Written by Winston’s Wish and our Youth Team
What is a self-care kit?
Your self-care kit can include anything that helps you to feel better in some way. For some people, that might be putting on a face mask, lighting a candle, or meditating… For others, it might be screaming into a pillow, listening to loud music through your headphones and jumping around, or going for a run. Whatever works for you. The activity of creating a self-care kit could even be part of your self-care!
Self-care isn’t always about doing those things in the moment when emotions are feeling heightened and overwhelming, instead consider planning time to do whatever your self-care involves later or another day. It can also be helpful to have a bank of ideas you can choose from because each day can be completely different, and your emotions may vary. Some days certain self-care ideas may work really well for you, while other days you might find the same things frustrating and need to try an alternative.
How do I make a self-care kit?
You could make a list by hand, on your phone or device, or maybe you can just think about it in your head. If you find it difficult to take time to yourself, you could create a pattern of different things to get yourself into the mindset of self-care. Here’s what Maya has to say about her version of self-care…
“The best form of self-care to me, is letting myself be sad. Like fully sad. I’m talking bawling my eyes out and doing everything in my power to get every single tear out.
I’ll free up an evening, get into bed, turn all the lights off and put my headphones in. Then I play every song that makes me think of my dad, and I just cry my eyes out until they’re puffy and my face is red, and my nose is streaming.
Then I’ll have a huge sleep and the next day I’ll feel better because I know I’ve let out everything that I was building up.”
Maya (Winston’s Wish Youth Ambassador)
Try it right now. Have a think about one thing that lets you feel better, maybe it’s a way to release your emotions like Maya finding time and space to cry. Or maybe it’s something completely separate from your grief that you can focus on entirely without interruption, like scream-singing along to music!
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None of that really sounds like it would work for me… What else could I include?
There are no limits to your self-care kit… You have to choose what works for you, when it works for you.
Examples of self-care:
- Watching your favourite film
- Listening to your favourite song, playlist, or album
- Eating something nutritious and delicious
- Calling someone you know to chat about anything and everything
- Writing, drawing, or creating something new
- Having a good cry
- Having a bath, shower, or simply washing your face
- Getting into comfy clothes
- Breathing in and out and recognising that you’re doing it! (This may sound silly but it can be really grounding to do)
- Screaming into a pillow (or somewhere private e.g., in your car)
- Distracting yourself from grieving
- Allowing yourself time to grieve
There’s a TV series called ‘Shrinking’, which you might be interested in watching, where the counsellor suggests to a client to ‘grieve for 15 minutes every day’. They quite literally set a timer and allow themselves 15 minutes to cry, scream, look at photos, or do whatever it is that acknowledges their grief. This is a TV show so no it’s not real life, but it’s worth a try. If it works for you, then great!
Here’s what works for Nell (Winston’s Wish Youth Ambassador):
Now it’s time to create yours! If you write it by hand, you could keep the page with you for whenever you need to refer to your self-care kit. If you write it in your phone, you can check it whenever you need.
How to speak to Winston’s Wish
If you’re struggling with grief right now, Winston’s Wish is here to help and here to listen. Winston’s Wish provides support for grieving children and young people (up to the age of 25). We offer one-to-one and group support sessions. We also have lots of online resources and a Helpline, email and live chat service where you can talk to bereavement professionals.
If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.