21 Things Everybody Should Collect And Keep For Their Emotional First Aid Kit


1. A packet of your favorite tea.

2. A list of things throughout your life you thought you would never get over (that you now have.)

3. A candle, essential oil or any form of scent you associate with being at peace. Use it a few times when you’re having a great day or feeling particularly happy, so when you reach for it again, scent recognition/muscle memory will take over.

4. A comfort item from childhood, even if its a newer version. (I watch Pocahontas.) It brings up happy times, sad times, just times you were younger and greener and you’ll feel like you’re wearing an old comfy sweater.

5. An old comfy sweater.

6. A letter from someone you love, or if you can, a small collection of them. Birthday cards from relatives who are no longer with you, letters your mom sent you in college, notes your best friend left you on post its, actual love letters from so-and-so. Holding in your hands the written evidence that you matter to someone heals more than you’d expect.

7. A “read this if you’re absolutely certain the worst is upon you” letter from yourself. Remind yourself of all the things you enjoy doing, all the reasons whatever you’re going through will pass just like everything else has, and that you, above anyone else, always have your own love and compassion, even if only in the form of this letter.

8. Your favorite book. The one that is light and funny and gets you so completely immersed in it you forget what’s going on in your own life. Alternatively, the book that’s helped you through the most, your bible of sorts.

9. A journal of epiphanies and liberating thoughts you’ve collected over time (some or all will definitely apply.)

10. The phone number of somebody who will come over and talk. The email address of someone who has offered to house you for a visit. The contact information for a professional you feel comfortable talking to, if you’re at that point.

11. A mix CD that includes songs from your childhood that you loved and songs that are just as sad as you are right now (relatability is cathartic, don’t overlook it) and if you’re really badass, audio recordings of interviews or Podcasts or lectures or meditations or YouTube videos that you absolutely love to listen to.

12. Prescribed medication (if you need it.)

13. Your favorite piece of chocolate or candy (the trick is to buy it, put it away in your little box and do everything in your power to forget it’s there, otherwise, it probably won’t make it to your Emotional Doomsday.)

14. A $20 bill, because you will probably need either alcohol, pizza, or a subway/train ticket somewhere other than wherever you are, (or all of the above.)

15. A religious or spiritual item, such as incense or prayer beads or a meditation/mantra that you like to use.

16. Crayons, paint or paper. I highly recommend drawing out your problems using stick figures and doodles and over-dramatizations and scribbles and whatever else your soul feels like projecting on paper. It will help. I promise.

17. A list of dreams just small enough to incite hope and just big enough to be aspirational. That one day you’d like to have your own baby, or climb a mountain and watch the sunset with someone you love, or actually fall in love, or visit a certain city, or publish an article, or decorate your home a certain way.

18. Photos to accompany that list, because visual stimulation is usually more effective. (And plus, it’s like having a physical Tumblr account, which speaks to the emotional teenager in all of us.)

19. A Disney movie. (Need this be further explained??)

20. A few travel size luxe self-care items. (A face mask, bath salts, lotions and potions and whatever else makes you feel totally at ease for a few minutes.)

21. An exhaustive list of (productive) things to think about other than the issue at hand.