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Self-Care Plan Ideas

Self-Care Plan Ideas

Published: Apr. 8, 2021Updated: Jan. 20, 2023

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Use these ideas to build your self-care plan based on the areas of focus that you identified with our checklist (remove any areas you’re satisfied with, and add any others that may apply to your situation). Think of your self-care plan as a plan that evolves with you, and revisit it regularly.

Make a calendar for the next 30 days that includes the ideas you think will work for you, either on a daily or weekly basis (or a combination of the two, depending on the activity and your schedule). Visual reminders can be very helpful: you may want to try a wall chart, a journal, or setting reminders on your phone. (Inspired by “How to Make a Self-Care Checklist That Actually Works for You” by Crystal Raypole)

Physical Needs

Sleep: Try to set a regular bedtime that allows you to get at least seven hours of sleep. Before you go to bed, be sure to put distracting electronics (like your phone, laptop, or tablet) in another room. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, put it in a place where it’s out of reach but will still wake you up. If you have difficulty winding down and calming your mind, you may want to try a meditation app like Headspace or Calm.

Healthcare: Chances are you make sure everyone else’s appointments are made, but you put yourself in the backseat. If you’ve missed annual checkups (which is likely during the pandemic), set reminders to call your doctors, including dentists, to make appointments.

Nutrition: Eat a balanced, nutritious diet, and try to eat mindfully, giving yourself enough time to eat slowly and at regular intervals. If you need a break from cooking and are able to do so, support your local restaurants by getting takeout every once in a while. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 3.7 liters (about 125 oz) of fluids per day for men and 2.7 liters (about 91 oz) per day for women (these recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages, and food). Consider purchasing a sturdy, reusable 32-oz water bottle and filling it up two or three times per day.

Physical activity: Find an activity you enjoy — such as walking, hula hooping, biking, roller skating, or dancing in the living room — that you can commit to for just 30 minutes. Start small, with at least one day per week, and build up to what feels sustainable to you. The recommended amount of exercise for adults is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, so 30 minutes per day for five days a week is a good end goal. Set reminders on your phone or wall calendar to help you carve out time.

Mental Needs

Stress reduction: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the first thing you might want to try is prioritize your tasks. Which are urgent and which are not urgent? Which are important and which are less important? (Some things can be urgent but not important, or non-urgent but important.) This will help you rank tasks so you can focus on one at a time. In some cases, you’ll be able to eliminate some of the “not urgent” and “not important” tasks from your to-do list completely. Next, see if you can delegate any of the tasks on your list — can someone else take anything on? To start, choose the top three things that are causing you stress and try this approach. (Inspired by “5 Actionable Steps to Take When There's Too Much on Your Plate” by Kat Boogaard)

Time for things you want to do: If you’re always feeling strapped for time, consider setting more boundaries, such as saying no when you’d prefer not to do something and not volunteering for extra work that you don’t have time for. Schedule time for things you enjoy to avoid burnout, and make them a priority like other tasks.

Cognitive abilities: Exercising your mind is also important! At least once a week, set a reminder to read, do a crossword puzzle or another brain game, or learn something new if you have the bandwidth. Even a small amount of time spent flexing your brain can help.

Counseling/therapy: Seeking professional help through counseling is an excellent way to work through challenges and discover coping strategies. If you aren’t currently seeing a therapist, you may want to consider looking into it. Teletherapy is more available now than ever before. Check with your insurance provider about this option to get support from the comfort of your home.

Mental relaxation: Give your mind time to unwind and recharge away from the computer or phone. This can include taking a nap, going for a walk, or watching a favorite show.

Emotional Needs

Emotional awareness: Try to spend time acknowledging your feelings and emotional needs; if this is difficult, journaling, meditating, or talking with a trusted friend or therapist can help.

Companionship: Carve out time to connect with friends, whether it’s through texting, emailing, or making in-person plans.

Affection: Emotional support and affection can include words, gestures, and touch; spending quality time with loved ones and pets can fill this need.

Personal time: Schedule time for yourself. This could include taking a bath, reading or watching a show alone, going for a walk or another form of exercise, or taking part in a hobby.



Physical Needs

Mental Needs

Emotional Needs

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