In order to raise your voice for others, you have to take care of yourself first. That’s where self care comes in. If you like this tip, be sure to sign up for the Raise Your Voice newsletter to receive your copy of The Revolution Starts with Me! self care zine for more tips and self care resources.

This is a great self care exercise I spotted on the University of Texas Elementary School’s Social Work Practices blog. It’s known by several names, such as “Break Box”, “Breathe Box” and “Calm Down Kit”, and while this exercise is designed to help young people navigate their feelings with the aid of school social workers and parents, this can also be helpful for adults as well. A “calm down kit” is an example of self soothing, where taking care of yourself while in a high-stress or triggering situation is important.

Here’s how to create your Calm Down Kit:

1- Take a pencil box (You can buy these at any craft store or major store chain like Staples) or any box that can safely hold all of your items.

2- Add items to the box that aid you in becoming more aware of your surrounding, calm you down, or help you to express your feelings. You can include pens and crayons, and pieces of paper to write out what’s going through your mind, as well as items that make you feel better.

It’s that simple. If you’re stumped on what to add to your Calm Down Kit, utilize your five senses (part of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) to decide what to soothing and comforting things to place in your kit:

Smell- Candles, lotions, a small vial of fragrances or essential oils

Taste- Pieces of your favorite candy, gum, or mint

Touch- Charm, stress ball, prayer beads, Playdoh, stones or a favorite rock, a piece of jewelry, playing cards

Sight- Small journal, pictures of supportive people in your life, words of inspiration in your hand writing, images of calming scenery, bubbles

Hear- Baoding chime balls, uplifting songs that you can listen to, sounds in nature (running water, leaves blowing in the wind)

The possibilities are endless. Decorate your calm down kit however you want. If you put more effort into creating it, you’ll be more likely to use it. Do this exercise with your family, friends, peers or students. Keep it in a place where it’s easily accessible to you. Also, make sure to create your calm down kit before you actually need it.

The next self care tip with go more into using the five sense for self soothing, for when your calm down kit is not accessible to you.

RAISE YOUR VOICE: What you think about this week’s exercise? Share your insights in the comments section below. Do you have a self care resource or exercise you want to share? Contact me to have it featured in an upcoming Self Care Corner post.

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