SELF-CARE PLAN: Why You Need One & How To Create Your Own

By Reniel

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Last Updated: July 6, 2021

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Self-care is simply the process of taking care of your well-being. Self-care is a highly recommended practice for every human – and is doubly so for those who are recovering from or still facing some sort of challenges in life. It is personal and there is no one-size-fits-all plan for achieving it.      

In simple language, a self-care plan is a process of writing down (in your calendar) the activities that would lead to or maintain a state of well-being. It involves listing out routines and activities, with time stamps and constraints. It is about planning how to go about your daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly life in the healthiest way possible.     

Aspects of Self-Care

That being said, self-care is personal and so also should the plan. Going on the internet in search of a perfect self-care plan can be futile as all that can be found are generic and vague. This is because no two individuals live the same lives nor experience it the same way.

And that is beside the fact that your challenges may be slightly (or drastically) different from that of the next person. Hence, it is essential that you know how to create a self-care plan tailored specifically for your needs.    

To successfully do this, you need to first understand a few things. The first is the aspects of self-care that exist. Basically, there are six (6) major aspects of self-care, which exist for the six major aspects of your life respectively. They include

1. Physical self-care – This encompasses all activities that keep you physically healthy and fit.

2. Psychological self-care – These activities help improve your cognitive ability – your coordination, awareness, and openness to life experiences in general. It also keeps you clear-headed and enables you to logically address complex and convoluted events as they arise.

3. Emotional self-care – These activities help you enjoy the richness of experiences in your life, heal from unsavory incidents, and also create positive spaces for more enjoyment of life. 

4. Spiritual self-care – These are activities that bring about a sense of meaning and purpose to one’s life. They are, perhaps, the most personal of all self-cares.

5. Social self-care – This involves the health of your relationships – family, friends, colleagues, and so on. 

6. Professional self-care – These are activities that you perform to better prepare you to work effectively and efficiently. It helps you stay focused and achieve more on your career path.

Why You Need A Self-Care Plan

A self-care plan is more or less an anchor that keeps you tethered to a healthy lifestyle, preventing you from spiraling into habits and episodes that may be detrimental to you. It serves to motivate and helps you keep track of your progress. It also serves as a safety net, to help you even when you’ve failed to adhere to the routines and activities stipulated in the plan. In other words, the plan should make provisions for total failure.

For clarity purposes, below are the major reasons you need to create a self-care plan for yourself today:

  •     You know yourself better than anyone else: There’s no denying that everyone has different aspects of their lives that they wish to improve on. To some, it might be their physical health, whilst to others, it might be their emotional health. Whatever it is, you know best. If you find yourself experiencing deep emptiness, then eating more vegetables may not be the way to go. Hence, only you can create a self-care plan that would accurately reflect and solve your needs. Another point to note is that in your darkest times, you are the only person who can tell for a fact what the problem is, hence you are the person in the best position to make plans that can help out in such times.
  •     When you create a self-care plan for yourself, it also helps you narrow down your options to the best and most effective in each situation. For example, you might have beforehand decided that whenever you feel lonely, it would be best to call your mom, or you may have plans to reach out to your therapist whenever you start feeling depressed. Without a proper self-care plan, you might worry about who to reach out to when difficulties arise.
  •     Having a self-care plan also helps you with accountability. It would help you stick to a course of action. Having an accountability partner is also very helpful – and can be the difference between a successful self-care plan and a complete disaster.

 

How To Create A Self-Care Plan

1. Get to know yourself: Before you start drafting your course of action, you first need to know what your triggers are and how you have been coping. When faced with difficult situations, or experiencing difficult times, we usually resort to either handling it in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. For example, after a stressful day at work, you might decide to take a long shower, meditate, and sleep, or you might decide to drink beer or light a cigarette whilst binge-watching Netflix with cake, donuts, and pizzas on your plate. You need to note these behaviors, as they would help you know what aspects of your life you need to work on.

2. Acknowledge your need: After much observation, you have to decide that you need help. You need to accept that you need to work on certain areas of your life, and then you must list out these aspects of your life. Maybe you need to work on your weight, drinking habits, relationships, etc. Once you’re clear on this, the next step is to categorize your activities.

3. Categorize your activities: When creating a self-care routine, it is essential that you have a clear picture of what activities help in the diverse aspects of your life. For example:

Physical self-care

  •     Run or walk “X” amount of distance daily
  •     Drink “X” cups of water daily
  •     Eat a balanced diet (and eliminate junk food)
  •     Go to bed by “X” time, to ensure you get a sufficient amount of sleep every night

Psychological self-care

  •     Disconnect and relax from “X time” to “Y time” daily
  •     Block out time to meditate for at least “X hours” weekly 
  •     Write down your experiences and feelings in your journal (or audio records)
  •     Visit the therapist when feeling disenchanted

Emotional self-care

  •     Make “X” amount of friends in the new city
  •     Go out – see a movie, visit the park, enjoy an opera, etc.
  •     Spend quality time with friends and family
  •     Practice mindfulness

Spiritual self-care

  •     Pause, and reflect on what you are doing, and why you are doing it.
  •     Walk around in nature (barefooted if you can)
  •     Meditate, or go to a place of worship (church/mosque/temple)
  •     Volunteer or donate to a course you respect and support

Professional self-care

  •     Ask for insight, advice, and reviews from an experienced colleague
  •     Maintain strong boundaries
  •     Set up or visit the peer-support group
  •     Learn more about the profession (new development and better ways of doing things)

 

4. Take note of potential barriers/challenges: Your plans may not always go as smoothly as you envision, and you may not be in the best position to start thinking about solutions in the heat of the moment, that is why it is crucial to prepare for them beforehand. Hence, your self-care plan should have provisions for when you are in your worst states, as this would help you know exactly what to do – based on what has worked in the past as noted in your self-care plan.

5. Take note of your performance: The truth is that a plan doesn’t solve your problems; if anything it only highlights them. In essence, it is only half the battle and you would have a lot of work to do. You might find some aspects of the plan particularly challenging, especially the aspects of the plan that actively goes against your habits. 

That said, you need to examine your performance from time to time to see the aspects you are doing well, and the aspects you aren’t doing so well. Then you have to improve on the activities that you’re wavering on whilst doubling down on the activities that are working. This process might involve introducing (or substituting old activities with) new strategies and tools to help out.

6. Get an accountability partner: A very crucial part of the self-care plan is sharing the plan with someone who can hold you accountable – someone who can direct, review, and assist. This could be a friend or family member.

Conclusion

One major factor when it comes to self-care is being consistent with the plan and its execution. Self-care shouldn’t be a measure to correct the problem, but a preventive measure – it should be a way of life that should be embraced.

Also, note that you can always adjust activities in the plan to suit your current situations. So, ensure to remain sensitive to the changes that might occur in your life.    

 

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

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One comment on “SELF-CARE PLAN: Why You Need One & How To Create Your Own”

  1. Thank you for the wonderful advice on self care. After having had shingles in March, discovering I had a benign tumor on my ribs...a lump of adipose tissue ie.fat,I decided to avail of weight loss brought about by a bowel clear out in preparation for a colonoscopu& endoscopy on March 31st. I used this four lb weight loss as tge start of my weight loss journey!! To date and with the help of two paid apps,I have lost 19lbs.I am more informed re motivation and blocks to it. I am taking on board the advice contained in your as I continue my self care journey. So again...Thank you.

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