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, so this is why I have put together my on-the-go self-care kit for things I always take travelling.
Journal (an assortment of coloured pens)
In the technological world that we now live in (she says writing this on an iPad) the joy of actually taking a pen to paper and jotting down your thoughts or doodling or colouring can be a really nice action to do with your hands to refocus. I always have coloured pens as well as I am so visual, and I always associate bright colours with positive vibes! Whether you then tear up the note or keep track of your moods or feelings, can be useful. Doesn’t have to be a big notebook, I always carry a small one around with me (and have one next to my bed as well!)
Some form of mascot – a stuffed animal/security blanket
I always carry a scarf with me whenever I travel, and even having scarfs in my desk at work and in my car (and husband’s car). Something that is cosy and familiar to be able to physically wrap me in can be really soothing. When I am tired or stressed intend to want warmth, that feeling of cosiness and a scarf can really help with that. Whatever your security is, don’t be ashamed of it.
Headphones – noise cancelling is preferred
I am quite acutely aware of certain sounds and quite sensitive to the noise around me (great when you live in London!) so I always carry two sets of headphones with me wherever I go. I have a wireless set which are great in-ear ones and gives me the freedom to move, and also a pair of plug-in ones in case the wireless ones run out of battery. That way whenever I know that noise will be too much, generally commuting, or when I just feel a bit overwhelmed I can just pop them in and retreat into my own little world.
Essential oils – such as lavender
I struggle with sleeping even in my own 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. This isn’t for everyone, but ’scent memory’ (that nostalgia you get from a certain scent) can be quite soothing and calming. Whether it’s an 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 when I was homesick and be curled up in a duvet taco in bed. The magic was so real to me, that whenever I feel a bit low, I will always pick them up. Now I have them on my kindle I can carry them with me wherever I go, just in case.
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. I have even given other people in tears on the train as well.
I always have cold feet. Physically as well as sometimes mentally and emotionally! So I always have a pair of fluffy socks in my bag. For the office (usually, Harry Potter inspired!) and just keep my toes toasty. If my feet are cold I am generally cold all over, and it does feel like a bit of a luxury
As above, I am really sensitive to noise including when I am asleep, so I have earplugs with me to pop in for some peace and quiet. I don’t suffer from any ear issues when flying, so just have foam earplugs but there is quite an extensive range available.
Previously I have worked really early mornings and have blackout blinds and curtains to keep the sun out during the summer months, so when I travel I take a decent dark eye mask with me to make sure that I can sleep on the road and with jetlag
Full battery and numerous 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?