What is self-soothing?
Self-soothing is a coping strategy to deal with overwhelming emotions or distress. It’s using various tools and methods to soothe each of your five senses – to nurture and calm yourself.
Why is self-soothing important?
Self-soothing is a great tool to have at your disposal for when you are at crisis point and the rest of your skills aren’t working. It’s stripping everything back and getting back to basics, back to those five senses: touch, taste, vision, hearing and smell.
How can I self-soothe?
There are many ways to self-soothe, and this website has a good list of things to do for each of your senses. However, for this post, I’m going to look specifically at self-soothing boxes.
What is a self-soothing box?
A self-soothing box is a box of items that you can put together that you know will engage each of your senses (or the senses that help you to relax).
What’s in my self-soothing box?
- Hand cream (touch, smell)
- A squishy unicorn toy (touch, vision, hearing)
- Prayer beads (touch, vision)
- An onyx crystal (touch, vision)
- Bubbles (vision)
- Elastic band (touch)
- Tea (taste, smell)
What else can I put in my self-soothing box?
- Colouring book and colouring pencils (vision)
- Kazoo/recorder/ocarina/small musical instrument (hearing)
- Photos (vision)
- Hot chocolate sachets (taste, smell)
- Incense (smell)
- iPod/mp3 player (hearing)
- Slime (touch)
- Journal and pen (vision)
- Chocolate/sweets (taste, smell, touch)
- Can of fizzy drink (taste)
- Balloons (touch, vision)
- Perfume (smell)
- Candles (vision, smell)
- Paint (vision, touch)
- Rock salt (touch)
These are just a few ideas, but there really isn’t any limit to what you can put in your self-soothing box. As long as it’s useful to you in a crisis – include it!
What if self-soothing doesn’t work?
If you are in crisis, and self-soothing isn’t working for you, you can phone Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). You could also reach out to a friend or family member. If you feel unable to keep yourself safe, you can present yourself at A&E, or, if you are under a mental health team, contact your care-coordinator or the Crisis Team. Asking for help does not make you weak or a failure – if you need support, please ask for it.
Do you have a self-soothing box? If yes, what is in yours? If no, is it something you would consider? Let me know in the comments!