When you decide to remove alcohol from your life there's no denying that you end up feeling all the feels. Things you may have avoided acknowledging and processing by drinking alcohol can suddenly land on your doorstep and you may feel a bit out of depth in managing this.
The good news is that there are lots of healthy strategies that can help you along the way to managing these potentially tricky times.
One of these strategies is creating a 'First Aid for Feelings' kit.
Alike a regular first aid kit, it's your go-to for when you're in (emotional) pain. It is your emergency kit for when you need an (emotional) plaster.
The idea is simple, find a box or alternative vessel and fill it with nice things that make you feel good.
It can help to focus your First Aid Kit items around your senses but you don't have to. It works best when the items in the kit are meaningful and personal to you.
Here are some examples of what you might like to include:
· Pictures of loved ones, pets, or any images that elicit a positive emotion or humour.
· Positive affirmations/quotes. These can be typed, hand written or cut outs from books/magazine etc.
· Jokes (the really terrible ones work the best)
· Books. Any genre that helps change your emotional state
· Singing a song (lyrics kept in the box if you don't know it off by heart)
· Musical instruments (they might not fit in your kit, well maybe a triangle, but it's good to have them around if you're musical)
· Reminders to listen to nature (birds, trees, water) or your favourite band/playlist
· Fabric or anything textured you enjoy the feel of
· Hand/body cream/scrub
· Stress balls/fidget toys
· Instructions to a short workout (star jumps, running on the spot, lunges, weights)
· Essential oils, perfumes, coffee granules, aftershaves, basically anything you like the smell of. Strong smells are good for managing strong emotions as they help ground you and get your emotional brain back 'online'. Strong smells can include deep heat, Olbas oil, Garlic.
· Anything you like the taste of, for example, chocolate, sweets, gum.
· Strong mints, sour sweets, ginger, chillies or anything spicy. This works well when experiencing cravings or very intense emotions as it forces your brain back 'online' which reduces the intensity of emotions.
Here's an example of how you might use the First Aid Kit:
You've had a stressful day at work and need to unwind.
You open your First Aid kit and grab the stress ball. You either squeeze the hell out of it or throw it repeatedly against the wall imagining it was the person who annoyed you today.
You then notice pictures of your friends which triggers positive memories of that trip you took together.
Whilst you're flicking through the pictures you grab a lemon sherbet lurking at the bottom of the box and can feel your taste buds coming alive.
You find the lyrics to your favourite song and sing this at the top of your voice (air guitar optional) because secretly you're an undiscovered rock star.
You then spritz yourself with your aftershave/perfume and feel awesome because you smell great, sound great, and feel great.
Maz's main profession is mental health nursing however she seems to collect qualifications and is also qualified in Counselling & Psychotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, and Personal Training & Nutrition. She's worked in mental health for almost 18 years with people of all ages, backgrounds, and challenges - she is extremely passionate about helping others.
Maz gave up alcohol in October 2021 and feels more like her authentic self than ever before. She's loved connecting with the OTI community and has achieved so much since her sober journey began. To join our community click here for exclusive access to all things alcohol-free.
What do you think of her idea? Do you have a tool that helps you cope with feelings? Comment below! :)