Developing a self care plan

Keep on top of your health. These steps will help you create your personal self-care plan.

Man walking with his dog, developing a self-care plan

Developing a self-care plan

What is a self-care plan?Self-care plans are also known as coping strategies. Basically, it’s determining beforehand what tools you will use to keep yourself in an overall healthy state. This includes physical, mental, spiritual, social, etc.

Step 1: Identify how you currently handle stress

Write down a list of different ways you cope with stress. You don’t have to share this with anyone, so be totally honest. It’s likely you have some healthy practices and less healthy coping strategies.

Since self-care looks at all aspects of your life, you can categorize these stresses. For example, when you have stress at work, it might look different than when you’re physically stressed or stressed about a relationship.

Related: Why You Need to Make Time for Self-Care

Step 2: Identify unhealthy habits

You’re probably aware of some unhealthy ways to handle stress (overeating, undereating, sleeping too much), but make a list of what you think is unhealthy for you. Check out this list from Harvard health for more guidance on unhealthy stress responses.

Once you’ve listed unhealthy coping, you can make your first goal: try eliminating one of those strategies from the list. But you can’t stop with that. It needs to be replaced with self-care. That’s where the next step comes in.

Step 3: List what you do now for self-care

Make a list of what you do now for self-care, and be sure to identify what is most helpful to you.

Step 4: Fill out a self-care plan

Now that you’ve listed your stress responses as well as your most helpful practices, it’s time to set goals and write down plans. You can write your own or download this simple plan template from Reach Out under the “Create Your Own Self-Care Plan.”

Here are some areas you may want to make plans for:

  • Work
  • Spiritual
  • Relationships
  • Physical
  • Emotional

Remember to make goals that are more likely to be effective, which means they are specific, measurable, realistic, and set within a time frame.

Some ideas of healthy practices in the workplace might include counseling with a more experienced professional in your area or joining professional development programs.

For spiritual wellness, you may try meditating, writing in a journal, attending a religious service, or taking time in nature.

Relationship goals could include prioritizing your most important relationships (partner, children, etc.) over friendships that aren’t as long lasting or making sure you go to work and come home on time. You could also read a book or start therapy.

Physical goals may include eating a healthy breakfast, getting enough water, going for a walk every day, or exercising regularly.

7 Things You Can Do Right Now to Practice Self Care

Emotional goals might include taking time away from your phone, spending time doing a hobby you enjoy, or practicing affirmations.

There are, of course, many other examples in each category. The point is, identify what’s helpful to you and write down a plan.

Step 5: Keep it in sight

It’s easier to keep a goal if you’re frequently reminded of it. Put your goal sheet somewhere you see frequently. You may also want to use a habit app like one of these to get you started.

And like with any goal, it’s hard to keep up the momentum. Find an accountability partner. Those who love you will want to help you succeed because your health is worth it.

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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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