It’s been awhile. A long while. Over a month in fact. I apologize to anyone who might be following my writing –if anyone is. Whew, lots has happened and I’m still trying to process everything. Maybe I’ll write about it all someday, but right now I’m not ready yet.
I will share, however, that we got a PUPPY! If you follow me on facebook you already know this, since I’ve already posted like 20 pictures of him. His name is Hemingway, and we’re training him to be my Emotional Support Animal. He’s already helped me down from TWO panic attacks, simply because he’s naturally sensitive to emotions and wants to please.
Anyway, today I’m going to write about something fun. I need a little break from emotional heaviness.
Today I made myself a “Happy Box.” A.K.A. a “calm box,” a “panic box,” whatever you want to call it.
A happy box is really whatever you want it to be. It’s a box of physical coping mechanisms for those times you’re feeling down, or anxious, or even for when you’re having a panic attack. You fill it with whatever you feel will be nice to have easily accessible when you’re at your weakest emotionally.
Here are the contents of my Happy Box. I used things I already had around the house. I have also included an explanation for each. Hopefully this can help anyone who also wants to make a Happy Box get ideas for what they want to include.
- Yummy smelling lotion
- Using multiple senses when panicking can have a calming effect. Lotion feels good as you rub it into your hands and arms, and the rubbing can also have a calming effect. A nice scent adds the other sense.
- A dark chocolate bar
- The one I chose is orange almond. Dark chocolate is good for you and the almonds add a little bit of sustenance if you’re feeling particularly drained after an emotional experience.
- Hot chocolate and tea
- This is another sensory one. Warmth of a mug, the scent of your beverage, and obviously the taste. Plus, depending on the tea, it can have a calming or invigorating effect.
- Chewing on something helps me calm down before I have a full blown attack.
- A soothing candle and matches to light it
- This one speaks for itself. Yummy candles are a classic relaxation tool.
- Two essential oil mixes
- Serenity for panic attacks and vitalize for depression. Some oils haven’t been proven to help with much, but other oils have a lot of scientific evidence to back up why they work. Aromatherapy can be helpful for panic attacks and depression –it won’t necessarily work for everyone though.
- Notes with my favorite affirmations written on them
- This one is pretty obvious. It makes my “positive thought library” easily accessible.
- An uplifting movie: The King’s Speech
- Something not too comical but not too emotionally taxing or dramatic either. Won’t tare your heart out but also won’t frustrate you if you’re not in the mood for triviality. This is what is good for me, but others may prefer something that will help them cry or laugh.
- A mini coloring book and a pencil box with markers
- I’ve talked about adult coloring before as a good coping mechnism. My mini Mandalas book is perfect for a quick creative boost.
- Nail polish/stickers
- This is a “do something nice for my body” one. It’s distracting, uses creativity, and your nails are fun and pretty. I choose two colors that matched the stickers I have and a color that I just love for Fall.
- Book of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
- Nothing like poetry to fill you up with joy. Especially Shakespeare. Well, if you’re me anyway. I can’t read a Shakespeare sonnet without delving deep into my analytical mind. Puzzles and other mind engaging activities can help get you out of a funk. And Shakespeare is a home run for me.
- A book of Peanut’s Comics my dad got me for Valentine’s day once
- This serves a double purpose for me. Peanut’s is nostalgic and uplifting to read. This is also a sentimental memory, and seeing/reading it reminds me of my father and that he was thinking of me when he got the book.
So there it is, my happy box. I’ll update you after I’ve gotten some use out of it. I’m also planning on adding some personal material; letters and such. And maybe a fun bold lipstick I’m not brave enough to wear in public but would be fun to put on.
Here are some other ideas for a Happy Box:
- Facial mask
- Bubble bath/bombs/salts
- Favorite snacks
- Puzzles/brain teasers
- Stress ball
- Stuffed animals (or something else soft)
- Cozy blanket
- Chewing gum
- Fuzzy socks