What is a Self Care Plan and Why It’s Important
Have you given yourself much time to you lately? What does ‘me time’ mean to you? When we think about self care, we need to have a plan to be able to practice this idea of self care and incorporate it into our lives. Here we discuss what is a self care plan so we can nurture ourselves.
Self care is the number one thing that I believe is essential to our well being. Do you actively, consciously and purposefully do something that you would define as self care on a regular basis?
Self care can mean a lot of different things to many people.
Self care can be in the areas of physical, emotional, professional, spiritual, psychological and relationships.
Definition of Self Care
Let’s look at what self care might mean
The definition of self care is the practice of taking care of one’s well being and happiness especially during times of stress.
This means it needs to be purposeful and intentional action of doing something that you value as being something that nurtures your well being. It helps to manage how you feel especially during times of stress. It gives you some ‘me’ time to allow you to connect with yourself to restore your health.
The Importance of Self Care
When we don’t look after our needs and give ourselves time out, we can get burnt out from the exhaustion of the stress of our lives. Life can get hectic, stressful and busy. If we ignore our own needs and don’t look after ourselves, we won’t be able to keep doing what we’ve been doing. If anything it can make us sick if we don’t take time out for ourselves. Stress can build up. Being humans, we are also prone to not coping after an excessive amount of exposure to the stress in our lives. Our mental health will suffer.
One thing that I often remind my clients is, ‘how can you look after your family or kids if your health or mental health suffers?’ Realistically, we need to look after ourselves so that we can be available and of any help to support those around us. For ideas on how to manage stress have a look at my blog post
When we practice self care on a regular basis it helps to reduce anxiety and restores and uplifts one’s mood.
What is Self Care
- Self care needs to be something you do that you feel is a self care action. If you do things that you don’t consider as part of a self care routine, then it won’t be a form of self care for you. It needs to be a conscious decision that you give your time and energy to creating intentional self care.
- Set boundaries around what you don’t want to do. This is okay, give yourself permission to not check your emails, facebook, instagram for a set timeframe. Untether yourself and know what you don’t want to do as part of your self care routine.
- Start with small things that feel like self care for you. Don’t over complicate it. Keep it simple, especially at the beginning of your self care routine creation.
What Self Care Isn’t
It’s ensuring you don’t force yourself to do something you’re not comfortable with.
It’s not selfish – many people think that doing something for ourselves can be perceived as selfish. This is definitely not the case.
Any addictive behaviours and substance taking. This might be a no brainer, but I’ve included this here, as for some people, they might consider having a wine or beer every night is a form of self care. It might be, but if this is something you do out of habit, or actually find very difficult to stop, consider this as a possible addiction. It’s not self care. Look into getting some support for this if it’s become an addiction.
Create Your Self Care Plan
- Allocate time in your day to do at least one thing that you would consider as self care for yourself. Be consistent in practicing and putting this activity into action. It can be hard to change habits and create new ones. So be assertive with yourself so that you prioritise your needs to make sure you can nurture yourself and practice self love and compassion.
- Are you the kind of person who needs to remind yourself what you need to do. Set yourself an alarm on your phone to set aside your ‘me time’ and make sure you put it into action.
- Turn your phone and all other distractions off during your self care activity.
- Let others know this is what you’re doing so you can be accountable for actioning them rather than putting it off and not making your self care a priority.
- Be aware of what your self care activity is, why you’re doing it, how you feel when doing it and be purposeful when you practice it. This is key to ensuring you get benefits from doing self care.
How to Practice Self Care
Think of the things you used to enjoy doing but haven’t had the opportunity or time to do for a while. What helps you feel good?
Helps lift one’s mood due to the effects of neurotransmitters released aka serotonin. It doesn’t have to be intense, just get moving.
- Tai Chi
- Walk your dog
as these activities are relaxing as well as grounding for your body. Your body needs to move as it’s one of the pillars of well being. That’s another post I will bring to you in the near future. For now, just know that movement is important.
Develop good sleep patterns – get into a regular sleep routine. When we have good sleep, our health is improved, our body can produce the right hormonal balance. When we don’t get enough sleep, we can overeat simply due to not enough leptin being produced during the night which helps us with appetite suppression. More info on this here.
Arrange a catch up with a supportive friend or someone you haven’t seen in ages. Nurture your social support networks.
