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Our lives are such that it is too easy to get stressed. Be it work pressure, family responsibilities, or our social lives, there’s just so much to juggle and boy, the struggle is real! If that wasn’t hard enough, 2020 has forced us to turn the spotlight on several other areas of our lives, including mental health.
For the longest time, I would spend my weekdays in auto-pilot mode, without giving much importance to self-care. Only in the last few months did I realise how my body and mind were crying out loud for some downtime!
Self-care is a pretty regularly used term on social media. In fact, I am sure you would have come across the term self-care on Instagram and Facebook a million times by now. To begin with, let me tell you that going to a spa or having a cup of hot chocolate is not enough. You have to do some inner work and spend quality time with yourself.
One weekend, I was whiling away my time on Google, when I came across The Thought Co. It immediately caught my interest and so, I began to scout for more details. I came across their offering — The Thought Box.
For those of you who are unaware, The Thought Box is a curation of scientifically researched activities that enable better mental health. Each tool in the box is engaging, fun, tried and tested by their clients in therapy.
You can pick between the ‘anxiety’ and ‘self-care’ box for now. No points for guessing, but I went for the self-care box.
Before ordering the self-care box, I decided to have a quick chat with the founder of The Thought Co, Priyanka Varma, who is also a practising clinical psychologist and counsellor.
Priyanka told us, “The kit is designed with the intention of making mental health care as something people want to actively engage in. It should be appealing, fun and not feel like a chore. The kits are based on the cognitive principles of CBT, REBT, and mindfulness. The idea is to have something relatable and doable along with taking care of one’s mental health, just like one takes care of their physical health.”
With such assurance, I decided to try out the box. This one has five types of activities that are designed to work with your thoughts and actions. Trust me, by the end of it, I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated.
There is, however, a clear disclaimer on the box: This is not supposed to replace therapy but to empower you with skills to take care of your mental health. So, ladies, do not think you don’t need those therapy sessions because this is only a value-add!
Let me now tell you all about the five activities!
I started with play-doh. Remember when we were kids, we would model the clay into all kinds of shapes and sizes. It truly was the best time of the day! Research suggests that these scented balls of goodness are designed to make you feel calm. The experience is so much fun, and it helps you stay grounded by engaging four out of five senses.
Next, I moved on to the ‘how to’ activity. We all have some thoughts that are difficult to get rid of. With this fun exercise, you can overcome that feeling. Believe me, it will help you feel at peace.
There’s one particular card that I loved. It talks about how to talk to yourself. We often define ourselves in different ways, be it through the eyes of our friends and family, social media, and society. But, what really matters is what you think of yourself. It tells you to become aware of your inner monologue and how it influences you. Moreover, it helps you view yourself in a positive light, by celebrating the parts that are going well for you.
I felt so good about myself after this activity!
The third activity I tried was based on reflective doing. There are various journal prompts that aid the beginning of your cathartic journey. Whether it’s the undo-list (things you want to stop doing) or if ‘I weren’t afraid, I would’, each activity forces you to delve deeper and understand yourself a little better.
Next, I moved on to ‘get to know me!’ I had so much fun playing this with a friend of mine. This game has three categories, each representing a part of your self-awareness, self-care and self-acceptance. For instance, one card has two levels. The first asks you to recognise two unhealthy ways in which you can cope with stress and change it. The second one asks you to do the same activity but recognise four unhealthy ways.
The last activity is ‘join the dots’. It literally made me go back to my childhood, and I had the best time.
Certainly! I think it’s a great way to de-stress and understand your thinking patterns. More importantly, it tries to help you make a change. Mental health is as important as physical health, and it’s time to pay equal attention to it! Although it’s a little pricey, retailing at Rs 1,200, it is worth a try.