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How to Create a Self-Care Plan

By Kylie Slavek, LPC and Sandy Black, LPC

Self-Care Planning

Self-care that is done regularly and consistently helps to reduce stress, improve wellbeing and build resilience, helping you to get through tough times. Click here (link to what is self care blog) to learn more about what self-care is and why it is so important. 

Doing self-care consistently is often the hard part. Life gets busy and taking care of yourself can fall to the bottom your priority list. Creating a self-care plan makes it easier to be consistent. A self-care plan helps you to get back on track more quickly and makes it easier to stick to your goals when life throws you a curve ball. Coming up with a variety of activities to choose from gives you the flexibility to remain consistent with self-care when things change. Grab a pencil and a piece of paper and get ready to create your very own self-care plan using these 5 steps to creating a self-care plan. 

Dimensions of Wellness 

Self-care is about taking care of your whole self and all of its dimensions, mind, body, and spirit. It is best to have a variety of self-care strategies to turn to that meet all your diverse needs. Choosing the right self-care based on your circumstance can prevent negative situations or emotions from getting worse. Consider the 5 Dimensions of Wellness for a more well-rounded look at your different types of needs.  

  • Spiritual wellness The connection to something greater than yourself. It covers your values, morals, and other beliefs that guide your actions. These actions may also give you a sense of meaning and purpose. 
  • Physical wellness The balancing of all areas of your physical self. This includes sleep, movement, nutrition, hygiene, relaxation, sexual health, and caring for illness or injury. 
  • Intellectual wellness – The creative and mental growth that develops when you learn and improve your skills.
  • Social wellness – The building of healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships. This includes the genuine connection with yourself and those around you.
  • Emotional wellness – Recognizing, understanding, and accepting your emotions.
  1. Step 1: Take Stock of Where You Are
    Self-care can be about relaxing in times of stress, connecting to yourself and others, taking care of your body, or carving out alone time to focus on things that matter like goals or hobbies. Think about where you are right now. List the self-care activities and practices that you do now. Consider why you do these things and what works for you. You may find that some of your current self-care habits are not serving you as much as you had thought. 
  2. Step 2: Where Do You Want to Be
    As you reflect on where you are in life now, think about where you where you want to be. What’s missing from Step 1? Make sure you consider all the Dimensions of Wellness. Consider your values, what self-care habits would support you in moving closer to your values. 
  3. Step 3:  Create a List of Activities and Practices to Support Your Plan & Goals
    Create a list of activities and practices to support your needs or where you want to be. Try not to limit yourself. What daily or weekly self-care habits could support you in reaching your goals or in taking care of yourself? Think about what will be best for you in the long run. Surprisingly self-care is not always what feels good in the moment, sometimes its hard work that is eventually rewarding in the end. Keep in mind sometime self-care looks like setting boundaries and eliminating things rather than adding them.
  4. Step 4:  Schedule Your Activities and Practices
    Now that you have created a list of activities and practices to support your mental and physical health it’s time to look at how these could fit into your life. For each activity think about the day and time you would most likely complete it, including how long it would take and where you would do it. Consider the rhythm of your life, are you more motivated in the morning or at night? When do you typically have spare time?

    Sidenote: At this step it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed. Know that you do not need to complete every activity on your list every day. Think of this step as creating an organized menu of self-care activities to choose from. Having a variety of options to choose from makes it easier to be consistent with self-care and make healthy choices. You might want to choose one or two activities to complete each day and that is great. You could try to organize your list by morning activities and night activities or by length of time per activity. Making for easy selection. 

    Another helpful tip is to look for natural pauses or transitions times to fit in self-care. For example, at the end of the workday, take 5 minutes before running to your next responsibility to practice relaxation by listening to a guided meditation of peaceful music while you breathe deeply. Self-care can be done in tiny doses all throughout your day if you are aware of the opportunities. You can also look at ways to pair new habits with something you are already doing. This is called habit stacking.

Here are a few examples of habit stacking:  

  • “After I pour my morning cup of coffee, I will meditate for sixty seconds.” This could tie in with the dimensions of emotional and spiritual well-being.
  • At dinner, I will put veggies on my plate first. 
  • While waiting for my Zoom meeting to start, I will do arm curls or stand for a few minutes.
  • Habit stacking increases the likelihood you will stick to the new habit.
  1. Step 5:   Find Support and Remove Barriers 
    Research shows that you are more likely to stick to your goals when you share them with a trusted and supportive person.  Who will you share your plan with? 

    Lastly, think about what might come up that could prevent you from sticking to your self-care plan. If it rains, where will you work out? Do you have a co-worker who makes cupcakes once a week? How will you stay on track with your healthy eating goal? 

Stick to It!  

Keep your self-care plan someplace that you will see it. Make it colorful and fun! Review your plan every day and update it to show who you are becoming. 

Partner With Centered 

Help your employees promote positive healthy habits by partnering with Centered. Partnering with Centered provides your employees with exceptional, comprehensive wellness and mental health services designed to keep your employees happy and healthy. Centered provides a comprehensive whole-person approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our solution combines expert-led wellness classes, health coaching, supervisory consultation, and personalized individual therapy to provide an unparalleled, custom, wellness experience for all of your employees. 

Discover the benefits your company will enjoy by fostering an engaged, flourishing workforce, supported by customized services that meet your employee’s unique needs. Contact Centered today for your complimentary assessment! 

Contact information:  www.centeredhealth.org  phone: 720-417-0879