According to Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC, “Self-care is a continuous process of proactively considering and tending to your needs and maintaining your wellness.”
I have gone through some really hard times that have forced me to learn the importance of self-care (especially in mental health recovery). I learned how to create a self-care plan using the self-care strategies and activities you will learn about in this post.
It’s also important to create a well thought out self-care toolkit which includes a self care plan with effective strategies and activities as well as self-care products that bring you comfort.
A self-care toolkit can also be your “go-to” for times of immediate need. You may want to think of this as an “emergency” self-care toolkit.
*Disclaimer: I am not a health-care professional or a licensed therapist. The information provided in this article should not be used in place of professional medical care or treatment. The purpose of this post is to share my experiences and what I’ve learned in managing my own health challenges. Always consult your doctor first to be sure that you are making the best decisions for your individual needs.
This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links. This just means that at no extra cost to you I receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links in this post. This is one of the ways I support my blog & family. Read my full disclosure policy.
✅ Self-Care Strategies
Having self-care strategies that you practice is another very important part to have in your self care toolkit. These types of strategies are a must for any self care plan you create. They help you keep up with taking care of yourself and also provide positive coping strategies for dealing with life’s pressures and stress.
Choosing certain self care strategies that address your individual lifestyle and needs makes it easier to become part of a self-care routine.
You can always refer back to these strategies to reassess when your self-care gets a little out of whack and you need to get back on track with taking care of yourself-physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Regular Therapy
- Keep in touch with friends
- Use affirmations
- Practice Meditation
- Participate in an activity you enjoy
- Use cognitive behavioral therapy workbooks
Self Care Strategies for Depression
Self Care Strategies for Anxiety
- Deep Breathing
- Relaxation Techiques
- Meditation (there are tons of great apps that make this easy to do)
- Self-Help Workbooks (like this one)
Self Care Strategies for Parents
- Find and participate in a hobby
- Maintain friendships
- Eat well
- Build a support system and ask for help when you need it
- Choose an activity to do all by yourself
- Encourage your kids to do things for themselves
Negative Coping Strategies for Self Care
- Shopping as an escape
- Eating for comfort instead of nutrition
- Not setting boundaries
- Using alcohol or drugs
- Blame yourself
✅ Self-Care Activities
Now that you have some ideas what strategies you need, choose specific activities that will allow you to carry out these strategies.
Self-care activities are simple things that you do to practice self care.
There are multiple self care activities you can do that fall under one strategy. For instance, journaling–there are many different types and ways to journal. You might want to use a guided journal that leads you self-discovery or working through issues. Or you may prefer to just journal in a non-structured way by writing about your experiences and feelings you have each day.
Physical Self Care Activities
These activities support your body’s physical health. You decide the frequency and intensity based on your current health needs.
- Walk for 15 minutes a day
- Eat one or more fruits and vegetables each day
- Go for a bike ride
- Take a shower
- Drink 4 glasses of water each day (you can adjust based on your current habits)
- Get regular checkups with your doctor and preventative care
- Get a massage
Mental Self-Care Activities
To take care of yourself mentally, consider what things help you decrease or cope with stress. Activities that address mental health challenges you face.
- Use a bullet journal for organizing your life, setting goals, and/or keeping track of important things
- Regularly see a psychologist or therapist
- Make your bed (I don’t know why but this always makes me feel better about my day)
- Use an app like Headspace for guided meditation
- Choose a small project to purge and organize (like cleaning out your closet or pantry)
- Coloring for adults (here’s over 100 freed adult coloring sheets)
- Read positive affirmations each morning (here is a list to get you started)
Emotional Self Care Activities
These kind of self-care activities focus on doing things you enjoy and finding/using a support system you can count on when you need help and support.
- Go to a movie or have dinner with a friend
- Read a book on a topic or in a genre that you would enjoy (and color fun bookmarks like these free ones)
- Give a friend a call
- Find or participate in a hobby
- Volunteer in a way that is comfortable for you
✅ Self-Care Plan
Now that you have a better understanding of self care strategies and activities, you are ready to create a self-care plan. If you haven’t already created one, here is a step- by-step method that’s easy and fast.
Self-Care Plan Worksheet PDF
When you sign up to receive my Free Self-Care Starter Kit , you will find this worksheet that will help you develop your self care plan.
✅ Build Your Toolkit with these Self-Care Worksheets
All of the following printable self care toolbox worksheets you can grab for free when you sign up for our Self Care Starter Kit.
Self-Care Assessment Worksheet
The first step is to assess what your self care looks like right now. And to identify the most beneficial activities that will improve your overall health (mentally, physically, and emotionally.)
Self-Care Plan Worksheet
Once you identify the self care strategies that will most help you right now, it’s important to create a plan of action to make those changes in your life. A plan helps figure out where and how you will make it happen.
And once you are routinely using this self care plan, you can add or increase positive activities to help you reach higher goals. Life is always a work in progress.
