Incorporating more of what you want into everyday life
by Alicia Butler, November 17, 2022
Self-care jars are a fun way to incorporate more of what you want into your life.
Since using self-care jars, journaling, and vision boards, I have more self-awareness and more tools to deal with Big Feelings.
These jars are just one way to remember to practice self-care or to incorporate more feel good activities into your daily life. They’re also a great way to help deal with negative feelings in a pinch.
Are self-care jars a panacea to all life’s problems? Definitely not. But they do help bring me back to my center when I’m feeling out of whack.
This post may contain affiliate links, so if you buy something after clicking on a link, I might (fingers crossed!) just get a little commission. Good news: I only recommend products that I love! Which means you can feel good about all of my recs.
What is a self-care jar?
Self-care jars are vessels containing wisdom or ideas for when you need self-care inspiration. Ultimately, a self-care jar is what you want it to be.
Need to get out of your own head or a funk? Pull some wisdom out of your self-care jar.
Bored out of your noggin and need a kick in the pants to get sh*t done? Pull some boredom busters out of your self-care jar!
Craving some wisdom from your inner badass? Pull one of your favorite quotes or some words of your own wisdom from your jar.
What I love about these jars is that they’re so versatile and easily customizable. Your self-care jar shouldn’t just be a copy of someone else’s. It should reflect what self-care means to you.
Do I really need jars?
Nope! Though, they can be a helpful visual self-care tool.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember to practice self-care on my own, and these jars can be placed in prominent spots in my home to help me remember to use them regularly.
Though, you don’t need a jar or a box or any type of vessel at all, really.
You could make a self-care inspiration list or spreadsheet. Heck, you could even pick a few items off your self-care or feel good lists, make them into beautiful art on Canva, print them out, frame them, and display them in your home.
How to Make a Self-Care Jar
There are a few ways to make a self-care jar.
If you’re going the old-fashioned way, you’d simply write down your self-care goals (see self-care jar ideas below) on a piece of paper (or print out photos to represent them) and place them in a jar or other vessel.
When you need a little extra love and attention, pull one of your items out of the self-care jar.
I like to think of whatever I pull as a message from my wiser self. Consider it the self-oracle of truth. Whatever comes out of that jar is something I need to hear — and who better to glean these nuggets of wisdom than me, myself, and I?
5 Self-Care Jar Ideas: A Self-Care Jar for Every Occasion
Because I don’t believe in pigeonholing myself, I’m all about self-care jars for every occasion. Why have just one self-care jar when you could create different jars for every self-care need, from feeling good to big feelings and even languishing.
If you have a self-care vision board, you could take a few items off your board and include them in your jars.
1. Big Feelings Jar
Sometimes I need a little extra help talking myself off the ledge when I’m experiencing Big Feelings.
When it comes to processing and dealing with negative feelings like depression, anxiety, fear, and anger (or even accepting feedback), I use all the tips and tricks I can get my hands on.
Whenever I deal with one of these Big Feelings, I usually try to jot down a few thoughts on how I felt while the feeling was happening, how long it took for the feeling to subside, and how I felt once it was over.
Since our memories don’t always tell the truth, it’s easy to forget the reality of Big Feelings.
When I’m really depressed, I usually feel like I’ll never feel better again — though, I obviously feel better at some point.
For my Big Feelings jar, I write down lessons I’ve learned from Big Feelings past. That way when I encounter such feelings again, I have some advice (that just happens to be from the source — me!) to offer myself.
2. Feel Good Jar
Sometimes I just need to feel good. But if I’m in a funk, there’s a good chance my brain will spin out and nothing sounds like it will feel good.
Sometimes I honestly forget what feels good to me on any given day. And really, that’s because so many things in this world are wonderful (ranging from simple pleasures, like drinking ice water through a metal straw to crazy, big fun activities, like going on vacation or seeing live music) I just forget how I feel when I experience them.
If something feels really good, I write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my feel good jar.
If I’m struggling to come up with feel good things, I turn to my savoring lists. What is savoring? It’s the act of fully experiencing the moment — both the good and the bad. Savoring brings you back into the present, where there’s less of a chance of experiencing regret about the past or anxiety about the future.
Just some of the items in my feel good jar include:
- The hollow sound of wooden windchimes
- My sister’s dog, Milo
- Getting a pedicure
- Favorite songs, episodes of TV shows, and movies
- Top memories
- Rubbing my feet on a sheepskin rug
- Alternating between hot and cold water in the shower
Most of these are things I can conjure at a moment’s notice. I can pop outside to hear my windchimes whenever I want, though I often forget they’re out there! I can listen to my favorite songs or watch a quick episode of TV that I love.
3. Anti-Boredom Jar
I really hate boredom. Like really really hate it. And while I think that learning to lean into boredom is a good skill, sometimes boredom is just a sign that you need to shake things up and do something different.
A few of the items that are in my anti-boredom jar include:
- Work on my punch needle
- Read my book
- Clean the bathroom (and other tedious tasks)
- Take a 10-minute walk
- Visit the foot massage place in the mall
- Go to the bookstore
- Read one issue in my pile of unread New Yorkers
While I do realize that boredom is a feeling that shouldn’t be ignored or “fixed” by filling it with busy-play, the alternative usually involves me choosing to spend my time on something time-sucking, like Instagram or playing games on my phone.
4. Quote Jar
Another idea for a self-care jar is a quote jar. Write down some of your favorite inspirational quotes and put them in the jar (you can even decorate the outside of the jar with a quote).
When you need some inspiration or a creativity boost, pull a quote from the jar.
You could even pull a daily quote, as well as quotes as needed when you need some guidance with a problem. Add pulling a quote from your quote jar to your mindfulness morning routine to start your day right.
Think of it like your own little inspirational oracle.
5. Reward Jar
Self-care is rewarding yourself for doing the stuff you need to do to be an adult.
Personally, I think that you shouldn’t just reward yourself when you’ve completed a task or a project. Rewards should come both before the task and after it’s finished.
Make a list of ways to reward yourself for starting a new project, getting to certain milestones, and finishing your projects.
Print out your list or hand-write items on slips of paper. Decide when you’ll reward yourself before starting your project. You can even write your reward milestones on a piece of paper to tape to your jar.
The jar will be a visible reminder to work on your project or task and the rewards you’ll enjoy when you start and finish your task!
Just a few of the past rewards I’ve enjoyed during projects include:
- Foot massages
- Fancy coffees
- Movie rentals
- Back massagers
- Junk flow phone time
Of course, the rewards you choose should be tailored to your likes, wants, and projects.