“What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever said?”, asked the boy.
“Help”, said the horse.
What a powerful message. It’s not easy to ask for help. Back in late May, I found myself needing to ask for more help than I am used to asking for. I’m not sure why I was so uncomfortable in asking for it. Perhaps it’s the Type A in me. Or the fact that I’m a mother and feel like asking for help would be a sign of weakness when all mothers “need to be strong.” Or lastly, the feeling that I felt it was a sign that I was was no longer resilient, which is something that those in the HR profession have been asked to be for the last several years, but even more so since COVID hit.
But I asked for help and since then, I have been on a long, winding journey. Along this journey, I have been in search of tangible skills, tools, and recommendations to help me along the way. And in this post, I would like to share one of these with you in case it resonates. It’s called the “Emotional First Aid Kit”.
What is an “Emotional First Aid Kit”? Well, it’s defined as simply a list of emotional wellness tools that can provide an immediate, although temporary, positive effect on how we are feeling and thinking. This can be a physical kit that you keep with you in your purse or by your desk or it could be something that you “translate” digitally onto your phone. Below, I’ve included 15 recommendations on what could be included in this toolkit. (Note that I found this wonderful, comprehensive list below via Yellow Door Counseling (www.yellowdoorcounselling.com)).
What to consider packing in your Emotional First Aid Kit:
- Grounding – a small ball or stone … that you can hold onto and calmly rub
- A list of people you can call – include 3 or 4 people who are emotionally supportive that you can telephone, email or text
- Journal – write down your feelings or draw, doodle or color
- Positive photographs and funny videos – people, pets, or special places
- Water- Don’t gulp, but rather sip, relax and be mindful of how you are feeling, or walk or sit by water, relax with the sight and sounds
- Inspirational reading – find comfort in reading poems, prayers, or stories
- Chewing gum – has a calming effect on the brain because the repetitive motion produces serotonin
- A relaxing audio – download guided imagery sound tracks on your smartphone or tablet
- Music – play it, listen, sing along, don’t listen to sad songs, or songs that remind you of a difficult time in your life
- Daily crossword or Sudoku – using the left side of our brain pulls us away from our emotional side
- Breathe – Consciously attend to breathing and relax
- Positive self-talk – “I can” and “I’m sufficient” messages
- Craft – Knit, crochet, scrapbook, sew, needlework, felting
- Exercise – walk, run, ride, dance, Zumba, yoga
- Stick with it – If you can tolerate feeling anxious, you’ll be less likely to avoid trying new things, and more likely to try things a second time
I share in my Instagram stories some of the ways that you can create this “digitally” in your phone. As I mentioned above, I am all about the physical, tangible tools to use and apply in my mental wellness journey. Remember, one of the bravest things you can do is ask for help.
What do you think about this list? Any that you might choose to add? Please let me know if the comments. Be well.