Why Self-care Planning Benefits Your Wellbeing

We take a look at how creating a self-care plan helps to promote mind and body wellness, while reducing feelings of anxiety, stress and overwhelm.

In our current world it’s natural that many people may feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed at times - whether it be with school, work, social obligations or life in general. Taking a step back and actively investing in your self-care can help improve your productivity at work, your quality of life, and your overall mental health and wellbeing.

What is Self-care Planning?

Self-care focuses on activities that boost you mentally, physically, and emotionally. For example, creating time to relax, spending time doing physical exercise, or simply getting a good night’s sleep.

Creating a self-care plan helps to identify activities and practices that work for you - supporting your wellbeing and sustaining positive self-care. Following that plan can helping you feel more organised, focused and in control of your feelings.

4 Considerations When Making Your Personalised Plan:

  1. 1. Understand Your Current Self-care Routine

    When life becomes stressful, it’s easy to fall back on habits that provide comfort. Often, these strategies are not caring towards ourselves. Good self-care planning helps us avoid these unhealthy habits by paying attention to these five key areas of self-care:

    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Psychological
    • Social
    • Professional

    Considering each of the areas above, write down some positive self-care things you do already, think about things you’d like to change, and list a few self-care activities that you’d like to try (examples below).

  2. 2. Identify Which Activities Work Best for You

    Identify activities you enjoy, and that you feel will bring about the best results. Calmer offer some great examples:

    • Exercising - either at home, in a local park, or at the gym
    • Making a healthy, nutritious, and tasty meal - or even a whole batch!
    • Checking in with your health and/or booking an in-person or virtual appointment with a specialist to discuss any health concerns you may have
    • Spending time with your partner, friends, or family, whether that’s virtually or in-person
    • Practicing meditation or breathing exercises
    • Getting out into nature, especially if you spend most of your waking hours indoors
    • Enjoying some leisure time, such as watching a film, reading a book, or playing a game
    • Pampering yourself with a long bath, a facial or a massage
    • Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep - try getting 7-8 hours as a minimum
    • Listening to music that improves your mood, or a podcast that inspires you
    • Planning time off work - be it a trip away on a weekend, something longer or simply enjoying time at home to relax and unwind
    • Trying a new creative activity, such as writing a journal, morning pages, painting, or sewing

       

  3. 3. Be Realistic: Decide How Often You can Practice Self-Care and Set Goals

    Set aside time for self-care by blocking out time in your calendar, or setting reminders in your phone. Also, include goal setting in your calendar - for example, Saturday: Find a couple of new healthy recipes to try for dinner next week, or Sunday: Arrange a dog walk with a friend.

    Make sure you’re realistic and start small.

    Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to change everything at once. Take one thing at a time and build on that over time. Even if it’s making time for a long bath, or setting aside time to put your feet up with a book and a cuppa – start by getting in the habit of booking time for yourself and your self-care, no matter how ‘small’ the activity.

  4. 4. Reflection and Support

    Record your activities, goals and progress so you can see where you’ve done well, or areas where you might have struggled or found barriers. If you didn’t achieve a goal, don’t beat yourself up, move it to the next week or think of another way you might be able to achieve it.

    Ask a friend or family member to support you. They might have helpful suggestions, and will know to give you space when you have set your ‘me time’, or could accompany you to events if you need.

    Identify who you can call if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or sad. This may include loved ones, a coach, teacher, or mental health professional. In work and life there are bound to be things that happen unexpectedly that can cause you to feel that way. It might be worth having a few self-care activities planned for when this happens. Knowing what will make you feel better in times of need will make it a lot easier to manage your emotional, mental, and physical health.

Extra Resources:

https://www.mind.org.uk

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help

https://www.selfcareforum.org