Cuddle baskets and comfort boxes

“Cuddle baskets” or “comfort boxes” are a way of managing days when you feel lower or in more pain than is usual for you.    You can put them together yourself, at home, over a period of time or as an afternoon’s project.

The idea is to gather together small things that bring you comfort and help manage your pain or low feelings, so you can get the box out on a difficult day and make use of them.  The things you choose will be personal to you, but I have included some examples and links to examples further down the page.

Putting together your box is best done in advance, while you feel good and motivated – this will mean it is easier for you to identify your “good things” and have the ability to gather them together.  It is also a good idea to try including things which do not require a lot of energy or time to set up, as that might make it difficult for you to enjoy them when you need them.

You may want to put your things in a plain shoebox, an attractive basket or even treat yourself to a nice wooden lockbox or similar – it’s up to you!

If you find it difficult to think of things to include off the top of your head, you could ask your friends or relatives to help – you might even be able to make up boxes together.  You could set reminders to take special note of things you enjoy while in the moment – if it strikes you that “hey, I really enjoy this!”, could you include what you are doing in your box?

Examples of things you might like to include in your box (try to include all your senses!):

  • Warm slippers
  • Colouring books and good-quality pencils
  • A sachet of soup powder
  • Bath products
  • A book
  • A bar of chocolate
  • A small craft kit (such as cross-stitch, or a felt animal kit)
  • Something with your favourite fragrance
  • Photographs of a cheerful event
  • A favourite CD

Below are some blogs from people who have made these boxes.  What’s going in yours?

http://themighty.com/2015/11/the-29-things-i-put-in-my-fibromyalgia-cuddle-basket/#/ixzz3sTl95aOb

http://bridgetofthenorth.com/2012/09/04/comfort-box-a-little-box-of-you-support-and-self-help-when-you-need-it-most/

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/mobile/emergency.htm

http://thursdaygroupbook.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/making-comfort-box.html

https://forums.superbetter.com/showthread.php?2928-Comfort-Box-first-aid-kit-for-anxiety

Pain

I thought about pain when I watched Star Trek: V a little while ago.

If you don’t want to see spoilers, stop reading here.  If you don’t know the storyline, click here for a synopsis.

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One quotation stuck out in particular.  When Sybok has taken over the Enterprise, only Captain Kirk is left unaffected (the others being in some kind of blissful, dreamy state).  Sybok attempts to win Kirk over in the same way he did the others – by taking away Kirk’s “pain”.  However, Kirk fights against it.

“Don’t take away my pain!  I need my pain!” he screams.

This raised an interesting question for me.  Do we need our pain?  The ‘obvious’ immediate answer would be, “No!  It’s bad!”  Bear with me.

Pain, emotional and physical, is unfortunately an inevitable part of life.  The question is, what do you do afterwards?  How do you deal with that pain?  Where do you channel it?

Pain can spur us on to become angry, and anger need not always be destructive.  Channelled appropriately, it can provide energy to right wrongs and fight for justice.

Sybok’s mistake was not just to take away people’s pain and trauma, it was to do it without consent and in a way that took away a lot of the learning experience that could be gained by working through it at the person’s own pace.  Then he used the gratitude people felt to him to bend them to his will (and steal a starship)… eek!

Counselling cannot undo the past, it cannot remove sources of pain.  What it can do is help people process, understand, accept and decide how to move on – and help you find and develop your own tools to manage pain in the future.