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8 Things in My Mental Health Kit for the Holidays


I struggle with the hundreds of overwhelming emotions the emerge in my everyday life. As someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD), those feeling can either be amped up or totally shut off because my brain can’t stand to feel them anymore. That leads to other issues such as self-injury as a means of “releasing” feelings. I found the idea of “mental health kits” on Pinterest and decided to make my own. I keep mine in a backpack so that I can easily grab it and go wherever when I need it. This is especially important as the holidays approach. My family is full of loud personalities, making coping very difficult.

I hope that this list of items in my kit will give you ideas for your own, or even give you ideas for gifts for loved ones struggling with a mental illness. These items might help with grounding techniques and distraction options for anyone feeling overwhelmed by their surroundings.

1. A Soft Blanket

I have some sensory preferences and one of my favorite feelings is a soft blanket against my face.

2. Candy

I have various types: sour, sweet, hard, soft. Really pay attention to the candy as you eat it. Is it hard? Soft? Chewy? Sweet? Sour? Salty? Chocolatey? Fruity?

3. Fidget Toys

I have a cube and a spinner!

4. Your Favorite Book

Currently, mine is anything by Brene Brown. She’s amazing!

5. Safe Art Supplies

By safe, I mean no sharps — no scissors, craft knives, or sharpeners. Good ideas could include crayons, a coloring book, markers, paper to rip and paste and glue sticks.

6. Calm Jar

A calm jar is a jar or bottle filled with water, glue and glitter. You shake it up and then watch the glitter settle. Extremely mesmerizing.

7. Encouraging Notes or Letters From Loved Ones

Since people are not always immediately reachable or you may not feel like reaching out, already written letters to read and re-read are a good source of encouragement.

8. Journal

Writing is one of the best ways for me to get my feelings out of my head to begin processing them.

Wishing you all strength to get through your days.

 If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Getty image via ekinyalgin