While the whole world is in uncharted waters, maintaining well-being has never been more important. Being strong in body and mind is what will help us get through these difficult times.
In this survey 69% of respondents said that taking a bath is their favorite self-care activity and 67% said it’s watching TV or a movie. While those are both good activities, they fall in just one category, and self-care is so much more.
Self-care is a personal practice, a series of activities to improve physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, social and professional well-being.
When it comes to self-care activities options are endless and there’s no one-size-fits-all. We are all unique individuals with specific needs. These checklists cover a wide range of options. Use them to find inspiration for new activities and as a reminder to care for all aspects of your being.
Choose activities that are meaningful to you and support your goals. Create a self-care plan and put it in action. If you develop a daily habit of most of these activities your life will drastically improve over the course of just a few weeks.
If you’re just starting out, aim to do at least one self-care activity from each group every day. And pick up more as you go.
Self-care is divided into 6 categories:
- physical self-care
- psychological self-care
- emotional self-care
- spiritual self-care
- social self-care
- professional self-care
Ideally you should cover a few activities, depending on your needs and wants, from each category every day.
Physical self-care activities will help you stay (or become) healthy and fit. By taking care of your body you will lower the risk of developing chronic illnesses and increase the chance of having a healthy and functioning body for many years to come.
- have regular and healthy meals
- maintain personal hygiene
- exercise daily
- engage in fun physical activity (dancing, swimming, walking, sports, cycling, climbing…)
- have a regular sleep routine, give your body enough time for recovery
- go to regular/preventive medical check-ups
- take care of your physical appearance
- take time to rest and unwind after work/school
- rest when sick and tired, allow your body to recover naturally to minimize the need for medications
- get out and walk every day (for every hour you spent sitting, walk for 10 minutes)
Psychological self-care activities broaden your life experiences and keep your mind young, flexible and resilient. They should be challenging and rewarding. By consistently practicing these activities you will notice improvement in all areas of your life.
- practice a hobby (arts, crafts, music, gardening…)
- learn new things (unrelated to work/school)
- read on topics unrelated to work/school
- do something challenging, engage your intelligence by doing something you are not very good at
- do something creative, creative activities keep the mind young and agile
- be curious, keep an inquisitive mind, wonder about the world around you and actively seek learning opportunities
- take a break from screens, for 1 hour before sleep turn off all the screens, yes the phone also, and allow your brain to rest from the constant influx of information
- spend time alone – doing nothing, it is known that incredible things can come out of boredom
- practice delaying gratification as often as possible, this will strengthen your will-power and self-control
- exercise your patience, next time you are waiting in line instead of passing time on the phone use this as an opportunity to practice patience
- go on a vacation / day-trip
- spend time in nature
Emotional self-care activities help you find balance. Allow yourself to experience and process all your emotions in a healthy and constructive way.
- spend time with people you love
- take time to reflect on yourself and life
- express your feelings in a healthy way by talking, creating art or journaling
- allow yourself to feel the feelings
- do something comforting / relaxing (take a bath, watch a movie, cook/bake, design your dream home in sims…)
- write affirmations and read them out loud few times
- respect yourself by talking and behaving to yourself as you wish others would talk and behave to you
- learn stress management techniques
- talk about your problems, worries and fears with family, friends, professionals or kind strangers on the internet
Spiritual self-care activities aim to give you deeper meaning and appreciation for life. Whether you are spiritual or religious, these activities will greatly help you in overcoming difficulties in life and finding the strength to go through life with grace.
- pray (if you are religious)
- recognize and think about what gives meaning to your life
- know your morals, values and priorities, go back to them whenever you have a problem or dilemma
- act in accordance with your morals and values
- contemplate, take time to think and reflect on yourself and life
- think about mortality to appreciate and value the gift that is life
- listen to your inner voice, observe your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and judgements
- participate in causes you believe
Social self-care activities are focused on maintaining satisfying and close relationships with people and having meaningful interactions. People are social beings that rely on each other to survive. That means having healthy and meaningful relationships with others is essential to feel fulfillment and happiness in life.
- spend time with people you actually like, and avoid or limit, if avoiding is not possible, time spent with those that make you feel bad in any way
- stay in regular contact with friends and family who live far away
- have meaningful conversations, skip the gossip and instead talk about your thoughts and feelings
- do fun activities with people you love
- take a trip with family / friends and create lifelong memories
- ask and offer help
- meet new people
- keep in touch with old friends
- smile when you make an eye-contact with a stranger
- be polite, always without exceptions, your behavior should be a reflection of your personality and not a response to someones’ actions
Professional self-care includes activities that help you stay knowledgeable and relevant in your profession as well as respect your limits to prevent burnout.
- read professional journals to stay on top of the news from the field
- improve your skills by enrolling in professional development programs and courses
- always learn new things related to your profession by reading professional literature
- get involved in interesting and rewarding projects
- prevent burnout by knowing your limits, taking regular breaks and not taking on more work than you can handle
- keep your workspace clean and organized
- plan your work by writing yearly/monthly/weekly/daily to-do lists
- maintain friendly but professional relationships with colleagues
- learn strategies to deal with difficult people
CREATE YOUR PERSONALIZED SELF-CARE PLAN
While creating your weekly (or monthly) self-care plan make sure you are covering activities from all six categories.
1. Choose activities
Choose activities you want and need in your life and make a plan for how you will accomplish them.
Make a mission statement where you write what you expect to gain from these activities.
2. Make a schedule
Set a time of the day when you will carry out each activity. Try to cover all categories every day. If you are pressed for time do at least one activity from each category.
3. Put your plan into action
When the time comes do the activity, consistently and mindfully.
After a week (or a month) has passed and you stuck to the plan it’s time to reassess. How are you feeling? Do you want to continue with the same plan, change or add more activities? Check-in with your mission statement, did you accomplish what you wanted?
It takes time to form a habit. But once it’s formed it becomes a part of you. Suddenly you don’t need reminders to do the activity. Your mind and body will look forward to the activity and it will become an essential part of your life.
NEXT UP: 5 Simple Habits to Improve Your Life