Health Advocate Blog

Building your self-care toolbox

When feeling stressed, anxious, disconnected, or unable to cope, it’s common to turn to distractions like snacking, endless scrolling or mindless TV watching. A better alternative is to create a “self-care toolbox” made up of healthy strategies and resources that you can easily access whenever you need to relax, spark your energy, or boost your mood, as well as support your overall well-being. Try some of the toolkit items mentioned here that help in the following key ways:

Calms your mind, eases worries. Use meditation apps or create a soothing music playlist. Keep a journal of your daily thoughts, including issues that worry you (and any possible solutions)—jot them down before bed so they don’t keep you awake! Write down three things you are grateful for each day–expressing gratitude can help reduce depression and increase happiness.

Moves your body, boosts your energy. Whether you take a half-hour walk on your lunch hour or dance to lively music, you’ll be stoking up the feel-good brain hormones, and helping your heart, muscles, digestion and more. Post the motto “Sit less, move more” by your desk. Set a timer to help you get up and move every 30 to 60 minutes—stretch, walk around during calls, etc.

Increases connection. Opt for in-person experiences as much as possible.One idea:try prepping and cooking a new healthy recipe with family or friends. Or, pick a buddy for a weekly walk through the park or woods. Even if you just go alone, just being in nature is restorative and connects you to the outside world and yourself in immeasurable ways.

Stimulates your mind, sparks imagination. Keep a list of things you’d like to explore or experience—whether new farmer’s markets, unique sites nearby (check out Atlas Obscura), intriguing podcasts, upcoming events, or classes/courses to attend (browse the free courses offered through Coursera, your community college, or high school).

Keeps your thinking focused and positive. Post sayings or reminders on your mirror, computer monitor, or dashboard that can help you switch to a positive mindset, such as: I CAN do this, this WILL get better, I CAN work through this, etc.     

Lifts your spirits. Look for ways to do good for others. Volunteering for a cause, visiting an elderly or sick loved one, or helping a neighbor with chores can help boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. 

Still feeling stressed, depressed and unable to cope? Talk to your doctor about a referral to a qualified counselor, or contact a counselor yourself for help.