I’ve always been what you might call “Type A.” The list maker of my girlfriends. The meal prep on Sunday kind of gal. The planner of weekend getaways (complete with itinerary). The one who always knows exactly what the perfect gift is for every occasion for anyone. The sibling you call about the complete family history in well…. anything.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I started to learn more about my “perfectionism” and the anxiety I had been living with as a result of it my entire life. As it turns out, when you carry the desire to be perfect around with you, eventually it starts to weigh you down.
The last year has been a journey for me. “Self-care” has not come easy. You’re looking at a girl who during the first several massages she partook in to “relax,” spent 75% of the duration wondering when she would relax, and then being angry with herself for “not relaxing omg just calm down!” Which is why I started taking bubble baths at night…. Where I would read professional development books about how to be a better marketer in my career.
You can see the dangerous spiral I was spinning on.
But there is one thing that my list making, itinerary preparing, meal prepping personality does come in handy for when it comes to anxiety and self-care: my purse. Or, as I like to call it: my mental health self-care on the go.
Here’s what's in my purse, to help me deal with anxiety, and practice self-care whenever I want (bubble bath optional).
Aromatherapy Essential Oils: The kinds you can roll right onto your wrists. Right now, I have 3 different ones. This one, a blended mix known to help with migraines. This one, for stress. And this one, a cooling blend which helps relieve tension and anxiety.
Tums: When I am stressed or anxious, my stomach tends to bother me.
Pill Box: I like to always have my migraine medication with me, as I do suffer from frequent migraines. But since I also like to have Advil and other medications, I just keep a witty little pill box in my purse.
Makeup: Anxiety can trigger a wide range of emotions. You really never know when you’re going to be crying in the car (seriously). I like to keep foundation, mascara, some Q-tips, and chapstick in my purse for those emergency touch-ups.
Pop-up hairbrush: Everyone laughs, but no one ever declines when I offer this bad boy during a windy day.
Pen and paper: I started out as a journalist so I guess old habits die hard, but I also like to keep this on me because you can never discount the relief you get from quickly writing something down and letting it out.
Gum and mints: Nervous energy, plus mints soothe stomach cramps.
Realistically, most women carry half of this junk in their purses anyway. It’s just a matter of making sure I have what I need with me all of the time. When you have anxiety, preparation is half the battle.