The Surprising Restorative Power of a Self-Care Box

Photo: Getty Images/Martin Novak
Even if you're generally the happiest person on the planet, you can't escape bad days. Work drama, waking up late, the weather, struggling with a chronic illness, or literally no reason at all—it happens. Because bad days don't discriminate and can strike at anytime, you have to be prepared—and one unbeatable battle weapon to combat them is something surprising: a self-care box.

At Chronicon, a conference for the chronic illness community organized by Nitika Chopra, a group of the panelists was asked how they cope with bad days when they're in that low spot that, in the moment, feels impossible to snap out of. And Mira Mariah, a tattoo artist and disability activist in New York City, said she always has a self-care box on hand that's filled with all the tools to help turn her day around.

"A huge part of my survival depends on my comfort and joy, so have tools around you that bring you comfort and joy. That can be face mists or a really good blanket. Or a very awesome sweatshirt or things that make you more comfortable," she says. "I really encourage people to find five items and make them accessible. I keep mine under my bed so I don't need to get out of my bed to retrieve them—I can just flip this box up and pull all these things out. They're my special items that are only for special bad days."

Having a box filled with things that make you feel happy and comforted is such an easy way to bring back some of those feel-good vibes. You can even decorate it to make it fun to pull out whenever you need it. I'm already thinking about what I want to put in mine... maybe my microwavable neck warmer (which smells like lavender!) and a pair of super-fuzzy socks, for starters. See? I'm already feeling better.

Here's how to incorporate food into your self-care routine. Then find out how to create a realistic self-care checklist you'll actually stick to.

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