Having to deal with depression and anxiety daily for years, I’ve had time to try a bunch of different techniques to help me cope with the effects. Mindfulness, exercise, therapy and even podcasts. The problem is that they either don’t work or I’ve become almost desensitised to the benefits after a while. It’s that or I just have a really weird head that gets bored with things quickly.
To be honest, it’s probably the latter!
Since I’ve tried the more common ways, I tried to create my own way to ground myself. My depression and anxiety love to hit me at the same time. Much the same as a child’s Christmas Eve box of goodies, I have a box of personal things to help keep me calm.
What is a Grounding Box?
A grounding box/a self-soothe box is a box of items that help calm and relax you when you’re panicking, stressed or in a low mood. It’s different to everyone that has one. What you might find calming might not work for anyone else. We’re just made that way!
It’s better to make this kind of box when your mood is positive. That way you’re able to think clearer and pick items that mean something to you.
Even though your box is unique, it’s important to include sensory items. They’re super helpful for grounding:
What’s in my Grounding Box?
The thing you’ve all been waiting for! The actual content of this blog post. I tend to waffle when I’ve done research into a subject. I wanted to make sure that I did this right. All of the items below might seem weird to you but they really help me.
For the sight portion of my box, I have pictures of my parents. While thinking of them really hurts sometimes, it leads me to start thinking of my childhood does make me smile. It’s fun to think of all the stupid memories that are connected to the pictures.
I have their wedding photos (I was only a sparkle in their eye but I still remember what my mum told me), postcards with positive affirmations (my friend Lindsey gave me those), snaps of places I’ve visited (Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Los Angeles) and more.
I also have a cat book that talks about autism but is full of cat photos! My friend Kate got it for my birthday this year and it’s so cute!
Smell is a big sense for me and I’m not talking about my massive nose! I’ve always been sensitive to different smells (both positive and negative). To help keep me relaxed, I have two scents connected to my parents. There’s Chanel No.5 for my mum and Brut for my dad. Whenever I smell these I just feel happy. My dad always bought Chanel for Mum as a gift and I continued to buy it after he passed away. Brut was my dad’s favourite aftershave and I would always smell this whenever he was getting ready to go out.
I have a small spray of each in the box for whenever I miss them. I even sprayed my memory teddy with Mum’s perfume for during the night,
Another fun sense for me. I have a brain stress ball that Mum gave me years ago that I still squeeze to this day. My box also has a fidget cube that I love playing with, especially the button I can click and move around. Even though I can’t fit these next two items into my box, I still have them close by:
- A red fluffy blanket
- My Brentsford weighted blanket
The weighted blanket was a birthday present to me. I’ve been wanting to own one of these for years but they were always super expensive. After seeing a friend chatting about hers on Twitter, I discovered this blanket that was so much cheaper! It’s a gorgeous pale pink and I’ve been lying with it over me during anxiety attacks. It feels great!
I’m super sensitive to sound so have to be picky with what I choose for my box. Even as I type this post, I can hear my new neighbour’s booming voice. It’s grating on my nerves but I have my red blanket to play with. I have the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and Enya on my old iPod (yes, I still use mine! haha!) to listen to. There is something really soothing about these two soundtracks. Enya has an incredible voice and the Fellowship of the Rings/Chronicles of Narnia make me feel safe.
Not in my box but use it with my box: my spotify playlist called Music That Makes Me Feel Better. Basically a 12h list of songs that do just that! I can listen to it when I feel the start of anxiety or when I’m sleepy.
The final sensory group in my box and the one I have to be a little careful with. Normally I could have a bar of my favourite chocolate in there or different snacks but these actually trigger me more. The life of having an eating disorder, I guess. Instead of snacks, I have relaxing teabags from Pukka and Heath & Heather! They make my favourite kinds of herbal tea and the tea also keeps me hydrated.
Normally I wouldn’t be too far in my head to grab water so tea does the trick.
What would be in your Grounding Box?