The Place


Calm-down kits to de-stress at school or work

Posted at 2:58 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 16:58:54-04

Em Capito, LCSW, stopped by to share the following information with us:

"Sometimes all the little stresses in our lives adds up to overwhelm, for us and our kids, especially at back-to-school time! Unfortunately, our go-to responses are often unhelpful, like yelling at our children, taking it out on our spouses, or reaching for sweet treats.

What if we could interrupt a meltdown quickly, while reinforcing healthy coping skills? It might be simpler than you would think. A calm down kit is easy to put together and have on hand to grab at the first sign of a breakdown.

We tend to become overwhelmed by everyday stress when we`re running on empty. Vulnerability factors include lack of sleep, hunger, an unrealistic schedule or deadline, and lack of exercise. Red flags are often irritability, procrastination and feeling emotional. When we sense that stress is running into the red in ourselves or our kids, we want to reduce the vulnerability factors quickly, restoring resilience.

In your own calm down kit, you might include a few items that soothe your nerves, such as:

  • Roll-on aromatherapy oil or mist: Lavender, lemon and peppermint are calming scents
  • Lotion: The act of massaging our hands together is a classic self-soothing technique
  • A small journal to help sort through your thoughts
  • A flavorful, sugar-free gum
  • Mindful prompts or cards to remind us of the bigger picture
  • A healthy snack, such as almonds, raisins or cheese crisps and a small water bottle

To create a calm down kit for your child, invite them to choose a few inexpensive, age-appropriate items that are tactile - like a fidget spinner or stress ball, or allow them to focus their minds on a quiet distraction from their stress, such as crossword puzzle or game.

A healthy snack and a small distraction can be a lifesaver in the midst of a chaotic afternoon of running errands or waiting in carpool!"

Fall is a great time invest in yourself and healthy routines. Em has affordable retreats, yoga classes, and therapy options to get you on track. Find more at