Monday, September 12, 2011

self-soothe

life has been hard lately.  exhaustion, end of life for dear loved ones, mounting stress catching up with us.  it seems that this sort of experience always comes at the end of the summer season, doesn't it?  it's as if the whole northern hemisphere is dying, ending, preparing for a long season of rest before change comes in the spring.  


in many ways this aspect of the changing seasons can be incredibly beautiful.  we can use it as an opportunity to reflect on things in our own lives, seeing where we would be better off if we let certain things go.  in the big picture, i think it's a healthy, natural part of life.  still, it's important that we take care of ourselves during this time of universal melancholy.   


life can be big and hard, so how do you soothe your soul?  one of my favorite projects to do with clients in therapy is to create a self-soothing kit.  we brainstorm all of the things that the client finds incredibly fulfilling, whether it's relieving stress, recharging the spirit, or wrapping the person up in a proverbial blanket of emotional warmth.  it can be anything really, so long as it's meaningful to that person.  after brainstorming, they build their kit, placing in a box or bag everything from their list.  whenever they need a break from the world, they give themselves permission to spend an hour {or whatever time they choose} with their self-soothing kit, allowing no distractions to invade this sacred time {that means turning off cell phones, communicating with others about their unavailability, and finding a quiet spot}.


i can't tell you how powerful this can be in times of stress, sadness, or overwhelming feelings.  i like to think of it as another form of meditation, in that you're taking the time out of your busy life to care for your true self.

if you would like to create a self-soothing kit of your own...
here are some suggestions to get you started
{i find it's easier to brainstorm if you break your list down into the different senses}:
feel:  soft sweater, blanket, socks, eye mask, heating pad, nail polish,
face scrub, finger paints, back massager, lotions
do:  journal, sketchbook, pens, paints, coloring books, markers, jewelry making supplies,
other DIY project supplies, skirt for twirling in, recipes for baking
see:  magazines, books, compilation of favorite quotes or spiritual passages, funny comics, art, photos
 taste:  tea, chocolate, fruit, oatmeal, granola, lemon echinacea candies
smell:  candles, bath salts, essential oils, lotions
hear:  sound machine, musical instruments, a mix cd, or list of playlists stored
online or an ipod.  to get you started, i included one of my favorite self-soothing playlists here:



what would you put in your kit?


{all photos found on the fantastic tumblr page le petit bijou}

26 comments:

  1. Oh Kim, this is just so wonderful. Reading this post is incredibly calming in and of itself but to actually do the exercise is wonderful. Especially feel. I take great comfort in feeling something and noticing what I am feeling. Thank you for this.

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  2. Kim I so adore coming to your universe - it is soothing for the mind and soul. I will try and do this as we need that sacred space - will put a bit of you in there too :)
    Thanks for an amazing (as always) post of inspiration.
    Have a great day sweets,
    A xxx

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  3. Wonderful idea!! I have to put together a self-soothing kit now. It will definitely include a good book and lots and lots of tea!

    Belly B :)

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  4. That is such a wonderful idea! I would have tea, a good book, and meditation on my i-pod :) I hope things get easier for you, it sounds like you're going through a lot. xoxo

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  5. Okay I totally need to put one of these together for myself - I'm definitely going through a time in which I need to self-soothe.

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  6. What a great idea! I'd be putting in a camera and lots of SD cards along with a book or two, DIY craft supplies, and some peppermint tea. Sounds dreamy. I think I'll have to take this idea and run with it!

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  7. This is exactly what I needed this morning. It's so good of you to share. I need to put something like this together.

    I hope your month moves into good and gives you some rest; it sounds like you need it.

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  8. I love what's in your kit :) I would add socks and my dogs. I think might socks might break the kit.. they both are on diets tho lol.

    I know exactly what you mean with having things just plan pile up. I sometimes just tell myself I can only do my best and I can only do one thing at a time. :) have a great monday Kim.

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  9. Brilliant! I love this idea, Kim :) I would definitely want to be around loved ones - being around them always helps me put things in perspective. And some good old-fashioned pampering wouldn't hurt either ;)

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  10. What an awesome idea. Definitely going to start brainstorming on a little kit for myself!

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  11. Such a beautiful post, Kim, and LOVE the playlist. A Gem.

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  12. what a beautiful post and amazing idea! thank you for sharing this with us!

    -Adri
    www.macheriecreations.com

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  13. I love this idea. I like to knit and listen to mellow music to soothe myself. I also like to (non) creamy chia spice tea.great list.

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  14. Kim this is a wonderful post--I've been experiencing much of the same and taking time to pause, reflect and be still. This year fall is timely and a little hibernation is welcomed.

    xo,
    C

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  15. I'd for sure have Lavender and a good book to escape into. If I could put sunshine in my bag I'd have a square of it on hand to curl up in with a soft blanket and my book. Black licorice would be on the list too if it weren't for this no sugar thing I've been doing for a couple months.. =) sad, that makes me need my soothing kit just missing my black licorice

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  16. You are queen of brilliant ideas. My problem is that everything I want to put in my kit is a bit impractical: a kitchen to cook in, a grove of lilac bushes, the Milky Way as seen from the Grand Canyon. Maybe I can find ways to capture these things and fit them inside a bag.

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  17. your posts always come at the perfect time for me. my stress levels have been through the roof, and I think it would really be a good thing for me to sit back and think about the things that make me happy, content, full.

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  18. thank you for your beautiful and insightful advice kim xxx

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  19. Wow! So happy to have found your blog. It is beautiful and inspiring.

    I will be a new follower.

    My blog is about many things, including fostering gratitude, joy and peace. Come by if you have a moment...

    ~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking

    A Mother Seeking...

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  20. A self soothing kit is an amazing idea!! I could totally have used one this past weekend! I'm going to make myself one right away so that it's there the next time I need a little serenity!
    xox

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  21. JUST IN CASE you don't already know/love this tumblr: http://effyeahelephants.tumblr.com/

    not necessarily related to self-soothing, but actually, it's elephants, so totally relevant for some (including myself)

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  22. Great playlist girl!! I love Regina Spektor!

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  23. This is such a beautiful idea! Autumn and Winter always seem like such a great opportunity to get cosy inside and snuggle up on the sofa with blankets and hot chocolate/coffee and read a great book.. So I guess that's what would be in my kit!

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  24. I love this. I'm already thinking of items I will put in my "Kit". This calmed me just simply by reading. Actually partaking in this kit, I can only imagine is a beautiful thing.

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  25. What a great idea. And I am loving that there are so many iron and wine songs on your playlist--I'll have to check it out after my yoga class, something I do to relieve just a tiny bit of stress each week :)

    XOXO

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  26. Thank you for the sweet playlist, Kim! You are so thoughtful!

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