Since I started reducing my medication a few weeks ago, I’ve said that I will make a big effort with my self care. The problem is I keep thinking “What more can I do?” or forgetting to make time for self care. I decided that I needed to make a self care plan on paper (and on here!) so that I can refer to it. I love making lists and mind maps so I got out the paper and coloured pens!
It isn’t the clearest photo, sorry about that! I’ll explain it bit by bit. I split it into sections and wrote down the things that I thought were the most important. Some of the points are things I have noticed over time that have an effect on my anxiety, my mood or my sense of general wellbeing. I imagine everyone’s self care plan will be different but if you want to copy my structure to make your own plan, please do =)
I listed some things that I can do to look after my physical health. Nutrition, sleep, drinking enough water and exercise are all important but I have found that eating healthily (and regularly, no skipping meals!) has the biggest effect on me. Getting enough sleep is a close second! On my self care plan I wrote:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat well and eat often
- Make time for karate
- Go for a walk
- Stay hydrated
I’m thinking of adding “Seek advice/treatment when necessary”. In other words, visit the doctor or seek advice if I have a physical illness or injury. I do sometimes try to put off things like that.
In this section I wrote things that hopefully will help me look after my mind/mental health:
- Make time for reading
- Don’t bottle up
- Learn something new
- Write it down
Don’t bottle up and write it down are very closely linked. Blogging/tweeting/writing can be really therapeutic, especially when something has been playing on the mind for a while. I love reading and learning new things, it also keeps me busy which can help a lot! Any activities that engage the brain can be listed here.
In this section I added things that I think help me on a spiritual level. Things that are relaxing, restorative or just enjoyable!
- Do something creative
- Breathe deeply
- Me time
- Aromatherapy oils
Meditation would also be a good thing to list here. I haven’t tried it myself yet but I’m going to add “Try meditation” to my next Little Steps post. I did consider adding “Take a bath” and “Get a massage” but I guess they fall into the category Me time. I used to think that taking time to concentrate on myself was selfish. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Its necessary. Looking after yourself is important, if you don’t who will?
I can talk to
Following on from the point “Don’t bottle up” I wrote a list of people I can talk to. Who I choose to talk to depends on the subject but it is good to know that there is always someone that I can go to.
- My therapist
- My friend S
- My parents
- My online friends
My feel good activities
Here I listed some of the activities I love doing, that can lift my mood and make me feel better in myself. I didn’t write everything because I would probably have ran out of room but you get the idea =)
- Listening to music
- Watching comedy
- Making lists
- Art and crafts
I find it helpful to have a list to refer to. If I’m having a really bad day, I seem to forget all the things I like doing that will make me feel better! This way I can look at my plan and choose an activity. Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction =)
So that is how I made my self care plan. I’m deciding where to put it so that I’ll see it often. It feels really good to have my ideas down on paper, so that I can use them to guide me. I’m going to aim to use/refer to it everyday and add to it when necessary. If a point on the list doesn’t work for me I’ll remove it. I’m going to review my self care plan in a few weeks to see if its working for me and to decide if I want/need to make any changes.
Here are some tips for making your own self care plan, if you decide to:
- Make it work for you. If you are a creative or visual kind of person and want to draw, use colours, make a poster, then go for it! If you would rather write a bullet pointed list or type it up on a computer, then do that. Your self care plan is especially for you so it can be anything you want it to be.
- Listen to your body. Think about what has the biggest effect on your mood. Lack of sleep? Dehydration? Too much caffeine? Make these a priority.
- Don’t rush. Take your time, it took me 24 hours to finish my plan! I kept coming back and adding/changing things. It doesn’t matter, it isn’t a race!
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be a work of art (just look at the photo of mine lol!) and it isn’t set in stone. It can be changed or rewritten at any time so don’t fret about getting it just right.
Those are my tips, please let me know if you make your own self care plan! Its always fun to compare. Also I would love an accountability buddy so if anyone is interested please comment below or contact me on Twitter @CalmKitchen. An accountability buddy means basically we would tweet/message/email each other maybe once a week to discuss our self care plans. Things like this are always easier if you have someone to chat to about what is working and what isn’t. Someone you can swap ideas with and encourage each other. So if anyone would like to do that, please get in touch =)