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How to create a self-care checklist that feeds your soul

Woman writing down tasks on a self-care checklist
Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau July, 11, 2019

Baker, green thumb, living well with anxiety

There are lots of ways we take care of our bodies on a daily basis — exercising, brushing our teeth, washing our hands, eating nutritious foods. But is self-care part of your regular routine? Perhaps it should be (and by that we mean it definitely should be). As you may already know, self-care activities are just as important for your mind as eating right and exercising are for your body!

If you struggle to fit self-care into your everyday life, a self-care checklist can help you make it a priority. Here's how to create a list of effective yet realistic strategies that you can practice every day.

First, start with the basics

The foundation of any self-care checklist should be physical self-care — you know, those basic tasks mentioned above. Taking care of your physical needs helps you stay healthy and energized, which will also improve your mental well-being.

To begin, look at your current habits and identify a few things you could work on. Some key tasks to include on your checklist might include:

  • Taking a designated lunch break every day. You may be tempted to just keep working, but getting some distance from the office can help!
  • Stretching out your muscles before and after exercise. This step might feel unnecessary — especially if you barely break a sweat — but it can reduce your risk of injury and help your muscles function to their fullest.
  • Creating (and following) morning and evening skincare routines. When you feel like you look good, you enjoy a boost of confidence and self-esteem.
  • Hugging your family and friends more often. Don't underestimate the benefits of physical touch! They're real and they're powerful.

If there are any major areas of physical self-care that you struggle with — like using your gym membership card exclusively as a bookmark — be sure to include them on your list. Once you've set a few goals to work toward, it'll be easier for you to focus on prioritizing self-care.

Pondering attractive young woman with pen in hand thinking on plans and writing list to do in notepad enjoying recreation time in stylish coworking space.Thoughtful student noting text informationPick one evening task to concentrate on

To end your day on the right note, try incorporating a self-care task into your evening routine. This could be something as simple as doing the dishes — which can help you feel more organized and accomplished — but you can also make time for activities that prepare you for the next day. Try prepping the coffee maker with your favorite brew, doing some light stretching or reviewing your upcoming schedule! Getting into a self-care routine in the evening can help you wind down before bed and start your days with more intention.

Do the chore you've been putting off

Is your car overdue for an oil change? Do you still need to schedule your next dentist appointment? We all have little tasks that we put off for no real reason, and while it's not really a big deal, you're probably carrying a nagging reminder in the back your brain — and that never feels good.

Once a week, put one of these necessary-yet-annoying tasks on your self-care checklist and then try your best to get it done. Being able to clear it from your brain can provide a sense of relief and alleviate some of your stress, and if that's not self-care, we don't know what is!

Don't forget to add something fun

To find other satisfying self-care tasks, consider what areas of your life might be lacking. Are you putting enough quality time into your friendships? Have you been fulfilling your creative side? Look for areas that could use a little more attention and brainstorm fun ways to get more satisfaction out of them.

That said, if you already have a jam-packed schedule, it can be hard to find time for this type of self-care activity — but that doesn't mean you should skip it! Even during busy times, it's important to carve time out for yourself, so feel free to get a little creative. For instance, if you want to spend time outdoors but have a gym visit planned, you could go for a run outside (or gather some friends for an epic game of tag in a nearby park) instead.

Take time to reflect and revise

As you create your self-care checklist, keep in mind that it shouldn't look like anyone else's. Self-care is different for everyone! What works for your friend might not work for you; heck, sometimes even the things you think will work for you don't end up panning out. And that's OK.

Try not to get discouraged if you hit a roadblock or two. Instead, at the end of the week or month, reflect on which aspects of your checklist worked and which didn't. You can use this insight to revise your list and try new things — you never know what self-care tasks will end up feeding your soul! It's all about finding what works best for you.

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