My first stress jar came into existence in 2009 when I was desperately trying to pay down my credit card debt. Anytime I felt like stress shopping, stress going out with my friends, stress ordering takeout, or really stress spending money on anything I couldn't afford, I would grab a piece of paper from the jar and instead do what was written on it. Last week, the jar made a comeback with a goal of managing a new type of stress. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has traveled to almost every country, claiming lives and drastically changing the way we all live and work. Rather than stress shopping, I found myself tempted to stress binge the news, stress raid the pantry, or stress watch all six seasons of Downton Abbey in one sitting. The jar provides a little visual encouragement, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones.
It can go by any name: the Gratitude Jar, the Feel Better Jar, or the Joy Jar, just to name a few. I’m now calling mine the Self Love in the Time of Corona Jar.
The actual crafting of the jar can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. Kids can be enlisted for help and can even make their own. (My niece and I each made one, but she only wanted to put rocks in hers!) It can be as easy as a bowl with some shredded paper or a bejeweled wine glass with laminated labels. Mine is a simple mason jar with gold Sharpie stencils and strips of folded paper. It should be something that you don’t mind displaying. If you don’t have it out, you likely won’t use it. Once it’s crafted, it’s time to add the real substance. I use strips of paper that are two different lengths: long and short. Suggestions on long pieces of paper take me about twenty minutes or more, while suggestions on short pieces of paper take no longer than ten. What you write on the paper is entirely up to you. Try to come up with ideas that leave you feeling better than just good. Think about activities that leave you feeling content, peaceful, joyful, excited, energetic, amused, aware, or creative.
Here are some examples of what’s included in my jar:
- Five-minute meditation
- Write for twenty minutes
- Go for a long walk
- Tidy your desk
- Listen to a podcast
- Read a book that isn’t for work or school
- Call someone you love
- Plan a pretend trip
- Text a friend
- Listen to a guided meditation
- Re-pot a plant (I have a lot of houseplants)
- Draw for twenty minutes
Not sure what healthy behaviors to include in your jar? A Wellview Health Advisor can help with that! We have lots of ideas to help you get started and can even help you come up with ideas that are specific to you and your family.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– ERIN ALLEN, NBC-HWC, CPT, SFG1