My emergency self-care kit to avoid burnouts


Burnouts are on the rise. You probably know a friend, parent or colleague that has experienced it. Maybe you even went through it yourself. 

Nowadays, exhaustion and stress are as much part of the office environment as coffee machines and foosball tables. Burnout has become such a common illness that The Guardian recently called it “a sinister and insidious epidemic”. A recent study showed that 36% of French people have faced burnout symptoms at work.

Entrepreneurs and burnout

The start-up industry is particularly affected. Long hours, highly competitive culture, and weekend emails are part of the work-life routine for entrepreneurs. Consequently, new terms have emerged: “founder burnout” and “startup stress”.

Having worked for several years in the start-up industry, I have not been spared. Often, I was not able to establish clear boundaries, which meant that I would get a lot of tasks to complete in a short amount of time. I believed that everything I did was urgent and crucial for the company I worked for. Regularly, I was brought to tears by what felt like life-or-death situations (even though, the act of sending mass emails would obviously not be qualified as such).

To avoid burning out, I created a self-care kit to open in case of emergency.

What is an emergency self-care kit?

The idea is fairly simple. You collect a few items – I have seven – and store them in a box or bag. When you are feeling particularly rough (because of a bad moment/day/week/year), you open it and use the items inside. Your kit is very personal, each item making you feel special in a specific way.

The 7 items I carry to practice self-care:

1. Messages from the people I love 

I love receiving and sending cards. They are inexpensive and small gestures that show appreciation and kindness. Reading messages from my friends and family is the best way to relax and feel loved.

→ If you’d like to send a note to make someone feel better, check Anthropologie, their cards are wonderful – like this, this and this.

2. Pen and papers

Writing has always helped me. It structures my thoughts and allows me to take a step back when I feel particularly anxious or sad. I often practice “gratitude log”, where I list 10 things I am grateful for. It can be important thoughts like “I’m thankful my family is healthy”, or smaller elements like “I just had a delicious dinner”.

→ I love Midori notebooks, the paper is great quality and perfect for bullet journaling.

3. Herbal tea to wind down

Herbal tea is well-known for its strong benefits: medicinal qualities, weight loss, muscles relaxation, etc. It obviously depends on the herb you use and the effects that particular herb can have on your metabolism. Personally, I use herbal tea every evening simply because I like the taste.

→ My favorite herbal tea has always been Clipper “Snore & Peace”, with organic chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender. It’s relaxing and gives me a peaceful mindset.

4. Lavender pillow spray

I have to write a disclaimer here: if you experience difficulties to fall asleep, pillow sprays will not magically make it better. Aromatherapy’s benefits are more psychological. The idea is to associate a smell with a particular feeling – for instance, a feeling of rest, calm and peace – to trigger the habit of falling asleep. It works quite well for me!

→ I use This Works pillow spray, it has a wonderful smell of lavender which helps me relax and fall asleep quickly.

5. Aloe vera for my hands

Aloe vera gel is wonderful: it soothes burns, reduces acne, moisturizes your skin, lightens blemishes and has anti-aging properties. It can even be used for your hair. When I feel anxious, the cold touch of aloe vera on my body helps immensely.

→ If you’re looking for a gel, I have been using – and loving! – Naissance aloe vera for 5 years now.

6. A fresh sheet mask

When I am freaking out, I have the tendency to open several apps, check my emails, browse social media, put on a podcast, read ten articles online… Putting a sheet mask on my face has great benefits – moisturizing my skin, for instance – but the main advantage is that it forces me to close my eyes, and disconnect.

→ After trying hundreds of sheet masks, the best ones I found are The Face Shop sheet masks. They are incredibly cheap on Amazon, and super gentle with my skin.

7. Scented candle

There is something to be said about scented candles. They are fantastic, and not only because they smell good. The ritual of lighting a candle and watching the flames is definitely therapeutic.

→ Recently, the Danish store Sostrene Grene released scented candles! I bought the scent “seaside”, which has a profoundly calming effect on me.

Do you have an emergency self-care kit? What’s inside?

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