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  • Writer's pictureJanice dirksen

Creating a Self-Care Plan

What is Self-Love?


Self-love is the appreciation of oneself through actions that promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. It involves accepting both weaknesses and strengths, fostering self-compassion, and recognizing one's worthiness of love and respect.


What is Self-Compassion?


Self-Compassion is being a kind and understand friend to yourself when times are tough. It’s having the ability to treat yourself the same way you would treat a friend, with kindness, understanding and empathy.



Try Mel Robbin’s High 5 Habit. It’s a simple science backed tool that changes your attitude, your mindset, and your behavior.

By giving yourself a high five in the mirror every morning you’re refocusing your attention onto your strengths instead of your weaknesses


The Benefits of Self-Compassion & Self-Love


  • Greater happiness

  • More optimism

  • More positive moods

  • A greater sense of wisdom

  • More motivation & willingness to take initiative

  • Increased curiosity, learning and exploration

  • More agreeable

  • More conscientiousness



Watch Kristin Neff’s TEDxTalk, - The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion


What is a self-care plan and why should you have one?


A self-care plan is a personalized set of activities that promote the well-being of your body, mind, and spirit. By consistently engaging in a healthy self-care routine, you can enhance your overall health and live as your best self.

It is important to develop a self-care plan that resonates with you personally, and can easily be put into action.



  • Helps reduce stress, anxiety & symptoms of depression

  • Gives you a time out to relax & recharge

  • Enhances creativity doing activities that provide fulfillment & joy

  • Helps you stay present

  • Boosts your immune system

  • Improves relationships

  • Boosts productivity

  • Improves self-esteem

  • Increases resilience

  • Develops healthy emotional responses (respond instead of react)

  • Models healthy habits and boundaries

GUILT… the ultimate party pooper when it comes to self-care!

Prioritizing self-care is not selfish; it is a vital aspect of maintaining overall health & well-being. A self-care plan is a deliberate set of activities aimed at improving mental, emotional, spiritual & physical health. It helps you manage stress, enhance productivity, & prevent burnout.


Self-care Activities:

Do something for yourself.

  • call or meet up with a close friend

  • taking a bubble bath

  • cold plunging

  • get a massage, pedicure, facial

  • buy some flowers

  • treat yourself to your favorite dessert or meal

  • deep breathing

  • get creative

  • keep hydrated

  • read your favorite book

The list is endless....


The best way to start your day is with some alone time.

  • Avoid coffee for 90 minutes after waking

  • Start your day with a large glass of room temperature or warm water

  • add 1/2 a lemon to help detoxify your body

  • Make your bed

  • No Screen time

  • Give yourself a high five

  • Get 10 minutes of outdoor sunlight

  • Even on a cloudy day you are resetting your circadian rhythm

  • Be active

  • Write in a gratitude journal, make a to-do list or just do a mind dump

  • There are many ways to journal. My personal favorite is Metacog style

  • Practice mindfulness

    • Meditation, breathing, tapping

    • Insight Timer is a great place to start

  • Nourish your body with a healthy breakfast



Gratitude Journal Prompts

·         Three amazing things that happened today...

·         Three people I’m grateful for...

·         Three things I look forward to tomorrow...


Create a to-do list

  • a to-do list helps you prioritize tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed


  • Feeling stuck, unmotivated or unproductive?

  • Take 15 minutes & de-clutter your closet, your desk, a kitchen drawer. If you don’t use, donate it or sell it.

Make healthy food choices

  • Fueling your body with healthy food is a great way to practice self-care.

  • Hydrate with water

Get moving

  • Take a long walk. Go for a walk on your lunch break with a co-worker. Get out in natures and walk your dog.

  • Try yoga, Thai Chi

  • Hit the gym, pool or dance class

Take a class

  • Learn a new skill or take up a new hobby

Plan a get away

  • Go out with a friend or have a date night

  • Get away for the weekend with friends or family

  • Take a holiday

Get a good night‘s sleep

  • keep the screen out of the bedroom

  • especial social media

  • read a book instead of scrolling

  • count your blessings

  • have a warm bath or shower

  • keep a regular bedtime

  • keep your bedroom cool

  • avoid late dinners and don’t eat after dinner

  • try an herbal tea like licorice if you feel like something sweet

  • avoid caffeine after 3pm

  • avoid alcohol in the evening

How to create a self-care plan:


By taking a self-care assessment ( you can begin to understand which parts of your life needs a little TLC.