Eat nutrient dense foods that fuel our bodies and allow our body to heal and do their job properly. When we eat processed foods and fast foods, we aren’t nourishing our bodies with nutritious foods which puts our physical health at risk. My suggestion is to cut out carbohydrates as increasing research shows how damaging burning glucose is on a long term basis. Find out more here.
Meditation and Relaxation
Learn how to simply sit for a few minutes a day and listen to your body and mind. Slow your breathing down and focus on your breath. Read through my previous post for ways to incorporate meditation into your daily routine.
When you notice that you’re thinking too much, it’s time to practice being mindful. Here’s an example… Simply sit where you are. Focus on your breathing and slow it down. Notice how your body moves as you breathe in, then again as you breathe out. Notice what you are thinking about and slow the thoughts down. Just notice that they are there without any judgement, they’re not good or bad, they are simply there. Keep breathing slowly. Pay attention to the things around you, their colours, movements, textures etc. If you notice thoughts, acknowledge them and be present with them. For a program that will guide you through mindfulness using a 7 minute approach try this program.
Get out in Nature
Go for a walk around your neighbourhood or find yourself a park to walk around in. If possible, go for a drive to a local nature reserve and breathe in the fresh air and connect with nature around you. Listen to the sounds, take in deep breaths and notice the smells. Do some gardening.
Do something you enjoy
Find something that you enjoy doing and do it for yourself. Be sure to allocate time to yourself and don’t allow your time to be interrupted. The list is endless. Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking. What appeals to one will be different to the next person.
- Do some cooking
- Make a cup of tea while practicing mindfulness
- Crochet, knit or craft of some kind
- Play an instrument
- Sing like no one can hear you
- Write in a journal
- Get a massage or facial
- Soak your feet in a foot spa
- Have a relaxing bath in peace
- Read a book that you have been wanting to read for ages
What ever you decide to do, do it regularly. Have purpose in your activity knowing that it’s your time. Give yourself an activity that you can feel and gets you in touch with who you are and what your interests are.
For your mental and emotional well being.
Tell me what you like to do as part of your self care plan. Leave in the comments below.
26 Replies to “What is a Self Care Plan and Why It’s Important”
Thanks for your wonderful post on self-care. You’ve touched on all the aspects. This is timely information for me. The post is thorough and inviting. THe emotion of your genuine desire to help others shines through. Thanks.
Hi David, thanks for your kind words and lovely feedback. I’m glad you’ve been able to get something out of the post. All the best ~kat
I’ve been looking at getting a foot spa recently–just to have. Your article has now convinced me. Thank you for your thoughtful words!
Hi Jackie, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I’ve found having a foot spa is soothing and gives me a sense of self care. Very helpful to do something for yourself. Enjoy your self care ~kat
Oh boy don’t I need some self-care at the moment. Between work, drama at home, and running a business, I need me some “me time.”
What a wonderful read. I need to learn how to meditate. Every time I tried I can’t concentrate my minds go a million miles a second. ?
Maybe I’ll just walk or do some yoga.
Hi Kelyee, thanks for sharing your experience and current need for self care. Well done for recognising it as something you need to do to help you manage the busy-ness of your life. It’s great that you’ve given meditation a go. It can take time to practice and get the hang of it. Think of it like learning a new language. It’s something that will take time for you to get your head around, but after ongoing practice, your brain will get used to it and you will learn how to slow the thoughts down. Here’s one of my previous posts for you to learn more of meditation. All the best for developing and finding your self care plan. I would love to hear back what you end up putting into action. ~kat
I love your post, and I can tell you’re a very caring person. Reading this, it reminds me I need to take some more “Me” time for sure. I love nature. So when I can, I like to hike in the woods. When I can’t, I like to make dream catchers or tend to my plants on the patio. I just need to remember to turn my phone off like you suggest. I think I’ll be coming back to your site and looking around some more. 🙂
Hi April, thanks for you kind words and sharing of how you practice self care. It sounds like your self care strategies bring you a lot of contentment and improve your well being. I hope to see you back again soon 🙂 Namaste ~kat
Great article and a timely reminder of how and why I need to get back to my little bit of me time and meditation and focus on my breathing. Thanks.
Hi Derek, thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, breathing, meditation and me time are all essential for our well being and are valuable self care strategies. I’m glad you found this article a good gentle reminder for you. Namaste ~kat
Hi Kat! Great article! It couldn’t have come at a better time for me. There’s been quite a few traumatic events for my family the past few years and I have been extremely stressed out. I tend to take care of everyone else, neglecting myself. I believe you’ve given me the motivation to start taking care of me as well, at least in baby steps. 😉
Thank you for a very inspiring article.
