I know what you’re probably thinking: what’s a coping kit?
This episode of Therapy for Black Girls introduced me to the idea of a coping kit. Dr. Bradford explained the concept and provided ideas. Here’s my take on coping kits: simply put, the “kit” contains the items that help you get through those tough times. Whether you’re dealing with anxious thoughts, sadness, or other difficult emotions, the items in your coping kit are essential and can distract you if necessary.
I immediately made my kit after I listened to the podcast episode. The episode is less than 10 minutes long and is very insightful.
Here are a few thing to consider about coping kits:
How to build your kit
There are two ways I think you can build your kit. First, you can grab a box and add items that will “help you feel better.” For example, maybe you choose a teddy bear from your childhood, your favorite piece of candy, and a handwritten note from a loved one. This technique could be an excellent option for someone who is tactile.
I chose to build my kit by adding items that would activate or disrupt the five senses. Each item in my “kit” relates to a particular sense: touch, taste, smell, sight, or hearing. This technique is better for me because activating my senses helps to distract me from negative thoughts.
What’s in my kit
I’ll be honest with you: not everything in my coping kit is tactile, nor is it in a box. But here’s what I use to “cope”:
- Touch. If I’m feeling particularly anxious, I have a pair of warm and fuzzy socks that I will put on my feet. The comfort and coziness help me to feel more relaxed.
- Taste. I used to keep chocolate as my “taste” item, but I recently switched to all things ginger. I have ginger tea and ginger drink mix from Trader Joe’s. Ginger’s strong taste is powerful enough to distract me when I need it.
- Smell. Candles. I own SO many candles. But I save the citrus scents for when I need a distraction. The fresh and clean aromas help me clear the mental fog and racing thoughts.
- Sight. I have several unread books that I’ve purchased but haven’t read yet. I’m quick to grab a book and read it as a form of escapism. reading helps to put my mind at ease.
- Hearing. I have several playlists saved on my phone featuring lo-fi beats, classical music, or chill R&B and rap that help me relax. (Shout out to Spotify for the playlists!)
If you put all of these items together, my current coping kit is reading a good book while drinking tea and wearing socks with a candle burning in the background and listening to good music!
I typically save all five items of the kit for those really stressful and heightened emotional moments. Sometimes, simply reading a book or practicing mindfulness with a cup of tea can do the trick!
If you’re curious about self-care, check out these posts for more inspiration.
Do you have a coping kit? If so, what’s in your kit?