this time. You will also be asking yourself, is this something that I can usually carry or find outside of my home? For example, you may really like your throw blanket on your couch but you probably don't want to walk around the grocery store with it!
What you can carry with you will depend on your lifestyle. Do you often have a purse, bag, or briefcase with you to carry things with? If you do, this process will be much simpler. If not, you will have to get a little more creative and may have to develop a kit that isn't something you carry around but rather a mental list of items often encountered in public rather than items to carry.
To start building your kit, return to the senses that you found are effective in building your calm. What are smaller things that represent that? Do you have a trial size lotion with your favorite scent? What about a small paper clip that you can fidget with that will slide easily into your wallet? How about a playlist created on your phone? Is there a piece of fabric that you like to touch that you can stick in your coat pocket? Cotton balls are small and fluffy and can often be slid into a pocket as well.
Thinking outside of the box is not only appropriate here, but is needed to help create a variety of options for you to draw on. You want a variety because sometimes situations are going to make certain items less effective. For example, scents may be very effective for you in certain circumstances but it may be harder to get the same effect if you are in a busy restaurant full of strong smells. Don't forget you can also use your car for storage of temperature-resistant relaxation items. You may be able slip outside to your car to take a breather or have a quick break before exiting your car when you arrive at your destination. (Remember if you are driving- focus on the road and not your kit!)
After you've identified small and mobile items that you can realistically carry with you, it is time to think about what to look for when you are outside of your house. It is helpful to lump these into categories of places you often frequent. These may include homes of friends and family, grocery stores, favorite destinations such as libraries, shopping centers, or parks. Your categories will reflect the places you most often go to.
Grocery stores and shopping centers may offer aisles full of favorite scents to stop by and have a moment to regain your calm. Stores that sell clothing are likely to have a variety of fabrics and textures to check out. Most places will have some location that provides visuals that you will find interesting or attractive that you an focus your attention on.
Homes will often have sights and smells of their own. The more familiar you are with the home the easier it will be to identify options for anxiety reduction. Do you like their hand soap in the bathroom? Or the painting in the hallway? Do you like to hold the couch pillows in your lap and stroke the tassels? You can be as open with your friends and family about your search as you feel comfortable with. If they are supportive, they may even enjoy helping you find the relaxing sights, smells, sounds, and textures that they have in their home.