This Is The Ultimate Self-Care Checklist
7 minutes read
We often hear the term ‘self-care’ thrown around with abandon, but how many of us have a self-care checklist to help ensure we’re properly looking after ourselves? Self-care means listening to your body and mind, and having a good self-care routine means you are better equipped to be there for those around you. Research has shown that self-care can have physical and psychological benefits, but many of us are guilty of putting our needs to the bottom of the to-do list, so let’s pick up our pencils and put together a personal care checklist.
What is a self-care checklist?
It’s fair to say that when life throws you challenges, it can be difficult to navigate through adversity smoothly. However, self-care is one of the tools we can utilise to help us sail through choppy waters. So often dismissed as indulgent or just an excuse to treat yourself, proper self-care is about much more. Aspects of our health and wellbeing that are impacted by self-care include:
- Our feelings of stress and anxiety
- The risk of getting ill
- How energetic and engaged we are
- Our quality of life
- The feeling of being burned out
- Our relationships
If you find it difficult to justify taking the time for yourself, this is where a self-care checklist comes into its own. A physical list will help ensure you take proper time for yourself when needed. Specific in nature, it will be tailored to your needs, and while it might take a little brain power to put together, the results, we promise, are worth it.
Physical self-care can often become cluttered with vanity; exercising, for example, solely to prove that we have a bottom worth sharing on Instagram. But physical self-care is simply the act of keeping your body functioning at its best. We all know that exercise is good for us, and most adults should try to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately intense activity a week to keep our bodies in tip-top condition.
We all know that a good night’s sleep is essential, but poor sleep has a knock-on effect on almost every area of our health and wellbeing. Having plenty of good quality zzzs can improve your mood and ability to concentrate. On the other hand, a consistent lack of good sleep runs the risk of spiking your blood pressure, increasing your risk of diabetes or heart problems, and reducing how effectively your immune system operates. Adults should aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, so prioritise a healthy nighttime routine to ensure you can peacefully hit the pillow. Avoid caffeinated beverages past lunchtime; however tempting, don’t be overindulgent when napping.
What you eat is also very important, and choosing a balanced diet containing lots of nourishing ingredients can help support your immune system and keep you healthy. But have you also considered how you eat? Extreme diets or restricting yourself with food can negatively affect your mood and increase your stress levels. There are practices like mindful eating that can change the way that you approach food.
When we neglect our physical bodies, we quickly see the tell-tale signs. When it comes to looking after our minds, it’s a little trickier to spot. Neglecting our mental health self-care can leave us stressed and anxious and have a knock-on effect on our physical health. However, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits to try and perk ourselves up. Who hasn’t added something extra to your basket when you need a little pick-me-up? But if you need more financial capacity for these treats, this adds stress instead of taking it away.
The good news is that there are plenty of healthy ways to boost your emotional health. Meditation is a fantastic way to find peace in a tech-heavy world where it often feels like everyone is competing for your attention, and there are plenty of different techniques to try. Prioritising downtime can feel challenging, but even turning off your phone and going for a ten-minute walk can positively affect your mindset. Consider a gratitude journal and take note of the things you are thankful for. Studies have shown that compared with people who only wrote down their negative experiences, those who wrote gratitude journals reported that their mental health improved significantly after four weeks.
And remember how important the people around us are, but don’t fret if your social circle is smaller, as quality is vastly more important than quantity. Unfortunately, we’re often led to believe that a full life means a revolving door of friends and a calendar chock full of plans. Still, finding a balance between spending time with other people and being comfortable with your own company is crucial. So if you want more people in your life, why not look at events in your local area where you could connect with others? Book clubs are a great way to meet like-minded people, and having a discussion topic already on the agenda takes the edge of talking to new people for the first time.
Touch is also important as it releases oxytocin, the love hormone. People without contact for extended periods suffer from ‘touch starvation‘. Touch doesn’t have to be intimate or sexual; you could get a massage or ask a friend for a hug. For some people, that might not be something they feel comfortable with, but even just wrapping your arms around yourself can be incredibly soothing.
Questions to ask yourself
The first question on your lips when building your essential self-care checklist should be: is this realistic for me? You can have all the best intentions in the world, but if you don’t have time for daily meditation sessions, they don’t belong on your care checklist. If you overexert your expectations, you can be left deflated when you inevitably can’t meet them. Think about the time that you have and what your priorities are. Finances are also something you need to consider. If you want to exercise more, but your local gym is costly, try jogging or seek out one of those outside gyms you find in local parks. But also remember that your money is yours to spend as you choose. Spending a little extra money can make us feel open to judgement, but it is worth considering if spending more cash will save you stress. Lastly, ask yourself what you enjoy doing. