Over the past few months, we’ve written about different ways to help you adapt to the strangeness of 2020, such as our Top Mindfulness Apps and Ways to Stay Healthy this Exam Season. In this blog post we’re going to continue addressing mental health.
There is so much going on in the world right now that can cause additional stress and worries on top of our schoolwork. At the best of times, exam season is stressful and this year is definitely not an exception.
One of the ways we, your YU bloggers, have had success in taking care of ourselves is with a Self-Care Kit and we wanted to show you how to make one! Note that we are not mental health professionals, just students like you who want to share some ideas that have worked well for us.
What is a Self-Care Kit?
A Self-Care Kit is an easy-to-access self-made kit full of things that bring you comfort, joy and help to self-soothe. Self-soothing is a great coping mechanism for anyone dealing with anxiety. An example of self-soothing is a grounding technique in which you smell your favourite scent or rub a soft texture that you love. Our kit includes items that may bring you some calm when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Here are the ways and some ideas to make your own kit!
DIY Self-Care Kit for Soothing & Distraction
- One container of any kind – this can be a shoebox, a reusable takeout container or even a mason jar!
- Pen/pencils/markers suited to your taste
- Coloured markers and pencils to decorate
Self-soothing items can be anything that helps you feel grounded or more present. If you like it and it helps you feel calm, put it in!
- your favourite tea to smell or make when you’re feeling anxious
- a piece of fabric that you like the feeling of
- a small scented candle
- a soap bar that smells great
- candies or chocolates for taste (these don’t have to be sweets; cooking is very soothing, so it could be a recipe or a favourite soup!)
- rocks or gemstones that comfort you
Sometimes distracting yourself is the best thing to do when you’re not feeling at your best. Some tried-and-true distractions are activities like taking a bath, watching your favourite tv show or playing with your pet. When you’re feeling anxious it can be difficult to think of these soothing distractions, so we suggest writing down your favourite distractions and putting them in the kit! This way you can pick out a piece of paper and find an activity that can help keep your mind off of… everything!
Different people find different things soothing, so build your own list. We’ve given some of our favourite examples below.
Distraction Ideas to Write on Slips of Paper:
- clean your room
- wash the dishes
- call a friend
- do a little dance
- blast your favourite song (but not so loud that your neighbours will get anxious!)
- go outside for a walk, maintaining social distancing protocols, of course
- take a bubble bath
- watch your favourite TV show
- watch or read something that will make you laugh
- write out what you’re feeling
- write out compliments to yourself; or even better;
- pre-write compliments to yourself to pick out of the box
- do a random act of kindness
- doodle a picture
- listen to a podcast
Also, remember that York is here for you, too. Student Counselling & Development is continuing to offer individual remote single-session counselling and telephone support at 416-736-5297, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They have also provided a suite of COVID-19 mental health resources to help you prioritize your mental health and wellbeing and access additional community supports.
Glendon Campus students can access individual counseling through Glendon’s Accessibility, Well-Being and Counselling.
Did you make your own kit or do you have suggestions for your favourite distractions? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @YorkUStudents.
To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.