“self-care” has been the it-word for years now, and something that has become heavily commercialized – companies have figured that it’s a great way to increase their profits by targeting people going through hard times because, heureka!, we’re made to feel great yet short-lived satisfaction from spending our money on things that don’t really help our health anyhow. think face masks, fancy candles, body oils, ice cream tubs, fluffy pillows and blankets, what-have-you. self-care kits are a big deal. shameless vanity is now hidden behind the word “self-care”, again, only available to those privileged enough (while it has been proven that the lower the social class, the more common mental illnesses are).
but i don’t wanna slam the whole concept of self-care here, not at all. self-care is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT (but shouldn’t require spending half your savings), no doubt about that. i think it’s great the fact that each person needs to step back and asses their own abilities, boundaries, and general state of mind is getting more and more discussed and encouraged, it certainly is a huge step toward wide acceptance of the reality of mental illnesses.
however, i don’t think it’s that good that we’re only focusing on the “self-” when it comes to caring. sure, it is important to finally let go of the societal pressure to be always 100% on and perfect and never allow yourself to fail, but only going for SELF-care is, um, selfish. imagine if we all only put our own needs to the spotlight and stayed completely ignorant to those of others – ugh, right? the world would be a horrible place (not that it’s not already). i believe that, just like it’s important to acknowledge one’s own limitations and seek comfort and safety, it is incredibly important to offer the same to the people around you. you know, just like that “no man is an island” bullshit – we oughta help each other. and care for each other, because only that way you can be sure that it will eventually be cared for you too.
but all this you-gotta-love-everyone-and-help-each-other is still actually not the point of my article. after a solid year of having anxiety, i’ve figured that i could ease the symptoms of an approaching/full-blown anxiety fit if i was equipped with things that could make the situation more bearable and less threatening. a list of things i always need to have in my backpack wherever i go to feel safe and prepared for anything that might happen. and then, at this year’s Black Lives Matter march, i realized that this little kit doesn’t always necessarily have to help me only, but can offer needed support and comfort to those around me, just like when my friend was feeling anxious and needed water to calm down, or when another one got hungry midst-march and i was able to pull up an apple and whole pack of cookies.
you know, we keep on talking about making public spaces safe(r) and meeting needs and demands of everyone, so why not transfer that to everyday life? why don’t we try to make all around us feel safe and cared for – and even if carrying a few things in your bag might sound stupid and not that important, trust me, such simple gesture of being able to offer someone in need something that can help them can go a really long way.
well, if you’re still reading this, congrats, you’ve finally gotten to the point of this post! as you can see above, i’ve selected a few items that are a must-have in my care-and-safety-for-everyone kit:
bottled water – an obvious one, right?
snacks – anxiety and stress can often be linked to hunger, so make sure to pack some energy bars, cookies, fruit etc.!
tampons – even when you’re not menstruating. even if you physically cannot menstruate. please always have a few menstrual products on you! (i’ve switched to the cup months ago but still always carry a few tampons in my cosmetic bags for all the menstruating cuties in need!)
power bank – i love these little magical devices! there’s nothing worse than feeling a panic attack approach and realizing you only have a few percent of battery left, which makes you panic even more, because what if you won’t even be able to call someone for help? nah, it’s good to know you can have access to all important contacts no matter what
pepper spray – you never know. there’s too much violence in this world. duh.
this little set can help both you and your friends/family/colleagues/whoever you’re with in (almost) any kind of situation. it’s time we update the cheesy saying to “being prepared and sharing is caring”, what do you think?