Coping Boxes – What are they and how do I create one?

*This is not meant to be medical advice or replace advice from medical professionals. I am simply sharing a coping strategy that I have adopted*

A coping box is a tool that a person can add to their mental health toolbox. It is literally a box of things that can help you to cope in a distressing situation. If you can, keep your box somewhere that you will see it frequently so that it comes to your mind when you might need it. I also find it helpful to periodically take out the box when you are in a stable mood – you will remind yourself about the tools that you have, you can add to it, play around with the items a little, and it will be more salient to your mind when you are in need of it the most.

Above is a photo of my coping box. I bought mine (a plain white photo box) at a craft store but any box will do.

I chose the following items to put into my coping box because I thought that they would benefit me personally.

  • A notebook and pen to write with. I chose a bright yellow, sunny coloured notebook that I had at home. I got this one in a pack from Walmart, but you can also find them at the dollar store, or even on Amazon.
  • A few colouring pages that I printed off from the internet. Colouring is soothing to many people, myself included so I thought that these would make a nice addition
  • Some Play-doh. This is included to help keep my hands busy in case I have any thoughts of unhealthy coping strategies
  • A squishy ball is another way to keep my hands busy if the Play- doh doesn’t work
  • Some calming essential oils. I chose a lavender and roman chamomile because they work for me personally but there are many to choose from
  • A tea bag. I’m a big tea drinker and chose a blend that I find calming. Many people find chamomile works for this purpose so consider that for your box
  • A jar of bubbles. These are included to help slow my breathing in cases when I start to hyperventilate. I bought mine at the dollar store.
  • Finally, I used a soft covered photo book and filled it with inspirational quotes, funny memes, pictures of loved ones, and pictures of the ocean (which I find to be very comforting)

These things may or may not work for you. There are other items that can be included in a coping box, depending on your own personality and needs. But have fun and choose items that will work best for you and your needs!

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