Cultivating Serenity

With many of us stuck at home, it is becoming harder and harder to find the line between healthy boundaries with work, sleep, and play. The dreamy days of going to yoga, or meeting up with friends after a hard day of work seem a distant memory to many of us now. I am here to tell you that I am right there with you. That is why we must commit to taking care of ourselves in creative ways.

As a mental health therapist, I was once urged to create a self-soothe kit. I was told it was essential to my survival in this field to take care of myself on a daily basis. It was great advice, but I stridently ignored it – I was fine. Years later, when a series of challenges, both personal and professional, came my way I was seemingly not-so-fine and struggling to find ways to care for myself in a restorative fashion. I remembered that distant voice from years ago that had urged me to make a self-soothe kit. I mustered up the strength to start looking up ideas and built my own practice of restorative care.

In today’s world, we desperately need time to heal. While human connection and contact is vital, so is the personal practice of caring for ourselves – it is a gift that nobody else can give you. In the spirit of taking my own advice once again, I looked around my home (which is now my office, too!) for inspiration for a new self-soothe kit.


1. A piece of selenite, a crystal thought by some to have healing powers for clarity: this was a gift that I was never quite sure what to do with before. It now sits on my desk as a reminder that I do not hold all the answers and I do not need to.

2. A framed sketch of a peony, my favorite flower, made by a friend: this one just makes me smile, as it reminds me of my friend and all the many metaphors that flowers and nature bring to my mind.

3. A small candle: another gift, this is honey lavender scented. I have been lighting it when I notice myself getting more tense and I need a moment to meditate and breathe in the soothing aroma for a few minutes.

4. A face mask: I know what you are thinking. Not the surgical masks that are sold out everywhere and in short supply for medical professionals. This one is the type that you buy at a skincare store and apply to your face to relax you. I have tried this after a long day of work, and in just 15 minutes, I have felt so much more centered.

If you are thinking about building your own self-soothe kit and building a practice, you need not rush to the stores or online shopping. Look first at home with a creative eye for what is right in front of you. All my soothing items were gifts from friends that I had not gotten around to enjoying yet. See what splendors are in your home and create a small basket of treasures to take care of yourself. You deserve it!