We all have those times, the times where you just can’t. When you’re struck by a low mood or in the grips of anxiety, or having a bad day, or just in a funk for whatever reason, and you can’t bring yourself to do anything about it.

That’s where the wellness box comes in. What’s a wellness box, you may ask? Well, it’s simply a box full of resources to help you out when you’re feeling really low, or really anxious, and are basically unable to really function properly. It’s a box you bring out when everything else seems too hard. It’s basically a self-contained self care kit that can hopefully help you weather the bad times a little bit better.

Here are some basic guidelines to get started with your own wellness box. Keep reading for a list of things to put inside, and stick around to the end for a FREE Wellness Box Creator Printable!

Make it Pretty

It helps to have a nice container, instead of just some random box. This box will represent you feeling better, so it should be something you like to look at. I have a bright blue and yellow box with a smiley face cut into it that I got at the dollar store. And it doesn’t even strictly have to be a box, either. It could be a plastic container, a basket, a pretty canvas bag, a plain old box you decorated with your kids…whatever you like. Make it yours. But when you pull out this box, it should represent good feelings.

Make it Convenient

It should be somewhere convenient to access. If you have to dig through piles of stuff in your closet to get at it, you probably won’t be willing to put in all that effort when you’re feeling really low. The point of the box, after all, is to help you when you feel like you just don’t have any effort left to give. I used to keep mine under my bed, so I could get at it even when curled up in blankets and unable to get up. These days I keep it beside my desk. You can experiment and find a place that’s good for you.

Make it on a Good Day

Create it on a good day. One of the key aspects of the wellness box is that it contains reminders of the good times, and in low periods it’s awfully hard to remember the good times. At least for me it is. So try to put it together when you’re in a decent mood. Of course, if you want to throw one together now, and your mood’s not that great, no worries! Create what you can now. You can always add to it later. In fact, you should. As you make new memories and develop new strategies, they should go in the box. Your box should be continually evolving with you as you go through your own life journey.

Make it Practical

Sure, you can keep things like CBT worksheets in your box, and those can be a fantastic resource, if you can manage it. But if you know those are too much effort for you in a low period, don’t bother with them. Looking at them and knowing you should do them but being unable to will just make your mood worse. And that’s guilt you just don’t need. There is no right or wrong way to make a box, and no right or wrong items to put in it. The key is to find what actually works for you and helps you, not what you think you should have, or what other people have in theirs.

Now, you have your wellness box container and know where to put it, but what do you put inside? Here are some ideas!

Reminders of the Good

  • gratitude lists
  • vacation mementos
  • pictures drawn for you by children
  • letters or printed texts/emails from loved ones
  • photos
  • cards
  • certificates or awards you’ve won
  • list of your accomplishments

Distractions

  • fidgets
  • play doh
  • Lego
  • puzzle books
  • comics
  • gum
  • drawing paper and supplies

Calming Things

  • colouring books and pencil crayons
  • scented candles
  • calming music on an mp3 player
  • worry stone
  • bubble bath or bath bomb

Boosts

  • positive affirmations
  • energy bar or treat
  • uplifting music on an mp3 player
  • journal and pen (to free write, write gratitude lists, write worry lists, etc)

Strategies

  • lists of coping strategies (You can have a whole bunch of coping strategies in your toolbox, but when a low mood takes you or you’re on the verge of a panic attack it can be hard to recall them. Write them down and put a copy in your box so you can scan through them and remind yourself.)
  • list of apps/videos/websites/books to look at

The bottom line is, this box should help you. It’s yours, and you can make it however you want. Listed above are just some ideas, so feel free to come up with your own (and leave them in the comments to help others!)

Experiment, and try different things. Keep in mind, however, that not everything in the box will help you in every circumstance. Some days you might try several things in the box before finding one that helps, and some days you’ll find nothing helps. That’s ok. Work through it however you can, but don’t give up on the box—keep it for another day, another mood. Find what works for you, and what doesn’t. It’s all up to you. And I believe in you. You can do this.

Click below for your free Wellness Box Creator Printable!

Happy wellness box creating!