Making the perfect – Mindful Self-Care Box
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a necessary part of staying mentally and physically healthy. But when there is more work than hours in the day, it’s easy to feel guilty for taking time out. Making a mindful self-care box can be a great way to give yourself – and others – permission to take care.
Mindfulness means staying aware of the present. It allows you to tune in with how you’re feeling physically. And to change your mental perspective. We’d say that this makes it a core element of self-care.
Let’s try it right now. Breathe in slowly, hold it in, breathe out. Repeat several times and check in with your body. How are you sitting? Are your shoulders tense or relaxed? Are you sitting upright or slouching? What other sensations can you notice?
Try to keep this awareness going as we dig into some great ideas on how to make a mindful self-care box. Ready? Let’s get started.
For when you need a break
What a long year 2020 has been already. We’re juggling new routines. Embraced home-schooling (to varying degrees). Zooming as if our livelihoods depend on it. In short, we’re spending more time at home than ever before and sometimes that means we need a break.
Has the following ever happened to you? You want to take a bit of time out and do something good for yourself. Instead, you end up vegging out on the sofa with the telly on and a bunch of snacks on the side table. Nothing wrong with that, but the evening passes in a blur and you’ve barely even registered your ‘break’.
This is where a mindful self-care box can help. You can prepare it ahead of time and think about what can really help you. Here are some of our favourites:
Engaging your senses is a great way to relax and to break repetitive thoughts. This is why we’ve even added them to our mindfulness stress balls.
We love jasmine for its subtle floral smell and how it creates a sense of alertness. Invigorating peppermint for brain stamina and motivation. And a lemon pick-me-up, for more energy and calm. What are your favourites?
A soothing bath is high up on many people’s self-care list. And it’s a great time to build a little mindfulness into your day. Slowly breathe in and out. Concentrate on the sound of the water splashing and the sensations on your skin.
Lean back until your ears are underwater – or even your whole head. Enjoy the feeling of calm and relaxation, but don’t try to control yourself too much. If your thoughts start to wander, bring your attention back to your breath. Finish off with a health or beauty treatment that makes you feel good.
We all have favourite activities to help us unwind. A visit to the gym, a good book, a phone call to a friend. Why not make some mindful reminders for those days when you’ll otherwise end up scrolling on your phone?
Keep them as simple as a handwritten card or get creative with finding objects that can act as metaphors. What will help you catch a break?
For when you want to refresh your mind
First things first: if you’re exhausted, the best thing you can do is sleep. Have a nap, revisit your evening routine and protect your zzzzs. If you’re well-rested, but want to sharpen your mind, how about this:
Why not create a sensory box? Fill it with goodies that let you concentrate on all your senses. And come back to it again and again when you need a reset.
You might go for your favourite playlists or a choice of guided meditations. If you already have them saved on your phone or other device, why not include a little reminder to yourself? Or some headphones. Wind chimes, singing bowls or similar ideas can also act as your cue to take time out.
What better place could there be to hide your favourite chocolate? Make sure to eat it slowly and mindfully. Notice every sensation from the moment you pick it up to the final swallow. For example, how does it feel between your fingers? How does your mouth react to the smell? How does the flavour change in your mouth?
We are big fans of aromatherapy oils, but your favourite tea bags can be a lovely alternative. And let’s face it, few things say self-care as much as a relaxing cuppa. Savour the ritual of boiling the kettle. Inhale the rising steam from your cup and feel the heat of the tea in your mouth. Engage your senses and refresh your mind.
Our mindfulness stress balls are just the right size for this project. They’re the perfect mindful reminder for when you need a reset during the day. They come in three levels of firmness for that perfect level of ‘squish’. And a soft touch Lycra covering that feels wonderful to the touch.
“Always have something beautiful in sight, even if it’s just a daisy in a jelly glass.” We think H. Jackson Brown, Jr might be onto something. Treasured photos, beautiful artwork or a reminder to head outdoors to enjoy nature… What will you pick?
For when you want to be more mindful
Mindfulness is a simple concept. But it’s hard to put into practice – and building mindful routines isn’t easy either. That’s why at MindPanda, we’ve become experts on building strong new habits.
We’ve created a 30 Days of Mindfulness course that’s designed to get you off to a good start. Or to refresh your mindfulness practice and keep you on the right track. It consists of 35 soft-touch cards that introduce you to a range of mindfulness activities, meditation, light yoga and empowering self-care exercises.
