There is more to self-care than just sleeping in during the weekends or coloring your hair in an attractive shade. Real self-care is the consistent practice of caring for not only your physical needs, but also your emotional, and psychological well-being; when you take care of all these aspects, you are physically healthy, more confident, more productive at work, and can better manage life’s stressors more effectively.
Unfortunately, today’s society values productivity over taking rest; any attempt to slow down, seek assistance, or do anything for one’s self is regarded as a luxury or, worse, as being selfish. But the busier you are, the more self-care should be a priority; otherwise you will end up feeling overwhelmed, tired, and stressed.
The Self-Care Plan
A Self-Care Plan is a written guide, created by yourself which is filled with your favorite self-care activities and important reminders. It aims to help you balance your mental, physical, and emotional needs and bring you back “home” whenever you are feeling lost and overwhelmed.
Other benefits of a Self-Care Plan include:
- It’s a preventive measure. Make the self-care plan when you are NOT stressed, anxious, or angry, so that you are calm enough to be able to properly reflect on what you may need or have access to when you are going through a tough time. When the said time comes, at least you already have an idea of how you can cope or feel better.
- From a mindfulness point of view, having a self-care plan helps you respond instead of react to the situation at hand. When you have a plan in place, you’ll feel that events are controlled and less chaotic.
- Having a plan helps you establish routine, so you don’t wind up feeling isolated,unsupported, or unloved.
How to Create a Self-Care Plan
Step 1: List
List the different parts of your life that you need to show care. For example — Work, Physical Fitness, Emotional Life, Spiritual Life, etc.
Step 2: Categorize
For each of these categories, write down the activities, strategies, or coping mechanisms that you feel will help you manage stress better or contribute to your overall well-being.
For self-care in the workplace
- Engage in regular supervision or consulting with a more experienced colleague.
- Set up or join a peer-support group.
- Set up stricter boundaries between yourself and clients/customers.
- Attend professional development programs.
For self-care for the body
- Sleep and wake up by a certain time
- Eat more of a certain food group, less of another
- Take a one-hour lunch break, which includes time for a walk after eating
- Exercise regularly
For emotional or psychological self-care
- Keep a journal
- Engage in a hobby
- Turn off your email or work phone by a certain time at night and/or weekends
- Talk to your friends/family/mental health professional when you are going through a hard time
For spiritual self-care
- Go for walks, hikes, trips to the beach, or anything that puts you closer to nature
For relationship self-care
- Aim to arrive at work and leave at a certain time every day
- Prioritize close relationships in your life i.e. with partners, family, and children
- Attend the special events of your family and friend
Step 3: Share Your Self-Care Plan
When you share this plan with your closest friends and loved ones, they can help you in giving reminders (i.e. “Did you remember to meditate today?”) as well as hold you accountable (i.e. “You’re extra irritable yesterday because you stayed up all night watching Netflix instead of going to bed early.”)
Step 4: Remind
Keep your plan in a place where you can see it every day. Doing so will help you commit to the strategies you listed.
Step 5: Practice the activities regularly.
Just like an athlete doesn’t become fit by merely ‘thinking’ about fitness, you also can’t expect to perform effectively without putting into practice all your plans for your well-being.
Step 6: Assess your plans regularly.
Remember that your Self-Care Plan is not written in stone; you are free to make changes or adjustments depending on your life circumstances. Learn to find what works for you.
A Self-Care Plan can help you enhance your health and well-being, manage your stress, and maintain good relationships with others. Learn to identify activities and practices that support your well-being and help you cultivate self-love.
Written by Jacq of Mindnation