How To Make An Emergency Self Care Kit (4 Steps)

A picture of an emergency self care kit with candles and incense and a board that says self care time.

Do you have a high level of stress in your life? Maybe you have a high-pressure career, are in a toxic relationship, or have a lot going on with your kids. 

Whatever the reason, stress can negatively impact our lives and if we aren’t careful, it can quickly lead to burnout

So what should we do to help manage our stress? 

Participate in more self care.  

The largest problem that I have personally experienced with using self-care to manage my stress, was that sometimes when I would come home after a long and stressful day, the last thing I wanted to do was—well anything else. 

I wanted to lay on the couch, watch my favorite show or videos, not move a muscle, stress-eat and cry.  

Just me? 

Unfortunately, while some people might consider those things “self-care” activities, they weren’t. I was participating in self-indulgent behavior to make myself momentarily feel better, instead of participating in things that were good for me and were going to make me feel better long term. 

And I’m not alone.  

According to the American Psychological Association thirty-eight percent of adults have eaten unhealthy foods or overeaten in the past month because of stress. And half of them report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.

However, if I had made myself an emergency self care kit, or emergency self-care box for high-stress times like those, maybe my stress would not have exploded to the level it did and I wouldn’t have had to go on stress leave from my career for over six months.  

A self-care kit could have changed everything for me. 

So in this post we are going to talk about what a self-care kit is, why you should have one, ideas for how to make you own, and what you should put in yours. 

*Disclosure: In this post I recommend products that I have purchased and/or used myself and all opinions expressed in these posts are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from at no extra cost to you. For more information please read our full disclosure in our Privacy Policy and Affiliate Disclosure.*

What is an emergency self care kit? 

A self-care kit, or a self-care box as it is also known as, is a collection of self-care activities, tools, and items that you easily can grab anytime you desperately need some self-care.  

By having these items all collected and stored in one place, it makes it much easier for you to follow through and participate in self-care, because you will already be prepared for the times that you really need it.  

Why do you need an emergency self care kit? 

1) To make better choices when you are stressed and exhausted 

It’s kind of funny. The times that we could use self-care the most—when we are stressed out and tired—are usually the times when we avoid participating in self-care.  

It does make sense if you think about it. Self-care often takes some thought and preparation, and when you are overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is think and prepare something. This can lead to us making unhealthy, but easy, choices. 

If we get the preparation and thought out of way before hand, it makes it much easier for us to reach for the self-care kit when we really need it. 

2) To stop making excuses

For years I kept telling myself that I didn’t have time for self-care because I was so busy. I worked a full-time demanding job, had two stepsons in extra-curricular activities every night of the week, had three dogs and a house to look after and so much more.  

Self-care was usually an afterthought, and I justified it with excuses. 

Oh, I don’t have time for a bath tonight, I guess I will watch an episode of a television show. 

I’m too tired to do my skin-care routine tonight, I will do it tomorrow. 

I don’t even know where my journal went. I will look later. 

However, if I had a self-care kit laying around, it would have been much harder for me to justify those excuses. 

3) To take all the guess work out of it 

For me, a lot of my stress is mental and emotional stress rather than physical stress. So that means that some days I don’t want to have to think about or make a single other decision for the day. 

Having a group of preselected self-care activities in a box takes most of the decision making out of the way.  

A cup of coffee or tea and a note that says self care comes first

How to build your own emergency self care kit 

1) Find a box to hold everything 

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a box, but you need some sort of container to keep everything together in one place.  

Some ideas are: 

  • A cardboard box 
  • A plastic container 
  • A chest 
  • A self-care drawer 
  • A basket 

It can be anything really. And you can make it as simple and basic, or as creative and decorative as you would like. 

I have seen people decorate shoeboxes or bedazzle a self-care chest, and I have seen people throw items into an old plastic container. 

It’s all up to you! 

2) Brainstorm ideas and create a list of self care activities you enjoy 

This is the stage where you decide what items you are going to put in your box. Pick out items and activities you really enjoy, and things that leave you feeling refreshed, recharged and like your best self. 

