When you think of self-care, what comes to mind?
If you thought of going into a downward dog, eating a bowl full of kale and waking up to meditate, you’re not alone. While healthy eating and physical exercise are helpful practices when taking care of yourself, let’s look into the self-care basics to create a plan that is most meaningful to you.
Self-care is the intentional practice of identifying and caring for what you need, when you need it.
Self-care can look differently for everyone, but typically can include thinking of ways to fulfill your emotional, physical, social, spiritual and mental health needs. Practicing self-care can take seconds, minutes, hours or even days and weeks. (Can we say vacation, please?)
Engaging in self-care is an essential step to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. Regularly identifying and fulfilling our own needs helps us navigate the complex world of connecting with others and their needs.
When thinking of your needs and how you would like to fulfill them on a regular basis, we think of developing a self-care plan. Here are three ways you can begin to create a self-care plan for yourself:
Think of practices that give you peace of mind.
Depending on what you need to feel cared for, think of activities, practices and resources that help you get in touch with those “warm” feelings. Warm feelings can include feeling peaceful, satisfied, relaxed, relieved and of course, happy.
What helps you tap into your warm feelings?
Laughing is one of my favorite ways to tap into my warm feelings. In my self-care plan, I include listening to funny podcasts and watching stand-up comedy routines. Finding different sources that make me laugh helps me feel calm, happy and relaxed.
Create your self-care plan around your needs, schedule and routines.
Consider the times, moments or feelings that you would like to practice self-care for. After work? During lunch? When you’re feeling a heavy feeling, like anger, stress or anxiety? Choosing when and why you would like to practice self-care can be a starting place in making it a part of your every day routine.
Work towards consistently practicing your self-care plan.
After thinking of your self-care practices and designating time to use them, practice, practice, practice. We use the word practice so often, as to give space and patience to starting something new or different. There may be times when you forget or choose an activity that’s less satisfying to relieve stress or calm your heavier feelings. Hey, we are human and that happens. Allow self-compassion also be a part of your plan to take care of yourself.
When you’re beginning this practice, keep your self-care plan in a place that you can see it often, like your bathroom mirror or in the ‘Notes’ section of your phone. If it’s helpful to you, set a reminder or an alarm to remind yourself to practice. Ask a loved one to join you in your practice to hold each other accountable. Our hope in creating a self-care plan is to help you feel better, have resources ready-to-go when you need them and to strengthen your relationship with yourself and your needs.
What would you like to include in your self-care plan?