Hi Kelly, thanks heaps for sharing your experience. It sounds like it’s been a challenging time around your place and you’ve been giving endlessly. I’m glad you’ve had a chance to read through this post and decide for yourself that you’re important too. It can be hard to change old habits, so baby steps are a good starting place. I wish you much calmness and support for your self care. ~kat
Hi, thank you for this wonderful post. I often forget that self care doesn’t just mean washing my face. I used to be all about helping other and putting myself last. It led me to attract negative people into my life. I decided it was time for a change and I started to take care of myself and those negative people are now long gone. Recently, I went back to reading which used to be my favorite hobby. Hopefully, I’ll add some more. Thanks again!
Hi Sandy ness, Lovely of you to share your experience of self care. It could also mean washing your face, but yes, something else could also be part of your self care strategy. Well done for noticing that you had negative people around you which led to shifting who you spend time with. That is also a valuable lesson to learn that you have practiced well. All the best with taking time out for you to do some regular reading. Take care and all the best ~kat
I love the way you talk about the different examples of what people can do for self-care. Part of my self-care is eating, exercising, and connecting with friends :); These are some great outlets to relieve some stress. You also touched on how others may perceive self-care as being selfish; I can see that. People are taking better care of themselves now than what they have in the past. We eat more organically and take better care of our bodies. When the body feels good, the mind follows that same concept. Thanks for sharing this post 🙂
Hi Viviana, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s great to see that you follow a beneficial self care plan to nurture your body and mind. It definitely requires conscious awareness to approach self care which you sound like you engage in well ~kat
You mentioned so many things that I like to do, but don’t do often enough like exercise, yoga, and getting outside as well as things that I want to learn more about, like meditation and mindfulness practices. In reality, though, my me time usually consists of watching tv. I get my mind off of stressful things in life. Lately, though, I haven’t even been doing much of that due to my job and my website. This is a reminder that I need to try harder to make self-care a priority. Thanks!
Hi Joey, great to have you visit my site. Thanks for sharing your experience with self care. I get the sense that you have coping strategies to help manage stress but there could be some room for you to find a small amount of time just to stop and be present with yourself and do something that you enjoy. Get you in touch with who you are and you enjoy. All the best ~kat
This is awesome.
The air hostess comment of…
Take care of yourself before helping others comes to mind (with the oxygen)
I find when I’m not exercising I end up lying on the sofa for a few days due to a bad back and then I can’t help anyone else!
This has certainly helped to remind me to take that time to meditate more often too!
Hi Mike, you’re right about needing to take care of yourself first before others, like on a plane lol! It’s hard when you have physical health issues, do what you can within your capacity to ensure balance for being able to look after others once you’ve nurtured yourself ~kat
What a great article. I need to remember to take better care of myself. As a wife, mother, and grandma, I think about what everyone else needs. Habit I guess. I don’t spend intentional time taking care of myself, lol.
You have some great solutions here and it’s prodded me in the right direction.
Hi Suzanne, it sounds like you spread your love which I’m sure everyone appreciates. You also realise that it’s okay to have some me time and dedicate activities for yourself to help ensure your self care is also included in your world. I hope you can find time for you too 🙂 ~kat
Thanks for the reminder that we need to prioritize our own health so that we are more available to others who need us. It is good that you mention that self-care needs to be natural and not forced. By forcing anything, the energy is already stressed, and we will never be able to achieve a relaxed state of being. We need to come from a natural place of acceptance and allow relaxation and ease to engulf our being as often as we can. Our body, mind, and spirit will love us for it.
Many thanks for sharing these ideas to increase our well-being.
Hi Andres, you’re very right that our self care needs to come from a position of acceptance and relaxation as a way to get the benefits of looking after our wellbeing. ~kat
What a great read, I practice meditation for self care, your article has opened up more things I can add to my self care list.
It is ver essential for us humans to be connected to the inside of ourselves. I need to work on my nutrition as it is very important of self care.
Thank you for sharing and giving out this information many of us need.
Hi Wilmer, meditation is an amazing tool for self care. Since we can get so busy in this fast paced world, it’s important to slow our bodies down and sit in silence or meditate to connect with ourselves. I’ve got more information regarding foods that also helps with our mental health here if you’re interested. Thanks for stopping by ~kat