{My kit}

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

When we’re gripped by a particularly stubborn bout of body image blues — or a bad day (or both) — it helps to have a collection of things that’ll make us feel better, right now, in the moment. Something tangible we can turn to — without thinking about it.

That’s where an emergency kit comes in. This kit is your collection of healthy options.

And it can serve several functions. For instance, it can feature objects that make you laugh or smile, that soothe and calm you and that help you remember what’s truly important.

Having an assortment of objects helps you respond to your different needs.

Your body image emergency kit can contain: books, such as anything on body image, your favorite novel or a how-to on a hobby you’re passionate about; magazines; journals, such as a gratitude journal or a journal where you spill your feelings; photos of loves ones or your favorite activities; a list of healthy things to do; or other keepsakes that help to boost your mood or remind you of everything in your life that brings you joy.

My kit includes:

Bentlily: A collection of poems: poetry puts life into perspective and Samantha Reynolds’s work always helps me remember to notice life, one detail at a time. She reminds me of the power of paying attention, and of the power of writing — and how much fun it can be. For instance, she’s written a gorgeous poem about lint!

Additional books: Maya Stein’s two poetry collections; Susannah Conway’s book This I Know; Gerard Silvain and Henri Minczeles’s Yiddishland (a truly powerful book that also reminds me of the bigger picture — and just how ridiculously fortunate I am.)

My red journal, which reminds me to a) let my feelings and frustrations out on paper and b) that I’m so much more than a body for decoration.

Photos of my parents and Brian. My dad passed away over three years ago, but I always seek support from my mom and Brian. Plus, because I haven’t printed out photos in forever, they remind me to look at digital pics of my family, friends and baby cousin (who always makes me smile). They remind me of the many great people in my life I can turn to.

A list of 5 healthy things to do when I feel like crap:

1. breathe
2. talk to Brian or my mom
3. work out
4. get lost in a book
5. breathe

It also includes candles (which calm me down); my iPod (music also soothes me); a bookmark from McNally Jackson, another reminder about the power of books and bookstores (being in a bookstore makes me happy); a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”; and photos of nature. Even just looking out my window can sometimes be enough to focus on something else, something positive and nourishing.

Take some time today or this week to consider the many different objects, activities and people you can turn to when you’re struggling or just need a quick body image boost.

If possible, put your objects in one place, whether it’s on a table in your home or in a basket or box. Or just lay everything out, and snap a picture with your phone, like I did, so it’s always with you.

Think about what soothes you. What improves your mood? What makes you happy? What brings you joy? What makes you smile? What helps you move away from a negative space? What helps you process your emotions in healthy ways?

What will you include in your body positive emergency kit?

P.S., Don’t forget that I’m celebrating my birthday — Weightless is 3 this month! — by buying one reader a book of their choice. Enter to win on this post.