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.