Our mindfulness experts designed this pack to suit all levels of experience. It’ll help you to promote emotional wellbeing and focus, as well as reducing stress and anxiety. But you don’t have to take our word for it. 30 Days of Mindfulness is already in use by healthcare professionals, schools and counsellors across the country. It’s a perfect addition to your mindful self-care box.
Here are some other great ideas:
Always pack a journal (and some fancy stationery, if you’re so inclined). Reflecting on our time, our feelings and our habits holds the key to building better ones. By writing about your days, you’ll learn to prioritise problems, fears and worries.
Negative self-talk is a big issue for many of us. Creative writing can be a chance to create more positive internal dialogues. Once you’ve identified negative thought patterns of course.
Feeling grateful is good for us. That’s a fact. Why not use your journal to regularly write down all the things you are grateful for? Or add some nice ‘thank you’ cards to your box, so that you can share the benefits of gratitude with others?
Mindful colouring and crafts
Colouring is another chance to take a break and concentrate your mind. Focus your attention on the weight of the pencil in your hand. And the shades of colour on your page. How hard are you pressing to get the tone you want? What direction are you moving the pencil – up and down, left to right or somewhere else?
Try to avoid judging the results. If you feel that you’re starting to become distracted, bring them back to your pencil or your breath.
For showing your love
In a time when many people are overloaded with ‘stuff’, a mindful self-care box is a personal and thoughtful gift. Fun to make and fun to receive. Your friends and family are bound to love it.
Wellbeing has different aspects. Why not choose one object or gift for each one? You know your loved one best. Would they love ‘cute’ labels or would a more practical approach go down better? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Physical: from resistance bands to hiking maps, online yoga classes and healthy cookbooks, there are lots of ways to get to better physical health.
Emotional: COVID has turned our social lives upside down. Whether we’re crowded in with family or struggling with isolation, few of us have escaped completely. An invitation to a nature walk or an online group could work wonders. Or why not encourage them to try something completely new, like a socially distanced choir? If you do the legwork of finding something suitable, it’ll make it easier for them to get started.
If that doesn’t appeal, there’s nothing better for us than a good laugh. Can you find some good jokes to include in your box? Funny movies or books count too.
Psychological: mindfulness meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress. It can boost concentration and mood. In fact, benefits start with just ten minutes per day. If you want to give your loved one a boost, we offer a 30 Days of Mindfulness course that’s perfect for all levels of experience. With 35 beautiful, soft-touch cards, it’s the perfect size for any self-care box too.
Spiritual: spiritual doesn’t have to mean religious. In fact, many people who practise mindfulness don’t follow any particular religion at all. Spiritual wellbeing can mean thinking about gratitude. Or getting started with meditation. As the rising popularity of yoga classes has shown, many of us still benefit from a focus on spirituality.
Choosing your box
Regardless of what you choose to put in it, you’ll of course need a box. Make sure it’s big enough for all your ideas, but still compact enough to store away when not in use. If you enjoy arts and crafts, you may like to go all out with decorations. Or to keep things simple and elegant.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas for self-care boxes. What will you choose for yours? We’d love to know. Please drop us a line in the comments below.
Don’t forget, we have lots of great mindfulness resources available on the MindPanda resources page and blog. If there’s anything else you would find useful, please let us know.
Stay well, stay mindful.
What is self-care?
The World Health Organisation says self-care is the way that individuals, families and communities promote and maintain health, prevent disease and cope with illness or disability. It’s a broad term which can cover nutrition, lifestyle, hygiene and more. It covers physical, mental and other aspects of health.
What do you put in a self-care box?
Whatever you feel will help you stay healthy. Toiletries, relaxation aids, headphones, aromatherapy, mindfulness prompts, journals and pens, crafts, exercise ideas – anything goes.
What are the four categories of self-care?
They are emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual. (Spiritual doesn’t have to mean religious. It could be as simple as a gratitude journal or a calming walk in nature.) When deciding what to put in your self-care box, you could try to include one item for each category.
What are good self-care habits?
Look after your sleep. Eat well and avoid comfort eating. Exercise regularly in a way that you enjoy. Try mindfulness meditation to take care of your mind. There are lots of great self-care habits, but by starting with the basics, you’ll see the difference more quickly.
How does mindfulness help with self-care?
Mindfulness is a core part of self-care. The act of taking time for yourself is an important habit that makes you tune into your own wellbeing. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of your mind and staying aware of how your body feels are important first steps.