Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.
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In August, mental health artist Lindsay Braman shared about building trauma informed care kits for your classroom or office.
It got us thinking: what about similar for ourselves? A toolbox for mindfulness, so to speak?
Because, while it’s easy to think of trauma as something Big and Major, we all encounter small traumas in our everyday lives, which compound over time. And learning how to support ourselves when we’re stressed or upset is not just a valuable skill, it’s imperative for us to live healthy, whole lives.
We thought we’d share some of our favorite ideas for a mindfulness toolbox and we’d love to hear your ideas, too!
Most of these ideas can be adapted for adults or kids (maybe you’ve heard of calm down corners?). In fact, I like to think of a mindfulness toolbox as a way to support my inner child!
Your toolbox doesn’t have to be an actual toolbox (but how fun would that be?!). You can gather your supplies in a basket near a comfy chair or in a container under your desk.
Your toolbox can even exist as a list in your notes app!
Mindfulness and affirmation books and cards can help you recenter your thoughts and teach you how to move through stressful emotions, like fear or anger.
I’m also a huge fan of yoga poses when I’m not feeling great; yoga (or just moving my body) helps me process my emotions and not just feel them. You can pull up a yoga clip on YouTube or you can go analog and grab a card from a yoga deck, like this one.
Lindsay also has a great printable/poster feelings wheel that can be a helpful addition to your toolbox.
Things that bring extra sensory input can be very grounding.
Your mindfulness toolbox can include candles made with essential oils, soothing essential oil blends and a diffuser, therapy packs, or even crystals like this amethyst or this little pocket clear quartz.
Many people also recommend sour or crunchy foods as these are extra grounding!
Science says nature helps hugely with anxiety, so why not bring a little nature into your mindfulness toolbox?
Maybe you’ve already sort of done that with essential oils and crystals, but you can also include found objects from nature walks: stones, pieces of bark, leaves, pinecones, acorns, or pressed flowers.
Try keeping a potted plant near your mindfulness toolbox or even placing your toolbox by a window.
Or you can simply look at photos of nature! One of my favorite books to look at is this one (#trees).
We’re partial to making as a form of stress relief! Keep a journal in your toolbox so you can journal, sketch, or paint. You could also keep supplies like play dough or finger paints, a coloring book, or sewing supplies on hand.
Lindsay has many more ideas in her post (peep those comments!)