#158 What’s in Your Toolbox? Simple Tips to Help Reduce Anxiety and Stress.

We all have a toolbox in our home. A toolbox is a collection of items that is there when we need it in case we have something to fix. All handy, and all in one place. It probably contains at least one of the following items- Hammer, wrench, nails, measuring tape, screw driver, etc.

We create these boxes for fixing things in our home, but have you ever thought to create your own personal toolbox to use as a coping mechanism?

I sure as hell didn’t. Not until I heard someone talk about their own list of things that they held inside of their boxes. When life got hard, when they felt down and out, or at rock bottom, these things that were inside of their box were there for them as tried and true helpful things to turn towards.

I have never thought about this in my life until this past year of grief and loss, but found myself looking for information on all things healing, change, and transitions. I joined grief groups, did classes, read a ton, educated myself on growth, loss and the process of it all. I thought I could fix the situation that was happening inside my body and mind.

There was no fixing the fact that my sister is dead. I couldn’t fix that, but I could try and fix myself, my relationships and more. I COULD FIX EVERYTHING! I wasn’t prepared for the dark days, the lowest lows, and those high waves that crashed all around me. I couldn’t swim, I just had to hold on until it passed. Sometimes it takes minutes, hours… days.

I really didn’t have much to cling to when this happens. All my research and effort of educating myself didn’t prepare me for these occurrences. There is something that does though, and when I learned about it, it felt like to me being in the upside down or Pan’s Labyrinth. Like someone had given me a magic key. A toolbox.

Someone once told me that every person wants to change, we all want to be happy, productive, and joyful, we just sometimes don’t know how. They then describe a wall that was in need of paint. You have wanted to paint it for year You were the painter and you had the color picked out. You were in your paint clothes. You set aside time to paint that wall. You open your toolbox, and all that is in there is a hammer and nails. No brush, no rollers.

You give up painting the wall. You tried, you showed up. That was enough wasn’t it? It just wasn’t meant to be, so you will just sit with the unpainted wall because trying again feels like too much, it is just too hard.

This is the magic of creating your very own tool box. A place you can go to remind you of what helps you. Not anyone else, just you. It is your own helpful kit.

How To Create Your Own Toolbox?

We start by making a list. Take out a piece of paper and write these things down.

What things sooth your soul? What calms you down, fills you with joy, or unruffles your feathers? What makes you feel less alone? What feels like a warm blanket and balm to your heart? What makes you feel grounded and less restless? What do you NEED right now?

Start writing this list. It may take you a few tries and you may end up removing some items or starting again. That is ok, just keep writing.

If you are feeling stuck, here are some of mine for inspiration-

~ Meditation

~ Warm bath

~ Scent Scapes (Lavender and bergamot)

~ Playing with a pet

~ Playing with a child

~ Herbal tea

~ A walk around the block

~ Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga moving with breath

~ A nourishing soup or cooking

~ A Warm shower

~ A Massage

~ Affirmations

~ A big hug

~ A big cry

~ A Phone call to a close friend

~ Journaling

~ Music

~ A Nap

~ Water

~ Therapy

When I am feeling anxious, restless, or irritable I stop and think about WHY I am feeling that way and I ask myself- “What do I need right now?”

Most of the times I can’t recall or do not have the energy or will power to help myself. I forget what fills me up. I just know that I am down, and I don’t have the momentum to think up what will make me feel better.

This is where your toolbox comes in. It will be there for you when you need it.

Where to Keep My Toolbox?

I highly suggest making copies of your toolbox. Laminate it if you have to and carry it in your purse or wallet. Make a copy on your phone for easy access. When you find yourself in a situation that is making your uncomfortable or distressed, pull out your toolbox and complete one or two of the things on your list. Then see how you feel afterwards.

It all seemed so simple. I started doing this and I can tell you that I noticed a change shortly afterwards in the time it took for me to feel like myself again. I had what I needed right in front of me that worked FOR ME. Not something that worked for other people, but my tools that were unique to my individual character.

Can Your Tool Box Change?

Absolutely! Your tool box might change, shift, and grow over the years as you discover new things that may help you on your life journey.

What’s in your toolbox? I would love to hear from you and learn about what helps you cope with stress and anxiety

I invite you to come join my Sunday evening Stress Relief classes. I started them for myself, and then turned them into a pay what you can class. I would love for you to join me each Sunday at 8pm EST 🙂

There is still room left to come sailing with my in Greece on June 18th 2022! Ready for something different? A once in a lifetime experience? Come sail with me. Details HERE

As always I am not a doctor or Guru. By listening to this podcast or reading this blog, you agree not to use this podcast or blog as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others, including but not limited to patients that you are treating.  Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.  This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast or blog.  

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