There's probably nothing I love more than a new, clarified self-care plan that sustains and nourishes all aspects of my well-being. Life flows more smoothly, I'm more grounded and calm, and good things just make their way into my reality on a more frequent basis.
Self-care plans need to be fluid and change along with you. You aren't going to be in the same place you were a year ago or in a year from now.
Therefore, it's so crucial to check-in with yourself every few months to reassess your current self-care needs, barriers and life circumstances.
A self-care plan is basically like a template you create for yourself that touches on all aspects of your well-being.
You'll think about and decide what you need in the areas of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual self-care. You could do more or less than this depending on what you deem important and necessary in your life.
I always go with the rule of the simpler, the better.
I think what trips a lot of people up is trying to fill out 16 columns of to-do's for their self-care plan and end up following none of it because of that. As a result, it's just too overwhelming and not practical.
That being said, other ideas for areas of self-care could be:
- free time
If there's an area that's really a need in your life currently, like "free time" for example, then I do add this into my self-care plan because it's important that it's woven into my life.
Examples of self-care activities
Firstly, I'm going to list several examples of self-care habits in the different areas so that you can begin to think about your current needs, desires, life demands and schedule.
Secondly, we'll go over how to begin to put this all together in order to create your own self-care plan.
Emotional self-care practices:
- mood & gratitude journaling
- time to sit with emotions
- identifying supportive relationships in your life
- seeking counseling or coaching to process things that feel too big
- cultivating positive beliefs
- inner child healing
- creating boundaries
- deep breathing
- being vulnerable with a close friend
Mental health self-care practices:
- taking time for self-reflection
- mood & gratitude journaling
- personal growth
- continuous pursuit of learning
- practicing mindfulness
- meeting your own personal needs before extending yourself out
- positive beliefs
- creating boundaries
- addressing & completing one's personal commitments
Physical self-care practices:
- rest and play
- keeping your body hydrated
- eating foods that make you feel good
- moving your body every day
- physical intimacy within close relationships
- deep breathing
- safe, nurturing living space
- energy healing
- medical/alternative care
- taking time off from work
Spiritual self-care practices:
- being open
- being outside in nature
- exploring spiritual beliefs
- being aware of your values
- gratitude journaling
- spiritual community
- nourishing spiritual practices
Professional self-care practices:
- keeping an organized work space
- listening to something inspirational or soothing while doing your tasks
- eating lunch without distractions, just being present
- taking advantage of workplace programs for wellbeing
- reducing anxiety by taking deep breaths throughout the day
- going for a walk on your breaks
- having a non-work related hobby
- creating work boundaries that support your professional life
- getting enough relaxation and good sleep
- shifting perspective from "I have to" to "I get to"
- creating a list of coping skills you can use when feeling overwhelmed
How to create your own self-care plan
Whenever I'm putting together a self-care plan for myself, I find it helpful to do some self-reflection. You need to assess your life circumstances, your current needs, what you want to release and what you want to bring in.
It's also helpful to pinpoint any negative coping strategies you currently have, such as endless scrolling of social media or drinking too much alcohol in order to decompress. When these types of habits aren't acknowledged or monitored, they can lead to depression and just a general sense of disconnection from self.
I like to get out a journal and first do a little bit of a mind/emotion dump to just clear my head and begin to hone in on the direction I want to go. Here are some journal prompt ideas for getting started:
- Recently, I've been feeling very...
- Things in life that have been stressing me out:
- People or situations that feel heavy:
- Ways I want to begin feeling:
- What does my ideal daily/weekly schedule look like?
- Things I want to start doing less of:
- Things I want to start doing more of:
- If my inner child had a voice, what boundaries would need to be created in my life right now in order for her/him to feel happy/safe/loved?
- Activities that really bring me back to myself are:
- Take a few of these prompts that speak to you and just write down what comes to your mind.
Sometimes your answers will even continue to change as you write them. Keep re-writing them until they feel right.
After doing this exercise a few times, the goal is to have a better idea and feel for what you're ready to release and what you're desiring to bring in.
Zero in on the feelings you want to cultivate and the boundaries you need to create in order to nurture these feelings.
Plugging everything in
The whole purpose of coming up with a self-care plan is NOT to follow it religiously or perfectly every day. The purpose is actually to serve more as a "game plan".
When you don't have a game plan, crap pretty much hits the fan. Same thing with self-care. When you don't even know how you feel, what you need or what activities nourish you, you're simply flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to your well-being.
And while I am a huge advocate of going with the flow, not having a self-care plan is not doing that. Because again, a self-care plan is really just an active awareness of your needs and desires. It's not a rigid schedule or routine.
This is why it is so extremely helpful to do these journal prompts every few months. Life situations, circumstances and feelings change. Desires change. It helps SO much to be aware of these things.
This awareness is your compass in life. Your compass points toward your well-being (not perfection, or goals, or any other trite thing). We all need a conscious awareness of what we're currently needing for our well-being.
Plug it all in with these bullet points:
- How I want to feel
- What I need every day/week to feel this way
- Activities that nourish these feelings
- Who I can ask for support
- Boundaries that protect my well-being
I keep a journal in my self-care basket which is in my living room currently. As a result, it's very simple to open it up, go straight to my last self-care plan session I had with myself and read over what I wrote.
In short, the more you keep your self-care plan at the forefront of your mind, the better chances you have of cultivating well-being for yourself. Please remember: you matter. You matter so much. The best gift you could give to those you love is to believe you matter and make sure you are tending to your well-being.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you'd like more tangible self-care resources, like self-care worksheets and morning self-care routine tools, check out the Dwell in Magic shop. I have lots of different bundles over there that help cement self-care into your every day life.
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Thank you for reading,
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