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Bad Day Emergency Kit

Having a self-care routine is essential for living a sustainable life, and that’s pretty common sense at this point for most of us. Nailing down that self-care routine or regimen isn’t easy and we’re probably all a work in progress. Then there’s those days where self-care regimens on their own may or may not cut it, and you might need an emergency tool. Something fun, light-hearted, and actually helpful to make and would work great as office gifts is making a “Bad Day Emergency Kit.” You could make a small simple kit or a bigger, more practical kit if you’re serious about making it work on those kick you in the ass days. This post focuses on suggestions for different kinds of items you might use to make your own BDEK!

Bad Day Emergency Kit for relaxation:


Find a small to medium container that on its own may look nostalgic, meaningful, or easy to decorate so you can make it look how you’d prefer. Basically, something more than a shoe box, unless a shoe box is meaningful to you. This could be a premade wooden box you find at a hobby shop, it could be a special container that you already have, or really—it could be a shoebox, especially if you decorate it. Choose your items for your relaxation bad day kit in this way:

1. Choose something to help distract you from the situation: This could be a fidget of some kind, a puzzle, a sudoku book, or something of that nature that helps your mind detach from what now feels like a bad day.

2. Choose something aromatic: Unless you find you are allergic to most aromatherapy tools, find a couple of aromas that you know trigger specific moods that may help you on a bad day. If you’d like to feel a slight energetic but peaceful burst of joy, bergamot, lemongrass or elemi are good choices. Pretty much anything citrus. Basil does a good job as well at providing a fresca style experience that can be refreshing and uplifting. Or, you may prefer a nostalgic smell and know that sandalwood or honeysuckle takes you back to better memories. Some mood-easing aromas that promote a sense of calm would include lavender and chamomile. Depending on your preference, you may prefer an aromatherapy tool such as oils. You can find oil rollers fairly cheap anywhere that sells essential oils and create your own combinations. The roller can allow you to utilize this aroma on the go, or conveniently to fit in your Bad Day Emergency Kit. You may also prefer an aromatherapy tool such as a candle, which would offer several more options and combinations but may be more expensive.

3. Choose something that can promote physical relaxation: Sure, you can’t actually fit a massage chair in a Bad Day Emergency Kit, but maybe something that could still stimulate a physical sensation of relaxation. If you are triggered by physical sensations pretty easily, it’s okay to skip this suggestion. Some examples of tools that can promote physical relaxation would be something like a headscratcher, a microwavable neck warmer (some of these also have an aromatic component! Two birds!), some cozy slippers, or a soft scarf. You know yourself better than anyone though, and only you can know what can help wind you down.

4. Choose something that brings you joy: This could be a picture of someone or something you love, an mp3 player with a Bad Day playlist of songs that are uplifting, it could be a book or a poem, maybe even an activity. Whatever it is, make sure this item brings you that feeling you get when you eat your favorite comfort food.

5. Other suggestions: The above are basic ideas. Some other suggestions could include affirmation cards, a list of your most helpful coping skills, instructions for breathing techniques, mindfulness tracks, A list of your support network, and the like. Some items to avoid obviously would be alcohol, cigarettes (I mean unless it’s a really REALLY bad day right?? No.), avoid overdoing any indulgent foods that are high in sugar or foods you know you probably don’t need, and avoid anything that could be triggering or promote any negative attitude even if it helps sometimes. For example, sometimes people like to use art or music as a coping skill, but some songs or kinds of art may magnify emotions and thoughts that may not be helpful right in the moment.


Think the Bad Day Emergency Kit is a good idea and want to share the joy with your friends? A great gift for office parties or even those we love are miniature BDEK’s.


For gifts:

Something that will be fun and helpful for your co workers and a great gift idea for any office celebration is making a small, tool-packed kit for co-workers to bust out on those super stressful days. You can go to any hobby store and find those pre-made card stock/cardboard gift boxes, just a few inches in length and width, and pack it full of little tokens to help keep people’s minds focused and motivated. You can make them relatively cheap too.

1. Chocolate – Throw in a piece of chocolate (except for anyone you know might be allergic or hates chocolate) because in small doses, chocolate can help boost endorphins and focus. Dark chocolate will provide best results for this, but don’t overdo it. The idea is to provide person-centered, sustainable stress relief tools, not facilitate a new unhealthy eating habit.

2. Revenge cards – The main piece to this tool is mostly for humor because laughing and joking is a great way to blow off steam. Should anyone use these cards, it’s best to make the revenge card light-hearted to avoid any actual blowout. Cards can be themed for certain issues, a favorite being cards that can be left for bad parkers. Something silly on the card like, “Parking is like coloring, you’re supposed to stay in the lines” can make someone laugh without even having to use it. But, should someone get the nerve to actually use it, it’s hard to imagine that a situation would actually go south over a benign passive aggressive note like that.

3. Funny comic strips – Just print some uplifting comics, cut, fold, add to the kit! For best results, try to stick with humor that’s relevant to your company’s culture, or circle of friends.

4. Small tokens and charms – It’s easy and quick to make friendship bracelets with inspirational charms. Again, this is a hobby store trip where you can find 10 or so charms sold together with sayings like, “hope,” “dreams,” “ambition” or something along those lines as well as some leather cord to braid some bracelets. Or, even without the braid, the quickest way is to just tie the charm on a cord as a keepsake!

5. Gum – Gum is a common stress reliever, especially if you work in a profession where people tend to smoke, gum is a great way to help in between those breaks.

6. Gift Cards – It may not seem like much but throwing in gift cards for fast food, restaurants or even coffee at a couple of bucks can make someone’s day!

7. Affirmation Cards – These are cards that focus on positive affirmations. They’re not humor related, just straight concentrated positivity. Some examples could include, “You’re a great person” or “You create meaning for the people you know.”

While the list is not exhaustive, hopefully it’s inspired you to create or think through what you feel you would need for your own kit, and how you could share this idea with others. Do you feel you could give your emergency kit a different edge or theme? Feel free to share in the comments below, and don’t forget to stop by the forum to share your own ideas!

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