Packing Your Emotional First-Aid Kit

Walking around New York City, I often see emergency preparedness signs, the ones that tell you to make sure you have a plan and working supplies, such as flashlights, batteries, water, etc. 

I especially love the poster of one family's strategy, where under each family member's photo there is text describing what that individual will do. Under the dog, it says, "Grab the cat."

Emergency preparedness is important. But what about being prepared for emotional "emergencies"? Discouragement, loss, let-downs, and grief are no fun. So why not do something in advance to help make those times easier for yourself when they happen?

What would you put in your emotional first-aid kit?

Here are some ideas:

Items for your Emotional First-Aid Kit

* a playlist of uplifting and empowering music 

* selected poems and/or prayers to read 

* a journal to process your feelings

* a cash stash to spend on something nurturing: a yoga class, movie, or other activity

* a scented candle or essential oils that you love

* a list of films you can watch that make you laugh or feel strong

* colored pens/pencils or other art supplies

* pictures that make you feel good (could be art, places you've been, people who love you)

* lotion or bubble bath 

* a list of things to do

* a list of people to call

Find a fun box or if you're artsy, use a shoe box and turn its appearance into something that cheers you up.

Of everything on this list, my favorite is having a playlist prepared because music is so powerful and you can take it with you anywhere. I checked in with some colleagues to see what they would include in their "first-aid" playlist. Here are our picks!

Songs that Empower and Uplift

Roar by Katy Perry

Shake it Off by Taylor Swift

True Colors by Cyndi Lauper

the first 3 are a few of my playlist picks

I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

submitted by Tiffany Spilove, eating disorder and trauma specialist in the Philadelphia area

Bad Reputation by Joan Jet

submitted by Ella Dawson, sex writer who has contributed significantly to positive media and education on herpes

Believe in Love by The Dazz Band

submitted by Darryl Aiken-Afam, fitness, movement, healing and martial artist

Wildflowers by Tom Petty

submitted by psychologist, Julie Groveman, PsyD

Rio by Duran Duran

submitted by Lori Fauquier, Nurse Practitioner, telemedicine for women

The Largo Movement from Winter in the Four Seasons by Vivaldi

submitted by Edgard Danielson, PhD, Psychoanalyst

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

submitted by Janelle Marie Davis, founder of The STD Project

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

also submitted by Janelle Marie Davis, founder of The STD Project

What songs (or other items) would you add?

Don't put this off. You will thank yourself later!


About Melissa King, LMHC

I am a licensed mental health counselor in New York City with a psychotherapy office in the neighborhood of Murray Hill in Manhattan. Find out more about me here. I'd love to hear from you. Email me if there's a topic you'd like to read about here.


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