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Bubbles floating through the air

Body and Soul: self-soothe kits

“It’s normal to have some worries but sometimes things around us make worries grow.”

Body & Soul is a charity based in London which helps people of all ages who’ve been affected by trauma.

BBC Children in Need funding goes towards Body & Soul’s Children’s Centre,  supporting children who are living with or affected by HIV. Body & Soul also receive BBC CiN funding towards their adoption programme, providing activities and support for children who’ve been adopted. Regardless of what they’re going through, Body & Soul are there to help children learn how to better recognise and understand their emotions, build healthy relationships and look after their physical wellbeing.

While the lockdown has been extremely challenging, Body & Soul has been able to continue delivering their services by adapting their support online. Alongside therapeutic appointments and workshops, they’ve been sharing different techniques to help the children they support cope with the upheaval and stress that lockdown has caused.

Jane is the Head of Children’s Services, and one activity that she has shared with the children and young people is making a self-soothe kit. A self-soothe kit is a tool to help you when you are experiencing overwhelming emotions to help reduce feelings of panic or worry. “You can prepare in advance and they are ready to help in the moment where you need them”, Jane explains. It contains a variety of things that you know will help you feel calmer and more relaxed, or remind you of positive things in your life.

Here’s how you could make your own:

Firstly, you will need a box – this can be of any size or shape. You can also decorate yours like Jane has: “It’s nice to decorate it because you want your kit to look inviting or pretty.”

Then you can start planning what to put inside. Jane has several suggestions of items that she has in her own self-soothe kit that she finds helpful. You might find some of them work for you too, or that there are other things you’d like.

A drawing of a rocket ship

The first item that Jane puts in her self-soothe kit is a rocket which helps her to relax by encouraging her to take notice of the world around her. Jane starts by finding 5 things that she can see, 4 things she can feel, 3 things she can hear, 2 that she can smell and 1 she can taste.

Jane holding a photo and a shell

The second set of items that Jane has chosen to include are some memories, in the form of some photos and a shell: “Memories are really helpful for reminding you of good things that have happened in your life and people that matter to you and love you so that can bring you away from the worries.” The photos are of her family, reminding her of the people she loves and the shell is from a lovely holiday.

Jane holding a fan

The third item Jane has included is a homemade fan made from a folded piece of paper. Jane has used a piece of newspaper: “They’re really easy to make!” When she waves the fan in front her face, the cool air helps her to calm down and feel better.

Jane holding a string bracelet

The fourth item is a bracelet which Jane uses to fidget with when she’s feeling stressed: “when you’re feeling uncomfortable because of the big worries you’ve got, it can often help to have something to do with your hands”. You could also make your own bracelet from a piece of string threading on pieces of pasta or beads, so you don’t have to buy anything new.

Jane blowing bubbles

The fifth and final item that Jane has shared is a bottle of bubbles, which children can use with adult supervision. Bubbles aren’t only fun, but also a lovely way to visualise getting your worries out of your head. Jane pictures something that she’s worried about, and then as she blows a bubble, pictures it floating away.

There are lots of other things you could put in a self-soothe kit. As Jane explains, “If you make one, don’t forget to put in the things that work for you: you might have some other ideas, that’s fine, just put in what works.”

Thanks so much Jane for sharing your self-soothe kit! What do you think you’d put in yours?

For anything involving crafts, do make sure children have the supervision of a grown-up. If you or someone you know has been affected by mental health issues, you can find further sources of support here.

Watch the film

For further resources and activities please head over to the Body & Soul website here
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