Blog posts Mental health Special Days

How to create a self-harm distractions box

March 1st is self-harm/injury awareness day. I feel that self-harm/injury is spoken about so little. I understand that it isn’t nice to think about, but the reality is that it happens a lot more than you realise. It is hard to get statistics on how many people do because the majority of people won’t tell anyone.

I love that mental health is getting more awareness but I feel that self-harm has been left behind. I feel so much shame in the fact that I’ve self-harmed, more shame than having an eating disorder and mental illness. And every time I think about it, I tear up because of the amount of pain I was in to inflict it upon myself. It is a horrible thing to do to yourself but there needs to be less stigma surrounding it.

This is why I want to show you my mental health toolkit. I wish I could do a post on ‘x ways to stop self-harming’ but I honestly do not know how to. I think that because I wanted to stop, I could try to. If you don’t want to stop then it won’t work. But it isn’t something you can just snap out of and I really wish that people would stop saying ‘just don’t do it’ – it doesn’t work like that.

My self-harm distractions box

Firstly, I would just like to say that originally I made this box to help with my suicidal thoughts a few years back. Obviously suicidal thoughts & self-harm isn’t the same thing, but when I looked into this box it made me smile.

What I included

  • A box to put everything in
  • Stickers my sister gave me
  • Letters
  • A bubble bar
  • A photo album
  • A keyring
  • A giraffe pencil, biro, red marker & paper
  • Body spray that my mum gave me
  • Nail varnish that my cousin got me
  • A postcard from a friend
  • Rose hand cream
  • Best friend keyring
  • Little sister necklace
  • My favourite roll-on perfume
  • Starfish that my sister made me
  • Note from my friend
  • Origami star my brother made me
  • Bracelet my sister bought me
  • Self-harm helpline number
  • List of distractions

Now, you don’t need to include everything or even any, but these things all make me smile. I haven’t opened this box in a year or two which is encouraging really, because it means I haven’t felt so low that I needed it. Looking in it to write this post felt a bit like going through a memory box.

These aren’t just random items I chucked in a box, they all have a special meaning behind them so I’m going to talk you through them.

Why I included these items

The box

I think I bought this box from Paperchase but it can be any old box, like a shoebox. Or, it could be a bag, folder etc.

Stickers

My sister bought me these for my birthday when I was younger. Weirdly, I never liked to use them up so I just kept them in my stationary drawer. Maybe part of the reason I kept them in this box was because it reminded me of simpler times as a child.

Letters

There’s something so lovely about receiving a handwritten letter, so it’s nice to reread them.

Bubble bar

The Rose Jam bubble bar from Lush has always been my absolute favourite! Opening the box and having that smell waft through the room is so relaxing. It doesn’t have to be a bath bomb, it could be anything with a nice scent πŸ’—

Photo album

I look so much younger πŸ™ˆ Also, I didn’t want to put my friends’ faces on here so put an emoji over them. My friend made me this photo album for Christmas ages ago which was so sweet of her! I don’t talk to her that much anymore which kinda sucks.

Having some photos in your mental health toolkit are is good because you can look back on great memories ❀

Keyring

This keyring always makes me smile because I visited this adventure park one time on holiday.

Giraffe pencil, biro, red marker & paper

These things have more to do with self-harm than most of the other items. One of the few things that helped me fight an urge was scribbling on a piece of paper with a red marker. Specifically, a whiteboard pen or a felt tip. A biro was ok but I always just felt that it didn’t help so much. The pencil was there incase the pens ran out or if I wanted to use something else. Alternatively, ripping up the paper sometimes helped me.

Plus, the pencil is from a safari park I went to with my parents so it reminds me of that πŸ¦’

Body spray

This isn’t just a random perfume. My mum gave this to me and because I loved it so much, I didn’t want to use it all. Whenever I sprayed it, it reminded me of her which I think is important when you feel down. To remind you that people love you ❀ I’m wearing it as I write this πŸ₯°

Nail varnish

Once again, this isn’t a random nail varnish, it has a meaning behind it. My cousin bought it for me for my birthday (literally ages ago) so of course I put it in this box.

Postcard

One of my oldest friends sent me this about 8 years ago. We actually went to the same parts of France all the time, just never at the same time. She got me this postcard because of the cute cat! I always love receiving postcards, makes my heart melt ❀

Rose hand cream

Going to be totally honest, I’m not entirely sure why I put this in the box. I think maybe because rose is one of my favourite scents 🌹

Best friend keyring

This is one of those cute best friend heart things. I remember that my friend wasn’t that into necklaces so I found this (we were obsessed with them, though I can’t for the life of me remember what they are calledπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ). I thought it was perfect and so I treasured this deeply πŸ’ž

Little sister necklace

So this is kinda similar to the last item, except this is with my sister and me. This necklace was literally my most important pocession and the necklaces would connect which I still think is pretty cool tbh! πŸ’œ

Perfume

This used to be my favourite perfume, though I seem to remember it being purple…😬 I would say maybe don’t do this because if it’s your favourite, you should use it everyday! My current favourite perfume is Ghost which I put on most days because it just makes me that bit happier ✨

Starfish

My sister sent me this (many years ago) and I’ve always loved it ⭐

Origami star

I love this because my brother made it for me! I included something into this box that each of my family members made me to remind me that they love me ❀

Bracelett

My sister got me this when she went to Barcelona. I absolutely adore Spain and the colour of this bracelet so it was perfect for the box.

