I wrote recently about how important self-care is, not just for those with chronic illness but for everyone.
Self-care can look different to each individual, from a certain exercise routine, to a certain diet. For me, self-care is about pacing myself through a day, making sure to rest at regular intervals to only expend small amounts of energy at once.
A “crash first-aid box” was something we were introduced to at a recent specialist ME CFS group. This is a box that contains the items that you need to allow you to work through a crash, the point at which you’ve run out of “spoons” and are struggling in more ways than one.
In my case when I crash, I’ve gone too far, can hardly stand let alone concentrate on something so my box is to stop me getting to that crash point. An early intervention if you will.
The box can be brought out before the crash takes hold. Before I lose the ability to stand. My darling hubby has had to endure many of my crashes and knows exactly what they look like, so is able to grab my first-aid box if he’s around.
In this article I’ll write about what items I’ve chosen to put in my box but very much on the understanding that it’s a work in progress. I know I can add or remove items from the box as and when necessary.
Here are the 15 items of my box currently:
I found this eye mask in Paperchase (a stationery shop in the UK) and thought it was so cute. I give it bonus points for the fact that it’s lavender scented, my favourite smell.
People with M.E. get hypersensitive to noise and light i.e. these things cause physical pain. For me, when this happens, I have to try to cut out the noise and light that is causing me such problems. This generally comes on when I’m even lower on spoons than normal, so at the end of the day, when I have an infection or I’m recovering from an event the day before.
Ear plugs and headphones
For the same reason as above, ear plugs and headphones are essentials for me to deal with the pain of noise when things all get too much.
Squeezy pineapple (stress ball)
When I crash, my mind goes into an all-or-nothing type of thinking. This is not good. These thoughts cause me to become overly anxious about nothing in particular, but also everything at once. For me, mindfulness is incredibly important when I’m crashing. Mindfulness is not the act of getting rid of any thoughts or feelings, but rather noticing them with kindness and allowing them to pass in their own time. The stress ball allows me to focus on the here and now and stop that all-or-nothing type of thinking in its tracks.
In a crash, I cry. A lot. Proper ugly tears. Not sure the tissues need much more explanation than that.
Anyone that knows me well knows that tea is my go-to drink. Tea solves everything for me. The tea bags in my crash box are my reminder to get that kettle on and have a brew.
Inhaler Nasal Stick
I have chronic sinusitis. I’ve had 2 operations to remove the polyps (non-cancerous growths) inside my sinuses but they’ve grown back, stubborn as ever. Vicks works wonders for me, especially in the winter months, and I love the smell of it.
A few years ago, I used to love using mindfulness colouring books. This habit ended after a while but every so often I do like to restart one of the images. Not sure whether these pencils will last in my first-aid box, whether I’ll actually use them, but they’re there in case I do decide to open up the colouring books again.
This card may seem completely random, but it reminds me of E. When she wants a cuddle (or “cuggle” in her words), she holds her arms up above her head, just like the animal in this picture. Cuddles with E melt my heart so this picture is a reminder of my cuddles with her.
If you follow me on Instagram (@mummyingme), you’ll know I like a good motivational quote. Some quotes are more naff than others but once you find a good one, I find it really does help.
It’s Gonna Be Okay book
I don’t intend to actually use the inside of this book but the quote on the front really speaks to me.
Tisserand Pulse point roller balls
Each one of these roller balls is made of a combination of essential oils. They are designed to be applied to your pulse points as a form of relaxation.
The box I chose was called “A Little Box of Mindfulness” but Tisserand also do a whole range of essential oils on their site.
Writing is hugely therapeutic for me, hence this blog. In a crash, I like to complete a “stream of consciousness”. This is a 10-minute exercise where you write down anything and everything that’s in your mind. This writing is not to be published or shared with anyone but purely as a type of therapy. It works brilliantly for me but may not be for everyone.
Got to have something to write with! Again, I found these pens in Paperchase. Really cute puns on each of them: “write on time”, “write your own story”, “write here, write now” and “very important pen”.
Similar to the mindfulness colouring books, I love a good wordsearch. Something to focus on when everything else in your mind seems to be swirling in no specific direction.
I found this notepad in the stationery section of John Lewis (a department store in the UK). The range of stationery this notepad is part of appears to be aimed at teenagers but the subtitles of each section resonated with me. As I wrote earlier, I tend to go into an all-or-nothing type of thinking in the middle of a crash. These questions on this notepad allow me to look at something from a different perspective.
What would you put in your “crash first-aid” box?Click to Tweet
Have you already got a “crash first aid” box? What is in yours? If you don’t, get making one soon. You never know what you’ll find on your search.
Until next time readers!
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