It was a couple of weekends into my stay at the psychiatric hospital when I was introduced to the concept of the wellness toolbox. It was described to me as a physical box which has a number of things in it that will bring you comfort in times of high emotion. It was suggested that it should be kept near your bed or somewhere that would be easily accessible to you in times of need.
Now I adore my bed (see the picture of me napping before I was going to a nightclub below). The prospect of falling in love with a man terrifies me because of the possibility that I might have to share a bed with him. When I was a young teenager, I remember telling my Mam that my future husband would have to have a separate bedroom from me. So as I heard more and more about this wellness toolbox, I realised that I could put my own quite personal spin on it.
The wellness toolbox needs to incorporate the five senses to help you ground yourself when you are in crisis mode. If you’ve never been in crisis mode then lucky you but if you have, you know how hard it is to think straight or to know what to do. Using the five senses helps an awful lot with this. I decided that I didn’t need a physical toolbox when I had my very well-loved bed in my room. This bed could be my wellness toolbox.
Touch. The first and most important sense I had to consider was touch. I find that I’m quite comforted by the feeling of a heavy blanket. I already have a king-sized duvet on my double bed to ensure that my long body is completely covered, but I added an extra-large, fluffy blanket to the mix. The feeling of the heavy blanket on top of me combined with the softness of the fur never fails to soothe me.
Sight. The aforementioned blanket is a bright red, which is probably my favourite colour. I also try to keep my room as clean as possible, because it feels awful to be tucked up in bed while staring at a lot of mess surrounding you. My laptop is also a constant fixture near my bed which means that I can watch programmes or looks at pictures when I’m feeling down. Also, my bedside locker always has a book on top of it.
Sound. As I mentioned, my laptop is never too faraway, which means that I can play some Lana Del Rey to calm me down whenever I need it. I live on a mainish road so there’s also a steady stream of traffic driving by which I find quite relaxing to listen to. It’s something to focus on when I’m trying to quiet certain thoughts.
Smell. I’m a big fan of candles and try to light one for close to an hour every night. My Mam also bought me an electric diffuser which I can evaporate essential oils in to make my room smell good. I always keep this filled beside my bed. My Mam (isn’t she an angel?) also bought me a lavender spray that I like to cover my pillow, duvet and blanket in as the smell really relaxes me.
Taste. Finally, for taste I use a range of different options. I adore salty foods so I keep a packet of salt and vinegar crisps in the top drawer of my bedside locker (if you’re reading this roommates, don’t even think about stealing them). I also have a hot chocolate in my bed every few days. I’ve always said that hot chocolate is very good for the soul. If I’m spending a couple of hours in my bed I’ll also bring cups of herbal tea with me. Who isn’t relaxed by herbal tea?
There are also a few new habits that I’ve gotten into regarding my bed. I wash my sheets once a week and change my pyjamas a little bit more often. Fresh sheets and fresh pyjamas definitely feel better than sex. I used to do a lot of work from my bed. I actually wrote my first book almost entirely while relaxing on it. But lately I’ve been trying not to do that. I think it’s good to keep my work at my desk or in my kitchen. It makes it easier to switch off when I’m tucked up in my bed (something I’ve always struggled with).
When I’ve had a bad day, I dream of running home to my bed and diving into it. Making it into such a lovely place has actually done wonders for my recovery and I’m so glad I’ve stumbled upon this really helpful method. It’s a complete immersion of the senses and it really is such a treat when you’re feeling down. Sometimes I think we resist treating ourselves in such luxurious ways because we feel that we don’t deserve it but I’m calling bullshit on that right now. Build yourself a spot that’s just for you. Build yourself a personal place that will bring you comfort. Build yourself a nest and you’ll never look back.
Read about how I brought myself back from a bad spell here.
Watch how I got on over four months where I had no sex hormones below: