Gone are the days when self-care was thought about as a luxury, or “getting pampered”. Today, more and more health institutions are putting a greater emphasis on the importance of a regular self-care routine when it comes to your health, especially for parents and other caregivers.
Why? Self-care is a key strategy in managing stress, in which long-term, or chronic stress can lead to much larger health concerns including anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep problems, weight gain, and even memory issues.
For this reason, self-care is a topic being discussed with patients and healthcare professionals every day because of its overall long-term health benefits. So, if you haven’t made a self-care plan as part of your overall healthcare routine, it’s time to start.
I often get the question, “what is self-care?”
Self-care is any personally initiated activity that is focused on improving your physical, mental, or emotional well-being.
Think of self-care as the small things you can do every day in between going to the doctor. When you create a self-care plan, it becomes part of your weekly routine just as much as eating and brushing your teeth. Consider it a non-negotiable in your daily or weekly schedule.
Try some of these tips for creating your own self-care plan:
- Your self-care plan should be unique to you. Everyone has different needs for self-care. Your plan should be unique to you and include activities that effectively benefit your well-being.
- It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Although self-care can include things like getting a massage, it doesn’t have to. If you’re looking to make a self-care plan with a small budget, try things like going on a walk and getting fresh air, journaling, or meditation.
- Your routine should help you de-stress. Someone may have cooking on their self-care plan because it helps them relax and feel good, but if you get stressed out by the idea of cooking, it’s probably not the right self-care activity for you. Find activities you enjoy and help you feel less stressed when you’re done.
- It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. The key to an effective self-care plan is finding activities you can work in your daily routine that feel as natural as brushing your teeth. If you have to do a lot of preparing for the activity, or it doesn’t flow well with your day, chances are it will fall out of your routine. Journaling or reading a book is a great self-care activity that can be incorporated into a morning routine, or right before you go to bed.
- Schedule it in or make it part of your daily checklist. Put a meeting on your calendar for any self-care activity that takes more than 5 minutes and build in a little extra cushion. Treat the activity like it’s a meeting with the CEO of your company (because, after all, it’s a meeting with the CEO of your life!), and make it a goal to never miss this meeting with yourself. If the activity is less than 5 minutes, put it on your daily to-do list, whether it be a mental list or a physical list.
Personally, I use a planner that has a daily habits tracker, and my self-care activities for the day go right in there. So, at the end of the day, I can check them off and feel a sense of accomplishment.
If you’ve tried to make self-care a part of your routine, but struggle to stick with it, or feel overwhelmed about the idea of adding self-care to your daily routine, let’s talk!
Together we can work to create a self-care plan that works so you can feel your best and be the mom, friend, and partner you know you have inside you!