Self Care Checklist
Sometimes a simple checklist of the activities you plan to do each day is all you need to move in the right direction. My counselor suggested I start with just 3 things to accomplish each day. Then as those things become routine, you can add more activities or increase the focus/intensity of each activity.
This “My 3 Things” checklist comes in both letter size (A4) and bullet journal size (A5.)
Daily Self Care Checklist
Some activities are best done daily, but others might just be weekly or monthly activities. You can use this checklist for multiple time frames.
For instance, meeting up with a friend might be a weekly or monthly activity. Whereas making your bed is more of a daily activity.
✅ Products for Your Self Care Kit
The following is a list of items that bring you comfort and/or allow you to practice the self-care strategies and activities mentioned above. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find helpful products for your self care kit.
Best Self Care Products on Amazon
Amazon is my go-to place for ordering items these days. If it’s reasonable priced and is shipped quickly, then I chose that over running a million errands each week.
I put together this awesome Self-Care Items Idea List with some of my favorite self care products that you can easily find on Amazon.
Weighted blankets provide deep pressure touch which reduces stress by promoting relaxation and deep breathing. It is thought that this may trigger release of certain “feel good” hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
2. Journal & Pens
Bullet journaling has been a buzzword for a while now. It’s supposed to help you externalize thoughts (which means get them out of your head and put them in a place that you can come back to later). This frees up your brain to think more clearly and concentrate better. Who doesn’t need some of that? It also is used as a planner of sorts to not just jot down your feelings, but keep track of important things in your life.
3. Essential Oils
Many people believe that essential oils have healing effects on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I mainly use them with a diffuser for aromatherapy to help reduce stress and anxiety.
4. Fidget Toys
Fidget toys are probably super annoying to teachers because what started out as an occupational therapy tool for ADHD or autistic kids, turned into a fad. But fidget toys can help ease anxiety and give extra sensory input to people that have a need for it. I think every person can make use of one of these items even if it’s just for stress relief (or release.)
5. Good Book (change to kindle subscription?)
Different teas have different therapeutic qualities. I’m from the south, so when you say tea, I think “Sweet or Unsweet?” But I have found that peppermint tea is really helpful with bloating and doesn’t taste so “outdoorsy.” Go ahead, you can laugh . . .
7. Eye Masks
Eye masks can be used as sleep aids or for beauty needs. They can also be used to block out light when you feel over stimulated or are fighting a migraine.
8. Fuzzy Socks
A good pair of fuzzy socks comforts the soul as much as your feet. I love mine but my kids always steal them and run off to “skate” on our wood floors. I bought my 14-year-old son a pair for his birthday and I think he like them more than the cash we gave him! Nah, he like the cash better. . . But, it tickled me the other day because he wore them to school with his tennis shoes.
9. Coloring Book
Adult coloring books are all the rage, but I think they are truly helpful. It helps me calm down and focus on one thing-coloring and let the other thoughts clogging my mind be released. Read this to get 200+ Amazing Free Adult Coloring Page Printables.
You can create your own affirmations based on the goals and challenges you have in your life. I have created some for my readers. Just subscribe to our email list and you will get access to our Library of Freebies and you can download them from there. Some are blank for you to write your own.
✅ How to Put Together Your Self-Care Kit
Once you’ve planned out what self-care strategies and activities you will make part of your life, you are ready to put together your self-care tool kit.
Follow these steps:
- Make a list of all the positive strategies you will use
- Create a checklist to keep track of how often you practice the self-care activities you’ve chosen. Make sure to include activities for physical, emotional, and mental self-care.
- Gather items that will help you practice self-care.
- You can create your own self-care kit by using a cute box, basket, or crate.
Now your self care tool kit will be ready at any time to support your efforts to take care of yourself in a positive and healthy way.
✅ Free Self Care Printables
I’ve created several free printable self-care worksheets to put in your toolkit. To make it easy to access, I’ve combined them all into my Self-Care Starter Kit. It includes many worksheets to help you successfully practice self care on a regular basis.
The free self care printables in the starter kit are:
- Physical Self Care Assessment Checklist
- Mental Self Care Assessment Checklist
- Emotional Self Care Assessment Checklist
- Daily Self-Care Activities Tracker
- “My Three Things Today” Daily Self Care Worksheet (Letter Size A4)
- “My Three Things Today” Daily Self Care Worksheet (Bullet Journal Size A5)
- Daily Self-Care Plan of Action
- Weekly Self-Care Plan of Action
- Monthly Self-Care Plan of Action
No self-care toolkit is truly complete without all four of these components: Self-care plan, self-care strategies, self-care activities, and comfort and therapeutic items.
So get started with taking care of yourself on a regular basis. Self-care is something every one of us needs to do and can benefit from a well thought out self-care routine individualized to meet our specific needs.
I don’t know about you, but I am going put on my comfy socks and get my coloring pages out–