Emotional First Aid Kits

When you are feeling shame, flooded by emotion or simply raw, it is important to nurture your self.  As you show up for yourself in this way, you create a self-trust that builds resilience for life's obstacles.  Addiction recovery circles will suggest a model of reaching up (higher power), reaching in (journaling), and reaching out (support network or other safe individuals).  This is particularly valuable when shame is being brought to the surface.  It can be helpful to ask yourself what script you are hearing in your mind, or what story you are telling yourself about the given situation.
Emotional First Aid Kits are a valuable resource for coping with vulnerability hangovers, feeling flooded due to highly emotional situations, or when dealing with trauma. Consider having a kit in a bag that you can grab and take with you, should you find yourself just needing to 'get away' for a bit.  My husband actually refers to these as Emotional Preparedness Kits.  Ideally, you want things that will soothe each of your senses.  Consider how you would console a younger version of yourself and if there is something you can include that correlates.  Bubbles are a good addition, as using them forces you to take deep and slow breaths. Add a notecard with the contact information for your support network.  You may want to include encouraging notes from friends, reminders of hard things that you have accomplished, or reminders of the value in doing hard things.  When you find that shame is rearing its ugly head, and you are feeling icky and ugly yourself, do something that makes you feel beautiful in whatever way (nail polish is my go-to here, as it serves a dual purpose in reminding me how much I love to paint and do artistic things).  Use that then to work through the shame script that is playing in your head, and combat it with positive affirmations.  You are good.  You are enough.  You are so lovable and so very loved.  You matter.  Your voice matters.  Your story matters. 
You can use your Emotional First Aid Kit as a basis for regular self-care, which is important to practice on a daily basis.  When you are feeling a vulnerability hangover, however, double up on that self-care, practice intention, and consider even putting all of your focus into nursing that hangover.  Remember the advice from the airlines, to put your own oxygen mask on first.  As you practice this, you will find that you frequently rebound more quickly. 

Suggested Emotional First Aid items:
- bubbles
- crayons
- coloring book
- journal and pen
- pictures
- resource card
- chocolate
- soft blanket or stuffed animal
- therapy putty
- worry stone
- stress ball
- candle
- nail polish
- bath salts
- protein snack
- soothing music
- spiritual reading material
- list of affirmations


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