Creating Your Own Toolbox

This month, I am dedicating my blog to “My Favorite Things.” We all are looking for simple ways to add balance into our lives, so this month I am going to share some favorite tools that I use to create more balance in my own life.

When reading these posts it is important to keep in mind that Balance is not one-size-fits-all. Maybe some of the tools I share will work for you, maybe none of them will; there is no right or wrong to this, as long as the tools you create for yourself work for you.

So, let’s start with the idea of Creating Your Own Toolbox….

What’s a Toolbox?
A toolbox is collection of things that you enjoy, that bring you comfort, that make you laugh or allow you to cry, and refresh you. In other words, a toolbox is where you store the self-care strategies you use throughout your week to look after yourself, and the ones you rely on when the chips are down.

We all have little self-care strategies we use to get through life, creating a toolbox just organizes them so that we can easily call upon them when needed. It’s like getting home from a long day of work without a plan for dinner; you find yourself standing in front of the refrigerator unable to see past the individual ingredients to a finished meal so you order out or eat junk and feel awful later.

Self-care is the same way. Without a plan, or toolbox, of how to care for yourself after a long day you end up watching TV all night, or zone out in front of the computer, and at the end of the night you do not feel any better, just numb.

By having a toolbox created before exhaustion sets in, you are able to easily pull from an assortment of tools that actually refresh you no matter how tired, stressed, overworked, depressed, or anxious you are feeling.

Sounds pretty simple, right? It is!

Here are 4 easy guidelines to follow in order to keep your toolbox straightforward and easy to use.

  1. Your toolbox can be literal or figurative as long as you can easily access it. This means taking the time to set up a clearly defined toolbox so that you aren’t stumbling for tools when you actually need them. Your toolbox can be a hand written list, a note in your phone, a shoebox you put reminders in, notes on your calendar, post it’s on your bathroom mirror, text messages from yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it exists.
  2. Add variety to your toolbox. Include things in your toolbox that you can do on your own, with friends, at home, at work, that cost money, that don’t cost money…. This way it won’t matter when or where you need to reach for a tool, you’ll have one that fits the situation.
  3. Think of your toolbox as a living thing, allow it to grow and evolve over time. Keep your eyes open for new and different things you can add to your toolbox so you are always excited to pull from your toolbox.
  4. Toolboxes and toolbox use are not black and white assignments. Cut yourself some slack if you forget to use your new toolbox from time to time. The point to having a toolbox is that you can easily pull from it when you want/need to but that does not mean you’ll never zone out in front of the TV again. And that’s OK!

What to keep in your toolbox

Again, what you keep in your toolbox is individual to you. This is the only way a toolbox will be really useful for you. But here are a few suggestions of things you may want to include in yours…

Free Things

  • Walks by the water
  • Walks around the building on breaks from work
  • At home spa days… Mani/Pedi’s, Facials, Hot Baths
  • Relaxation CD’s from the library
  • Podcast’s from iTunes
  • Audio books from the library
  • Journal writing
  • Gratitude Thinking
  • Catching up on sleep
  • Dog park (even if you don’t have a dog of your own)
  • Home cooked meals
  • Watching favorite movies
  • Listening to favorite music
  • Drawing/Painting/Scrapbooking
  • Attending the Farmer’s Markets in your area

Things to “splurge” on

  • Starbucks card
  • Coffee with a girlfriend
  • Late night coffee and desert date with husband
  • String Cheese and Baby Belle Cheese
  • Mani/Pedi
  • Facials
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Eyebrow waxing
  • Hot tea (especially after dinner)
  • Breakfast Happy Hour at Peso’s
  • Happy Hour after work with friends
  • Sunday brunch
  • Game night at home with friends
  • Weekly get together with friends to watch current Reality Show

So, what are you going to add to your toolbox today????



  1. Valerian Root | Caley Philipps April 11, 2010 at 10:07 am

    […] tool I always have on hand as part of my personal toolbox is Valerian […]

  2. […] Which is why I decided this amazing little gadget needed another post dedicated to it, and a formal mention as one of my favorite tools in my toolbox. […]

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