Hey there! I haven’t done this in a while, and I used to have one of these years ago, but here’s something different. I’ll be compiling a coping box that will help relieve anxiety and stress.
As I said, this isn’t my first rodeo, but there are some things that will perhaps inspire you. I used to have ornaments or silly trinkets to remind myself of other people, but I don’t have a need for those at this time.
You may want to build your coping box differently to me, and that’s completely fine. But you’ll definitely want to be covering all five senses – hearing, touch, smell, taste and sight, as well as exercising your brain in the right ways.
I always think that a cute box helps set up a great relaxation session. I got this cute one from TK Maxx a few months ago, which has references and imagery relating to travel, which is a great help for me, as I love travel. You may be able to find one similar in there! I got the big one because it’s got a great capacity, so I can store more things. I didn’t originally get it to be a coping box, but it’s there and it saves me from having to get a new one!
As for what I want to put into the box, I really don’t like the idea of having little trinkets that are symbolic of things such as friendship. I’d rather have something practical to work with.
We all need to utilise technology in the right way when we’re trying to unwind. I’ve started meditating (and not the kind where you sit cross-legged and go ‘ohmmmmmm’ for minutes on end), and I’ve always felt better about it. For that, I recommend Headspace, which has basic meditation courses to get you started.
I also started using Sleep Cycle to track my sleeping cycle, and I feel that since paying attention to my sleeping pattern, I’ve had fewer late mornings. In the Premium setting, you can also listen to the snores that it records, and gain better insight into your sleep. Turns out I still sleep the worst on Sundays.
I’d also suggest using a music app like Spotify for relaxing songs. I love listening to piano, especially when I’m trying to sleep. It’s also handy to arm yourself with a good pair of earphones. I recommend these earphones by Sony, as they usually last me a long time and are inexpensive, so it’s worth buying in bulk.
A pack of tissues
This is super-important for when you’re feeling teary! I usually keep a box of tissues at my bedside, but a handy little travel pack will do just nicely if you have the space. Because if you’re feeling teary, goodness knows you’ll need them!
Remember to change out the gum every so often, so that you won’t run into expired gum! I think chewing on some gum is really helpful for stimulating your senses, as you’re focusing on something else, such as the chewing and the taste of the gum. Make sure you use one of the tissues you’ve got to spit it out once it starts tasting awful though!
If you don’t like chewing gum, swap it out with a chewable mint or boiled sweets!
I’m a fidgeter. When I get anxious, tense or bored, I fidget with things. I fidget with the hems of my clothes, I fidget with the dangly things on my hoodies, overshirts, I fiddle with allsorts, and I’ve done that all my life. I cannot recommend a stress toy enough, and I used to use one when working for Teleperformance, and you could see the strain I put that thing under!
Fidget toys are remarkable, especially the original fidget cubes! Because there’s so much to work with on there, sometimes I feel too overwhelmed and have to put the toy away.
I hate being a fidgeter though. Plus having something ready to touch can help ground you when you’re experiencing an episode. Bonus points if you can find something really fluffy or soft to touch and stroke, like a stuffed toy!
Puzzle book & pencil
I have puzzles and stuff on my phone, but there are times when I don’t want to look at my phone or any piece of technology for a long time, unless I’m listening to music or looking up something for reference purposes.
With that in mind, I usually go for wordsearches, crosswords or Sudoku. That way, they are simple enough and I can do them with ease. Of course, sometimes I make mistakes, hence why I use a pencil rather than a pen.
I called them beauty masks so as to not get confused with the regular face masks that we need to wear in shops now. I tend to go for the creamy face masks, because the sheet masks make me feel queasy from the texture. But I always feel a bit uplifted after using a face mask, so that’s a winner for me!
I really like the creamy face masks, although I have to remind myself to use them more often. You can usually get cheap packs of face masks from your local store, but I recommend Mask of Magnaminty from Lush if you’re feeling like splashing out on yourself.
I usually reach for the Yankee Candles when I think of burning a candle, but they’re just so good! Some of my favourites include Pink Sands, Coastal Living and the seasonal All Is Bright. I don’t usually go for floral scents or rich scents, as I prefer citrus or fresh scents (as you can probably tell by my picks).
I’m also looking into making my own candles in the future, so I might add some of my own collection as and when. I just need to set up the business and get everything ready.
Colouring book & pens
I remember at one point I was obsessed with colouring books, I’d buy a couple of different ones every week. I had loads, which is why I’m going to put one in here and colour in it as and when I feel like. I like patterned books and mandalas more than anything – that way, I can be a bit freeform. I do also like insult and swearing books. I suppose sitting down and doing some colouring while listening to some music is a great stress-reliever.
Do you have leftover flash cards from when you were studying, or do you just like stationery? I’m in that boat, and I like the idea of writing down compliments that people have given you over time, and reading through them when you’re feeling anxious.
It’s important to have a STOPP (Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Pull back, Practise what works) carry card in here as well when things get really tough. I’ll be going over the STOPP technique in a different post, though!
I would also recommend writing some contact details for helplines on these cards, too! They’ll be able to help out in a pinch! I would go as far as to stick them to the lid of your box, so when you open it out, that information is there, ready for you!
I hope these tips will work out for you! I say this, but every person is different, so you might want to build your box differently! These are just some of the ideas that I have!