How To Create Your Self-Care Checklist To Suit Your Daily Needs
Life these days is an unrestrained roller coaster – some days we may feel emotionally satisfied and well but then other days, the challenges we face can be too much to handle. Retreating behind a shell when bad days hit is okay but not having a self-care plan for said bad days isn’t.
Self-care is not only about taking care of yourself physically but also taking care of your mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Only when you’re overall well, you can easily navigate through stressors in life.
I guess that’s why many people nowadays are putting more importance on self-care. And when I say self-care, it doesn’t mean that you have to follow some set tips. Self-care strategies can
depending on your need.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at what your self-care checklist needs because this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. We all need a personalized self-care checklist and here I’ll help you figure out what you need in yours!
First, Questions To Ask Yourself
Before you begin the process of creating your self-care plan and checklist, you need to answer a few simple questions to determine what you need from your self-care plan. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Can I see myself doing this?
Self-care plan doesn’t mean creating a plan and then abandoning it because you couldn’t do it. Before you create a self-care checklist, make sure you can see yourself carrying out the activities. If you can’t see yourself doing something, then don’t force yourself. Just find different, more comfortable ways to practice self-care.
2. Are finances a concern?
Maybe you want to focus on physical self-care and decided to join a gym but then you stopped visiting the gym for a month. This is going to increase your financial stress as well. While there’s nothing wrong with spending money on something you like, the cost over time can feel too much. Is the activity you’re trying to pursue in your self-care checklist something worth spending money on? Whatever you decide, just remember, the cost shouldn’t increase your stress more.
3. Is it too much?
Self-care burnout is also real so make sure you don’t burn yourself out while working on your self-care. Don’t overload yourself with self-care activities so much that instead of helping you relax, the activities make you feel more stressed out. Too many activities (even helpful ones) can increase your stress and leave you feeling burnout. Make sure you don’t overdo it.
4. Do I have the time?
Self-care works best when practiced regularly. Self-care is an ongoing process and not reserved for when you feel most stressed. Regularly practicing self-care is key and can help you control your stress before it reaches a level that’s hard to come back from. So, make sure you have the time to follow through with the self-care things you’ve picked.
5. Is there anything that has helped me before?
Is there anything that has helped you feel happy and positive before in your life? Is there a particular self-care thing that worked in the past? You can always go back and see what activities have helped you in the past and brought feelings of calmness into your life. Incorporate those past experiences into your present to relieve stress.
Physical Needs To Take Care Of
Next on the self-care checklist is to see what your body needs. When practicing physical self-care, see the needs you have, steps to meet the said needs, and where to make certain changes.
1. Sleep:Adults need at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night and not getting enough sleep can mess up your sleep quality, later affecting your mood, concentration, and overall health.
2. Diet:Nutrition and mental health do go hand in hand even if they look like they don’t. And trust me, diet isn’t just about what type of food you eat. Eating a well-balanced diet is good but so are mindful eating and intuitive eating. These two types of approaches when incorporated into your diet can help you reduce stress and enjoy the food you eat.
3. Exercise: Getting at least 15-20 minutes of physical activity every day can be fun and while I know that you might not want to exercise that much, adding physical exercise to your self-care checklist can work wonders. If you don’t like running, you can try walking or roller skating as well.
4. Physical Intimacy:Physical intimacy can often be confused with sex but sex isn’t the only physical response out there. Touch is a basic human need and touch starvation can too have devastating health effects. If you’re lacking touch, here are some self-care things to do:
- Getting a massage
- Hugging a loved one (self-hug works too)
- Hugging your pet
- Adopting a pet or volunteering at a pet shelter
Mental Needs To Take Care Of
Mental health needs or cognitive health needs come next. In this, you’ll need to see what to include in your self-care checklist that can keep your brain energized and your mental capacity sharp.
1. Stress Management:Stress can heavily impact your mental health so tackling stress should be on your self-care checklist. A great way to start is by identifying your stressors and how you can manage them. Figure out ways to effectively handle stress on your own terms.
2. Boundaries:Boundaries may not look like a self-care checklist item but it is one of the most important self-care things to do. Protecting your limits can mean saying no when you don’t want to do something, not overcommitting to things, and directly stating your needs to others.
3. Cognitive Skills:Next is your cognitive skills. Strengthening your mind and expanding your knowledge also comes under self-care. This need can include learning something new and challenging, reading, and even playing games to improve cognitive functions.
4. Psychotherapy:Yes, therapy equals self-care! Working through your mental problems with the help of a professional can help improve your overall health and wellness including physical and emotional health. Professional help, even when you don’t have mental health problems, can help. If you’re overwhelmed, seeking psychotherapy can help you come up with self-care strategies to protect yourself.
5. Taking Breaks:Zone out or daydream, after all these are not bad things at all. These kinds of activities can give you time to relax and your brain some space to refresh. When you’re mentally relaxed, self-care can work effectively. Here, you can include digital breaks, doodling, nature healing, or naps.
Emotional Needs To Take Care Of
Feelings and emotions can mean so much more than we can think so next on your self-care checklist are emotional needs that you need to focus on. Emotional self-care means getting in touch with your feelings, understanding your emotions, and using them to feel better and protect your emotional health.
1. Mindfulness: Become aware of your needs and emotions. What do they mean? Acknowledge and accept your feelings, emotions, and needs. Where, you can try meditation, journaling, etc. Even sharing your thoughts with others can make a good addition to your self-care checklist.
2. Social Companionship:All people (yes, even introverts) need social companionship from time to time to recharge their social health. After all, self-care encompasses not only mental, emotional, and physical health but social health as well. If you’re feeling lonely then you are prone to feeling irritable. You can fix this by adding socializing with friends and family to your self-care checklist. You can also volunteer at your nearest community center.
3. Affection:Affection is more than just a hug or a physical touch. It is the sweet gestures, the kind words too. Lacking affection can also trigger feelings of depression, social isolation, and anxiety. Even if you don’t have a robust social life, consider getting a fur baby to spoil and love.
4. Me Time:Sometimes, you just need a break from all the socializing so plan “me time” in your self-care checklist too. You can do so by taking a day off of work just to disconnect, engage in your favorite activities, and have an emotional escape room. Choose the self-care activity that helps you unwind at the end of the day.
Combining The Needs
When we talk about self-care and mental health how can we forget self-awareness? This is an important element in making sure your needs are met. Once you’re aware of your needs, you can create a list of daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly self-care activities.
However, make sure you understand that self-care needs can change as time goes on. Especially now, when the world is in the middle of a pandemic, economic crisis, and war crisis.
Your self-care checklist is a document that grows and changes with you so revisit it after a while to see what new needs or activities you can add to get the best results. If you’re struggling with your self-care plan, you can always visit a therapist for guidance and support.
Self-care needs vary from person to person and are subject to change over time so make sure you create a self-care checklist that suits your daily needs. Do what makes you happy and comfortable. That’s all that matters!
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