Helpline number

This is the self-harm helpline number for my county, Gloucestershire. Maybe don’t call/text it if you don’t live here. My teacher gave this card to me so I kept it in this box in case I didn’t have my phone with me or something.

Samaritans: 116 123

List of distractions

Last but not least, a list of distractions is always useful. Just incase, nothing in the box has already helped you, this might. ❀

You might be thinking, this is great…but what about something I can take with me everywhere? I had that same thought.

My self-harm distractions box | Pocket edition

I carried this around in my school bag, just incase I ever had an urge during school. It was really reassuring to know that there was some options for coping, especially if I didn’t want to tell anyone what was going on.

What I included

  • Pink bag to put everything in
  • Red marker & paper
  • A quartz bracelet
  • A bracelet I bought on holiday

These may seem like simple things but the red pen and paper really did help me. The bracelets were there as comfort ❀

I this helps someone reading this blog post, just a reminder that if you are struggling – please reach out to someone. If you don’t want to tell someone that knows you, text or call a helpline or you can text me. Don’t struggle alone xx

Best wishes Cx

38 thoughts on “How to create a self-harm distractions box”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I think this is such a great idea and is so helpful if you’re struggling.

    Tash x

  2. Such a good idea for those days you just need something to help you distract you! When I was struggling with mental health as a teenager, I started learning the piano as it kept my hands and mind busy!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

  3. Thank you for sharing angel, we need more posts like this! I feel like self-harm awareness is portrayed in such a bad light that when people speak about it they get accused of attention seeking when in reality its just good to talk about it more, get rid of the stigma! I think this is genuinely such an amazing idea and something i’ve not seen before and i love that everything has a meaning!

  4. Thank you for posting this. I personally used to self-harm too, haven’t done so in years thankfully but you are so right. It does not have much recognition as mental health and I think a lot of people struggle to talk about it.
    I never thought of doing something like this as a distraction but it is such a beautiful idea of how to cope, thank you for sharing x

  5. A couple of years ago I was in a very bad place and I self-harmed. The local mental health service was over stretched, so I never received any “treatment” for it. I am much better now, thankfully. I wish someone had suggested something like this to me then, it may have saved me a lot of hurt, physically and mentally. I am sure this post will help people.

  6. This is such a great idea and will definitely help so many people. I love that you have included things to reminisce about as well as things to treat and look after yourself with.

  7. Aw, thank you for sharing such a tough topic to talk about. I hope you are doing a lot better and I’m so glad that this box has helped you. It has so many sweet objects to make you feel better. I’m here anytime you need to talk! xx

    http://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

  8. Thanks for sharing, it’s sad to think about but nice to know that this helped you. (Also, I do love a hot chilli… I wouldn’t bite one just like that though!)

  9. This is my 1st time heard about self-harm distractions box! That is such an amazing idea. I have a lot of ‘positive’ distractions when I’m having a bad day πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing this x

  10. I love this idea. I haven’t seen one of these before but I love the idea of a box of items that make you smile, regardless of why you need it x

  11. This is an amazing post and I can imagine a lot of people would find this very helpful. It’s also a nice way to mark such an important month. I don’t struggle with self harm but with any mental illness, it’s important to have those distractions!

  12. I really loved reading this post. Thankfully, I have never had the urge to self-harm but making a distraction box is such a great idea for people who do. It was lovely to read about the special meanings behind all these items. I’m glad to know that you haven’t needed to open the box for a couple of years xx

  13. Hi Caroline,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Now a days Life is hectic. And the pressure is on the mind is very high. I used to read books when I am in such condition. Thank you for helping other Caroline with your free tips and advice.

    Thank you,
    Deepak

  14. I really love this box idea, it could be so comforting to someone struggling. Also great that you are posting about this as mental health and self harm need to be spoken about more. Rose Jam is my favourite bubble bar too πŸ™‚ x

  15. This is a heart-warming post that will help so many people who are struggling. Self-harm awareness is often a tough topic to discuss, as you say, so it is nice to see you creating valuable content that will help. I like the idea of creating a self-harm distractions box that focuses on items that make you smile. Each item with a special meaning and connection to something that makes you happy. πŸ’œ

    The pocket edition is also a useful addition, especially when you can’t access your distraction box. This post truly means so much; thank you so much for writing this. I am also happy that you haven’t opened this box in a year or two.🧑

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