Why is a self-care plan necessary?
Self-care is all about caring for oneself. It is anything you do to keep yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy. Prioritising your health is common sense, especially if you are trying to live a long life. It is often forgotten about in challenging times, like the financial crisis, job loss, divorce, or the COVID-19 pandemic. This article helps you understand the importance and need for self-care and how to prepare a personalised self-care plan.
What is a Self-care Plan?
How does self-care make you feel? Does it make you think of a massage, shopping, or even a trending Twitter hashtag? In reality, self-care is often misunderstood. A self-care plan is a collection of activities you take part in daily to improve your inner and outer well-being. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean only pampering or grooming yourself. Following a self-care plan can manage your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Spending time for yourself helps you live healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives.
Every person’s self-care plan is different and a long-term journey. It is because everyone has different physical and emotional needs. While you may feel energised after an intense workout, another person may prefer to meditate. Strategies for self-care that work for you may not work for someone else. A self-care plan will also prevent you from doing bad things and equip you with skills to help you deal with stressful situations.
Why You Need a Self-care Plan?
Self-care improves your overall well-being. Below-mentioned are the 5 benefits of self-care:
1. Mental well-being is improved
A healthy mental state and well-being get enhanced when you spend time on activities that bring joy and relieve stress. Simple but effective ways of maintaining well-being include connecting with others and exercising regularly. As you exercise regularly, you release chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that enhance your mental health and well-being. Additionally, it improves memory and clarity of thought. You can train your mind with activities, such as mindfulness or learning a new language. As a result, your mental health can be strengthened, and you can avoid mental exhaustion.
2. Stress and anxiety are managed
The feeling of stress is one we all experience daily. As a result of continued stress, you are more likely to develop:
- Work-related stress
Self-care is an essential part of managing stress and anxiety. Furthermore, it also makes it easier for you to cope with depression. The personal-care activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows you to relax your body and mind.
3. Helps to Prevent Illness
Preventing health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and cancer begins with caring for your mind and body. Drinking less alcohol and not smoking can prevent heart problems.
Taking care of yourself consistently preserves your physical health as well. According to WHO, self-care involves promoting, preventing, and maintaining health for individuals, families, and communities. Maintaining good hygiene, eating well, and being active will strengthen your immune system and keep illness at bay.
4. Increases Productivity
Often, productivity is confused with getting as much done as possible. Consequently, you neglect taking care of yourself to work more and do more until you eventually burn out. Achieving greater productivity at work and home requires prioritising self-care.
Psychologists explain that people who practice caring for themselves have good cognitive abilities, including concentration and focus. Consequently, they produce more. You must give yourself what you need to perform at your highest level.
5. Improves Personal Relationships
Self-care is commonly misunderstood as selfish. People neglect me-time because they feel guilty about it. When your cup is empty, how can you fill others’? It is not selfish to take time to show yourself kindness. Your relationships improve as a result. Being the best version of yourself strengthens your connection with others. Your plan can also include your loved ones. You can practice the plan with your friend by going for a daily walk.
Other benefits are:
- It offers some time for you alone
- You are able to find out who you are
- You are able to give more to others by practising this plan
- Increases your self-confidence level
- It improves your digestion and sleeps quality.
Self-care Plan Examples
Self-care is of three types. Physical, mental, and social or spiritual. Some examples of it are:
- Going for a walk
- Take a shower or bath
- Sit in the sunlight
- Practising good sleep hygiene
- Engaging in exercise
- Following a healthy diet
- Reading a book
- Listening to music
- Practice mindfulness
- Playing video games
- Connecting with nature
- Praying or meditating
- Speaking with a friend
How to Create a Self-care Plan?
Everyone needs a different plan. You are the best person to create a self-care plan for yourself. However, there are some general steps involved. They are:
Step 1: Analyse your current habits and behaviour
Step 2: Decide what kind of care you need
Step 3: Identify practices that support your needs and write them down
Step 4: Schedule them accordingly
Step 5: Identify barriers and remove them.
Self-care Plan for Students
- Give your body enough sleep (6- 8 hours per day) and track it with some apps like SLEEP GENIUS
- Keep track of your exercise by installing some fitness apps
- Set realistic goals for yourself
- Practice some relaxation techniques like meditation
Self-care Plan for seniors
- Practice a healthy diet, get enough sleep cut down on alcohol and exercise regularly
- Take care of your physical health and be proactive on your emotional health too
- Visit your friends regularly to build a sense of belonging
- Take a nature break or try to do something that you enjoy the most
Maintaining a Self-care Routine
Make your plan simple, and choose what you love to do. A routine you enjoy, the key is to stick to it. You can be flexible with your plan. The good and bad days will come and go. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned. A fresh start is possible.
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Depending on your daily demands, you might need different types of self-care. It is impossible to apply a single strategy to all situations. You will need to customise your plan according to your current needs. To cope with stress and challenges, you must take steps daily to ensure you get what you need. Create a plan today and give yourself the kindness you deserve.
The SMART approach can help you achieve your self-care plan. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Physical stress, mental exhaustion, and behavioural or mood changes are indicators of self-care needs.
Self-care can prevent and manage stress physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Self-care is taking care of yourself and others.
You can reflect, process ideas and thoughts, solve problems, and learn more about yourself.