Just like meal planning or figuring out what workout is best for you, self-care also takes planning and setting goals that work for you. When starting out, I strongly recommend creating a self-care plan to help you achieve your goals. When making a self-care plan or schedule try to set realistic, feasible targets that work with your lifestyle and needs! Here are some tips on creating your own self-care plan:
Step 1: Choose What Realms You Would Like to Improve
Within self-care there can be multiple realms or categories that we would like to care for. When starting out, it’s important to select which ones suit you and what areas you would like to focus on. They should feel meaningful and represent areas in your life that you would like to spend time nurturing. You may call these categories mind, body, spirit, or maybe physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. You may also want to consider having a self-care plan for your personal life and one for your professional; I encourage you to tailor these categories to your needs.
Step 2: Set Goals
Start with some high-level, realistic goals.
Step 3: Details
Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to create your activities, timelines, and supports.
Activities are ways in which you plan on achieving your goals. They should address what you need to do, not necessarily what you want to do. For example, if your goal is to get more exercise an activity could be walking outside or doing yoga at home. Try not to get this confused with activities that don’t actually promote self-care, such as staying up to 4 am to watch a TV show to take your mind off of troubles. These pleasurable activities may end up having the opposite effect and cause more exhaustion and challenges with daily functioning. Aim for what is best, not what is more fun or easy (I know easier said than done). It’s also important to note that activities can be things you don’t do, such as putting boundaries in your life or limiting a habit such as, spending less time on your phone or on social media.
Along with activities it’s important to set up Times for your activities. You can do this by setting short-term timelines to start and setting long-term timelines when self-care becomes more of a routine. For example, if your goal is to find time to unwind and an activity you chose is to journal, a short term timeline could be to journal once a week for 10 minutes. A long-term timeline could be to spend some time everyday to journal. Remember these timelines should act as a guide and not cause more stress. If you find your plan is too restrictive there is always the option to alter it.
Support is another important aspect to consider when making a self-care plan. Try to have a list of people you feel comfortable reaching out to to help you achieve your goals. This support team should be a source of support and encouragement as you establish your self-care routine.
And there you have it! It can feel overwhelming to create time for yourself, which is why self-care is a commitment and a practice, but also requires adapting in order to meet your needs. So I encourage you, check in with yourself, listen to your bodies, and make time for self-care. Make it fun and creative, I personally love taking dance breaks, being in nature, going for walks, and making art! What are your forms of self-care?
Thanks for reading,