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:
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:
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.
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.