From DIY weighted blankets to things to fidget with, we’ve rounded up seven household items that can be repurposed to help soothe anxiety
According to wellnesscreatives.com, in the UK the health and wellness industry is worth a staggering £23 billion – with the global wellness market valued at an inconceivable $4.75 trillion.
When it comes to products designed to support our mental health and wellbeing, there’s a lot to choose from, and many can be very effective – offering us the support, distraction, and tools that we’re looking for. But you don’t have to break the bank in order to access these kinds of perks.
Here, we’ve collected together seven household items that can help soothe anxiety.
1. DIY weighted blanket
You may have heard of weighted blankets and their benefits – these blankets can range between three to 13 kilograms and can help with anxiety, stress, and sleep by enveloping you in their weight and putting your nervous system into ‘rest mode’. They’re increasing in popularity, with many people attesting to their benefits – that said, they do come with a price tag.
You can create a similar effect at home by layering up on blankets, slotting a couple of duvets into one duvet case to create a heavier comforter, or tucking yourself into bed snugly with a flat sheet.
You can also DIY your own blanket with two blankets and some weights (you could use coins, pebbles, or even rice). Follow weightedblanketguides.com’s guide for more information.
For when anxiety is threatening to stop you in your tracks, a trusty pair of sunglasses can be a tool to keep you going. Anxiety is often elevated by the environment we’re in, and the stimuli we’re engaging with. This could be a busy area with a lot of people around, or a lot of lights, or even noise. Putting on a pair of sunglasses can feel like putting up a small boundary, without impacting your ability to move around and engage with other people.
3. Rubber bands or hair bands
If you struggle with intrusive or spiraling anxious thoughts, a good way to try to snap back to the present moment is by having a band around your wrist, and pulling on it when you notice you’re entering into this mindset. The band shouldn’t be pulled hard enough that it hurts you, but the 'snapping' feeling should help to prompt you to bring your focus back to the moment, to tune into the sensations around you, and to reset your mind.
4. A cold flannel
When we’re experiencing high levels of anxiety, our bodies are flooded with adrenaline, and this can lead to us feeling hot and flushed. A cold flannel placed over your eyes and forehead may sound like a very simple trick – and it is – but it’s also effective.
In a similar way to the rubber band, the sensation can help bring you back to the present moment. But the coolness can also help soothe any flushed feelings that you might be experiencing. Run the flannel under the cold tap, or leave it in a bag or box in the fridge to cool down.
When it comes to massage, just our bare hands a dash of body oil or lotion can go a long way – and we’ve got a great guide to self-massage for beginners. But there are also things you can look for around your home, to help soothe stress and anxiety, and indulge in a little self-care.
A rolling pin can be a great way to work away at tense muscles and to add a soothing sensation into the mix. Or try rolling your foot over a golf or tennis ball to give your feet a treat – and you can also lean your back against a wall, placing a ball between you, to get those hard-to-reach spots.
6. Notes to self
Affirmations are a way of committing to, and visualising, our goals – whether that be to bring more gratitude into our lives, or a reminder to be kind and patient with ourselves. Write down some of your favorite affirmations (we’ve put together a list of eight soothing affirmations for when anxiety strikes) on pieces of paper or sticky notes, and leave them around your home in places you’ll see throughout the day – for example, by the mirror, on a bedside table, on the fridge, or by the front door.
7. Blu Tack
Ever feel fidgety and like you can’t keep still? Rolling a piece of Blu Tack between your fingers can be a great way to get that anxious energy out, while you try to get on with the rest of your day. You can also make your own playdough if you would like something bigger to knead your stress away with – and there are many very simple recipes that use only ingredients you have around the house.
Similarly, clicking a ball-point pen can offer some relief, and you may want to look into Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as ‘tapping’) to learn more about how repetitive movement and acupressure can support you.
Need support? Connect with a counsellor using counselling-directory.org.uk