·         Emotional self-care

·         Mental self-care

·         Social self-care

·         Spiritual self-care

·         Physical self-care


Things to consider when creating a self-care plan:


  • What are your stressors?

  • What activities will bring value to your self-care

  • What brings you joy?

  • What healthy practices can you do to improve the way you feel?

  • mentally, physically, emotionally & spiritually

  • How & when you can incorporate these healthy and joyful activities into your day


Choose one activity and build from there. Start small & set yourself up for success. Choose an activity that fits into your everyday life.

  • taking a lunchtime walk alone or with a co-worker

  • taking a nightly bubble bath or warm shower

  • listening to a wellness podcast or audio book while driving or cleaning the house

  • sharing your feelings with a close friend or family member

  • swapping a piece of fruit for your afternoon sweet

Self-care is a practice. The goal is to reduce your stress levels and over time increase your self-esteem.

Evaluate and tweak. Practice your new activity for several weeks and take inventory of how you feel. After self-reflection, evaluate the impact of adding this activity to your life. Depending on how it makes you feel, tweak your current plan. Add something new or try something else instead.


What is an Emergency Self-Care Plan?


An emergency self-care plan provides a structured approach to self-care during times of crisis or distress.

Be it a panic attack, having a high stress job (first responder, crisis counselors), being a primary caregiver to a loved one who is sick, relationship breakdown, lose of a job, death of a loved one or an emergency event; having a plan designed to help you navigate the difficult emotions and situations can ensure your overall well-being and resilience.


Make a list of what you can do when you are upset that will be good for you.

  • What will help you relax?

  • Breathing, Muscle relaxation, Music

  • Reading for fun, watching a movie

  • Exercising, Taking a walk


What do you like to do when you are in a good mood?

  • List all the things you like to do so you remember what they are when you need to think of something to do.


What can you do that will help you throughout the day?

  • Avoid too much caffeine if feeling anxious

  • Remember to breathe

  • Watch my thoughts

  • Stay in the moment

  • call a friend

Make a list of people you can contact if you need support or distraction.

  • your best friend, other friends, sibling, parent, grandparent, other relative, therapist, priest/minister/rabbi/imam, HR representative etc.

  • Divide the list of people into categories by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who can I call if I am feeling depressed, lonely or anxious?

  • Who will come over to be with me if I need company?

  • Who will listen?

  • Who will encourage me to get out of the house and do something fun?

  • Who will remind me to follow my self-care plan?


Next, make a list of who and what to avoid when you are having a hard time

  • People to avoid

  • Not everyone can be supportive or helpful with every situation. Go to the ones who can be supportive about the specific issues you are dealing with.

  • things to avoid:

  • Isolating from friends and family

  • Avoiding going to work

  • But if you need some time off talk to your employer, ask for help

  • Avoiding social activities, sports or hobbies

  • avoid substance abuse

  • or other destructive self-soothing behaviors


Next, make a list of positive things to say to yourself when you are giving yourself a hard time.

  • Think about what you would say to a friend and apply it to yourself.





Write your plan on a 3x5” card. Keep a copy in your purse/wallet and on your phone. Look at it often. Add any good ideas to it whenever you can.  USE IT!


What’s in my tool box:

My Daily Self-Care:

  • A solid morning routine

  • get up at the same time everyday


  • make the bed

  • give myself a high 5

  • drink a large glass of warm lemon water

  • turn on all the lights and sit by my SAD lamp (winter) for 10 minutes

  • enjoy a bullet-proof espresso while journaling

  • meditate

  • exercise

  • take the dog out for a walk

  • go for a swim, hit the weights or stretch

  • Meals

  • be mindful of what I’m eating and how I’m eating

  • if I’m shoveling it in, STOP and think about why I’m not enjoying my food

  • avoid eating after 7 pm

  • no alcohol or other self-soothing substances

  • A solid bedtime routine

  • have a warm shower, light some candles, play some soft music

  • go to sleep at the same time every night

  • bedside lamp is on a timer

  • count my blessings

  • read a book for enjoyment

  • wear a sleep mask and earplug


My Emergency Self-Care Plan:



  • Become mindful

  • What am I thinking?

  • Is it productive, positive or compassionate?

  • What am I feeling? What emotions are there?

  • Where in my body do I feel those emotions?

  • Look around

    • 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell, 1 thing I can taste


  • EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization & Re-programing

  • EFT - Tapping

  • Text a friend

  • but be mindful, stick to the facts, don’t play the victim

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