INCLUDING SELF-CARE IN YOUR LIFE
‘Self-care’ is anything we can do to take care of ourselves so that we stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. Self-care promotes positive health outcomes - such as being resilient in the tough times and better able to manage stress -, so we’ll be in a better position to manage than if we’re totally unprepared.
Self-care isn’t a once-and-done activity; it’s an ongoing awareness and practice we continuously apply in our lives and which evolves along with whatever we have going on. And it doesn’t just magically happen – we have to identify what we need, then actively apply those things to our lives.
Here, we share how you can go about developing your own self-care plan. If you’re comfortable to do so, why not get together with someone else and work on your plans together? Talking it through with others can help you come up with even more ideas.
DEVELOPING YOUR SELF-CARE PLAN
It can be really hard to think of what to do to help you cope when you’re in the middle of a challenging time, so it’s important to have a plan and already be living it wherever possible. If times are already tough, the sooner you start focusing on self-care, the better. Just remember to be gentle with yourself and realistic about what you can do.
To get started, it can help to break your planning into manageable chunks. Consider: what to do, who can help, and who and what to avoid – then bring it all together into your personalised self-care plan.
1. WHAT TO DO
Make a list of what you can do when you are stressed or upset that will help you feel better.
2. WHO CAN HELP?
Then, make a list of people you can contact if you need support or distraction - best friend, other friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, other relatives, therapist, pastor, etc. Divide the list of people into categories by asking yourself the following questions:
Next, make a list of positive things to say to yourself when you are giving yourself a hard time. Examples of negative self-talk might be:
You get the idea. Think about what you would say to a colleague with the same struggles, then apply that answer to yourself.
4. WHO AND WHAT TO AVOID
And finally, make a list of who and what to avoid when you are having a hard time.
5. PULL IT ALL TOGETHER