Everyone, even those without mental health conditions, needs to look after themselves, especially when they are on the road travelling. It is easy to forget to put yourself first and get caught up in the adventure. I have put together my on-the-go self-care kit for things I always take travelling.
In the technological world that we now live in, there is still a joy of actually taking a pen to paper. By jotting down your thoughts, doodling or colouring, it can be a soothing motion with your hands to refocus your mind. I always have coloured pens as well as bright colours means positive vibes! Journalling may even become a permanent self-care tool if you find it useful. I tend to feel as if several tornados are whirling around in my brain at any one time, so anything to help me focus my hands is a bonus. Some people find fidget spinners more practical, and it is just figuring out what works for your self-care.
Some form of mascot – a stuffed animal/security blanket
I always carry a wrap or scarf with me whenever I travel, and even leaving them in my desk at work and in my car (and husband’s car). Something that is cosy and familiar to be able to wrap me in physically can be soothing. When I am tired or stressed I tend to seek, warmth, that feeling of cosiness and a scarf can help with that. Whatever your security is, don’t be ashamed of it.
Headphones – noise cancelling is preferred
I am acutely aware of individual sounds and quite sensitive to the noise around me, so I always carry two sets of headphones with me wherever I go. I have a wireless pair which is great in-ear ones and gives me the freedom to move, and also a couple of plug-in ones in case the wireless ones run out of battery. That way whenever I know that noise will be too much, or when I feel a bit overwhelmed I can pop them in and retreat into my little world.
Essential oils – such as lavender
I struggle with sleeping even in my bed, but I have recently started using a lavender room spray to help with relaxing me before I sleep, which is quite actually pretty useful. I have other essential oils that I take with me when I travel to help calm and soothe the senses. Lemongrass (or anything citrus based) is very refreshing so great for in the morning. Eucalyptus is also really useful after flying to help with decongestion.
Although they aren’t for everyone, ’scent memory’ (that nostalgia you get from a particular scent) can be quite soothing and calming, whatever the format (oil, body lotion or perfume).
Harry Potter (or your favourite book)
When I was growing up, I read (and re-read) the whole Harry Potter series. They were an escape and comfort. The world that J.K. Rowling created seemed so real. I can always retreat to Hogwarts for some magical escapism.
Aw man, the number of times I have been on the train in tears, for no bloody reason and never had tissues to sort myself out. Now I always carry them and invest in a decent waterproof mascara.
I always have cold feet. I still have a pair of fuzzy socks in my bag to keep my toes toasty. If my feet are cold, I am generally cold all over, and it does feel a bit of luxurious.
I am susceptible to noise including when I am asleep, so I have earplugs with me to pop in for some peace. I don’t suffer from any ear issues when flying and found that foam earplugs are quite useful, but there is quite an extensive range available for your needs.
Previously I have worked early mornings and had blackout blinds and curtains to keep the sun out during the summer months. When I travel, I take a decent dark eye mask to make sure that I can sleep no matter where I am.
Full battery and stacks of offline playlists covering a variety of musical genres. Music is one of the most important things in my self-care kit; it helps to focus and balance my emotions. It is an escape or nostalgic or directional and could not cope without it.
What is the most important piece in your self-care kit?