I recently heard the idea of a “coping box” as a way to self-soothe during times of high-intensity emotions. The coping box is a collection of items gathered in one spot, such as a box or basket, that can be used for comfort and self-care during distress. This could have helped me a lot while I was struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. So I thought I’d share the idea, in case you’d like to try it. Think of it as a gift to yourself to be opened in a time of need, and get creative with it!
What should go into your coping box? Think of the five senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Which of those do you find yourself turning to for self-soothing, maybe without even realizing it? Do you enjoy sweets when you’re stressed? If so, maybe include some dark chocolate in your coping box. Does music calm you when you’re upset? So put some music in there! Do you love to wrap yourself in a favorite sweater or blanket when you’re sad? If so, include some lotion or a soft scarf or even some Play-Doh or a stress ball in your coping box.
I also love the idea of writing yourself a letter for a rainy day and placing it in the box to be read later. If you’re not up for writing your own letter, why not print out one of these Mother’s Day Rally letters?
The important thing to remember is that the coping box won’t work if it remains stashed under your bed, out of sight. Consider decorating a box or choosing a pretty basket and placing it in a location where it will be visible to you.
My coping box would include my favorite comfort items, such as essential oils and aromatherapy, some Rescue Remedy, a book of poems. It would also include items I cherish, such as photos of my son, a bottle of bubble bath, some pretty nail polish, a candle, a mix CD of my favorite songs, some decadent hand lotion, a coloring book and crayons, some hand-written quotes I love, herbal tea, and candy.
What would your coping box contain, and why? Do you think you would turn to it during times of stress, sadness, or anxiety?