Home » 27 ideas for what to put in a self soothe box

27 ideas for what to put in a self soothe box

Are you finding it difficult to cope when you’re feeling upset or stressed?  A self soothe box could well be the answer.

I’m sharing 27 ideas for what you can put in your self-soothe box and you’ll find free downloads for blank cards and a mandala colouring book.

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Why Self Soothe?

quote: when your emotions are in motion, take a break and ponder

Self soothing isn’t just something we learn as babies to get ourselves to sleep.  Throughout our lives we need to be able to regulate our emotions. 

It’s important to know positive ways to cope on our own and self soothing is a coping strategy we all use to regulate our emotional state by ourselves (sometimes we’re not even conscious of those behaviours!).

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, what positive activity do you automatically reach for or do?  What makes you feel relaxed and calms you down?

For me it’s reading or crochet when I’m at home. When I’m out and about it’s to keep moving mindfully, or focus on my breathing.

vector of a woman crocheting with a cuppa and a plant on the desk

A self soothe box is one of the easiest strategies for how to self soothe.

Whilst it doesn’t fix everything, an anxiety box does help when we have those feelings of being overwhelmed. 

It’s easy to organise and inexpensive yet has immense benefits.

Free Self Care Resources

Helping you to take better care of yourself.

  • Planners/journals – self-care, mindfulness, meditation, gratitude
  • Mindfulness Challenge Calendar
  • Worksheet, trackers, checklists
  • 30 Card Deck Positive Affirmations (and blank cards to write your own)
vector of a woman laying back on a bean bag

Download the directory

No email address needed!

Holding image contains the words 'what is a self soothe box (and how to make one)

What is a Self Soothe Box?

A self soothe box contains items you’ve chosen that make you feel more relaxed and reduce symptoms of panic, anxiety, emotional distress or low mood. 

Dipping into what works to ground and calm you will obviously help to feel more at ease, especially when dealing with frustration, excitement or intense emotions.   

The activities you choose offer a distraction and help to break out of ‘being in your head’ and into the here and now.

Mindfulness activities are fabulous for grounding in the here and now and I would strongly recommend you make mindfulness part of your everyday life. 

Be pro-active and take a look at the simple activities you can do in my free mindfulness challenge.

My favourite:

Mindfulness card says "dance for no reason and notice how your body moves"

Using a self soothe box will help you to reset your bodily systems and gain control of your emotions. 

And the good news? Self soothing does become a habit.

What do you put in a Self Soothe Box?

Whilst you don’t need to know the science behind why an activity self soothes for it to work, you do need to be the one choosing what goes into your box.  It’s what makes YOU feel more grounded and balanced.

However, if you know what works for you but don’t have the time to get everything together, small independent businesses on Etsy make it easy and convenient.  Browse through self-soothe boxes on Etsy.

Your anxiety box should include a range of sensory things and something to focus your mind on, things that are self comforting for you.

If you’re not sure what does work for you, here’s some ideas for you to try.

27 Self sooth box ideas

… some of these are also effective for your mindfulness box ideas

Sight

  1. Choose a photo that always makes you smile.  Think about why it makes you smile.  Is it the people in the photo or is it the place?  What positive memory comes up for you?

Hearing

  1. Create a written playlist of calming or uplifting music on your mobile and keep a spare pair of earphones in your box (handy if you’re away and taken your self sooth kit with you).
  2. Save your favourite meditations from YouTube in a playlist too.
  3. Write down your favourite activities from apps such as the *Yours App.
Set of Icons Best Playlist for Music Collection Theme. Hand Thumb Up Gesture, Vinyl and Cd Disk, Dynamics and Record Player with Tape or Microphone and Smiling Emoji. Cartoon Vector Illustration
  • Writing down what you’ve saved and where will help to remind you.  When we’re anxious it’s hard to think through the fog!

Touch

  • Touch is a great distraction!  The movement slows breathing as well as the smoothing action taking you out of your thoughts.
  1. Add a stress ball
  2. Add a smooth pebble/stone 

I have a pebble I found a long time ago on a family day trip which not only soothes me but also holds the best memories.

a hand is holding a smooth round pebble
  1. Have you heard of the five-finger relaxation technique?  It works well for lessening anxiety and relaxing and is easy to learn.  This is another strategy you could write down on a postcard and keep in your box.

Taste

  • Being mindful or what you’re tasting and how it feels in your mouth is a great grounding and distraction technique.
  1. Herbal teas
  2. Favourite snacks
  3. Chewing gum
  4. Sucking on a hard boiled sweet
  5. Water – the act of sipping has a positive effect on the rhythm of breathing

Smell

  • Choose a scent for its calming properties or a smell you associate with feeling calm and safe.

Aromatherapy candle 

  1. Essential Oils

Tisserand Total De-Stress is my all-time favourite and is something I’m never without.  I keep the mist in my desk drawer and the pulse-point roller ball in my anxiety box.  It’s my ‘go to’ when I need calming and because I associate this scent with relaxing, it works pretty quickly.  And it doesn’t cost much!

A hand is holding up Tisserand Total De Stress spray

Strategies

  • Write the strategies that work for you on separate cards to act as reminders and to focus you. 

These are strategies that work for me:

  1. Focused breathing
  2. Body scan
  3. Muscle relaxation exercises
  4. 5 minute self massage
  5. 5-4-3-2-1 coping strategy – this is my favourite
card has the 5 4 3 2 1 coping strategy written on it

Positive Affirmations and Uplifting Quotes

  • Is there a positive affirmation that resonates with you?  Or maybe you have a favourite quote from a movie or book.  If there’s a song lyric that speaks to your heart (in an uplifting way!) include that too. 
  1. Write your favourite affirmations, quotes and song lyrics onto cards and keep in your box.

If you need inspiration, head on over to my 25 self-love affirmations.

Download a set of 30 blank cards (postcard size) for you to use in your self soothe box.

Print out, write what you need to and laminate for your comfort box.

Distraction

  • Have an activity in your box that gets you using a different part of your brain.
  1. Puzzle Book
  2. Colouring
  3. Drawing
  4. Knitting/crochet (if you don’t have a project on the go, keep a hook/needles and some yarn in your box)
  5. Reading – this doesn’t have to be a fiction book, you could choose poetry or a biography of someone who inspires you – but make sure there are no triggers
  6. Writing – just free write how you’re feeling – no need to edit or write what you think others want to hear – this is just for you
  7. You’ll need pens and paper too.

Download a mandala colouring book

Print out and put in your comfort box, ready to colour

front page of a free mandala colouring book with half a mandala outlined in blues and reds

I can hear you thinking ‘but doesn’t this sound like self-care?’ 

So … what is the difference between self care and self soothing?

  • Self soothing focuses on back-up skills we can use when we’re feeling overwhelmed.  We’re engaging in activities that change our feelings and our thoughts.  Self soothing is reactive.

*Have you used Yours App?  This might be all that you need! There’s over 300 activities of guided meditations, soothing soundscapes and handy life tips from psychology experts, the choice of what works is yours.  The NHS offer a year free to their staff so you know it’s highly rated.  Click here to find out more about the Yours App.

Related self-care posts

Free resources in brackets (  )

Last but not least! self soothe boxes are empowering.  It puts you in control, safe in the knowledge that you’ve chosen to add things that work for you. 

You’ve created the solution to calming your emotions.  And there’s no better feeling!

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