As a therapist, I find self care to be one of the most important and sometimes most easily overlooked psychological tools we have. Animals instinctively take the time to slow down, take care of their physical needs. In our society, and during stressful times (say a global pandemic for example) it can be easy to overlook how to do this sufficiently.
This list I have compiled is more than just some things you can do, it encourages you to think about each item and feel into what it might look like for you to incorporate self-care more into your life. Some of the items are opposite of each other, and that's because time, person and place matter! Some items will be important for self-care for some, and not so much for others. That's ok!
I suggest that you read through the list quickly one time then go back over more slowly to pick out 2-5 items that feel particularly important to you at this time. Next, develop a realistic plan to implement those things based on what it would look like for you! Perhaps it would be good to write them down on a list where you can see it every day. Some people might find it helpful to journal around how to implement those items and what has been blocking you.
1. Define and follow a balanced sleeping schedule
2. Drink more water
3. Do something that engages your mind
4. Do something that relaxes your body
5. Do something that nourishes your spirit
6. Say no to something/someone: (you’re no good to anyone if you are exhausted, resentful, and over‐stretched)
7. Say yes to something/someone
8. Do something that allows you to express your creativity
9. Eat nutritiously and the right amount to nourish your body
10. Learn about something that your have been interested in
11. Practice compassion and understanding for your feelings and actions
12. Don’t set unobtainable goals or unrealistic expectations for yourself
13. Slow down
14. Allow for a treat (whatever form that might take)
15. Do something that makes you laugh
16. Breathe deeper
17. Take a quiet moment (or several) by yourself
18. Reach out to a friend
19. Engage in some exercise or movement that feels nourishing and revitalizing
20. Trust your intuition
21. Listen to what your body needs
22. Feel your feelings – and express them in healthy ways
23. Reduce guilt – be clear on what you can and cannot control, and move on
24. Get organized
25. Stop criticizing your body
26. Allow yourself to disappoint someone
27. Write in a journal
28. Be mindful in any activity
29. Keep hopeful
Pro tip: Feel free to think of your own also!
Notice if you start to feel guilty or anxious about taking care of yourself.
Challenge that feeling!