When I made my self care box, I tried to ensure that I had at least a few items from each of the eight areas of self-care, to ensure my kit was as well rounded as possible.  

For ideas on what to put in your kit, see the list below. 

3) Gather your self care items 

This is where I went around and gathered any items that were on my list that I already had laying around my home.  

Anything that was missing from my list I ordered on Amazon. 

4) Assemble your self care box 

Put your kit together in a way that makes sense for you. If you find yourself reaching for the chocolate more often, then ensure the chocolate is on top. If you have any heavier items, try to keep them on the bottom so that nothing breaks or gets squished. 

Remember, this kit is supposed to help relieve stress, not create more. 

20 item ideas for your self care kit

Here are 20 ideas of items that you can include in your self care box to give you some inspiration. For many of the ideas I also included links to some of my favorite products that are currently in my kit. Enjoy!

1) Face masks

There is just something about face masks that feel super pampering. Not to mention they are so great for your skin in the colder months. Single pack sheet masks like these are easy to fit inside of a self care box, and won’t take up a lot of space.

2) Bath bombs

If you aren’t new to this blog, you will know that baths are one of my favorite forms of self-care. Bath bombs can make a bath feel extra special, and like you put extra care into that activity. These ones come in a pack, but they come individually wrapped so you won’t get bath bomb all over your self care box.

3) Letters and notes from friends and family

When my friend told me she puts these into her self care kit, I thought it was the cutest idea on the planet. Love notes, kind words, and positive letters from your friends and family can really be that perfect pick-me-up when you are having a rough day.

Printed out texts or messages, or even photos work well for this too!

4) Skin care products

This is where I put my extra skin care products. Not the ones that I use in my everyday skin routine, but for days where I feel my skin needs something extra.

5) Nail polish

Keeping your favorite nail polish, or a special bottle, can help you to feel much better. I keep these color changing ones in my self care kit because I think they are really fun.

6) Chocolate

Can chocolate cure everything? Because sometimes I feel like it could. I stash some of my favorite chocolate in my kit, so that it is there when I really need it, but also so my husband and stepsons can’t eat it on me!

7) Comfort movies

With streaming services becoming even more popular, I wasn’t even going to include this in my list at first. But I do have physical DVD’s in my self care kit (and that ages me, but that is okay), so I figured I would include it.

Watching your favorite movie can be extremely comforting and soothing when you are having a bad day.

8) Calming essential oils

If you are an essential oil person, they are a great thing to include in your box.

9) A journal

Journaling is a great tool for stress relief. By keeping a journal in your self care kit, you have easy access to a safe place that you can express all of your thoughts and emotions about the hard time you might be going through.

10) Stickers

These motivational stickers make such a cute addition to any kit. Sometimes I will stick a few in my journal as I write, or I will even take some out and put them in places I can see them, like on my mirror, or my water bottle to help give me that extra boost in the days to come.

11) Pens

Not only are these pens beautiful and fun, but they are quick dry so if you are scribbling your thoughts down quickly into your journal you won’t smudge your writing all over.

12) Bubble bath

When I take a bath sometimes I don’t want to use a bath bomb, so I will use bubble bath instead.

13) Candles

It can be a good idea to keep one of your favorite candles in your kit so that it can help to sooth and relax you.

14) Tea or coffee

I personally don’t drink either, but plenty of our readers have suggested they love putting individual tea bags into their own kits.

15) Popcorn

Not only is popcorn a comforting snack for when you might need something to eat, but it keeps well for a long period of time.

16) Slippers or socks

Having something cozy and soft to put on your feet can help you to feel well taken care of.

17) Lip balm

Does anyone else feel like their lips seem to get chapped faster when they are stressed, or is it just me? Either way I find that having my favorite lip balm included in my kit reminds me to take care of my lips.

Having an emergency self care kit isn’t a bad thing. In fact, you can think of it as one more tool to put in your toolkit to ensure you reach you goals and are able to live the life you have always dreamed of.

Is there anything I’m missing from the list that you would like to see included? Feel free to reach out to me on social media and let me know!

Take care of yourself!

Scroll to Top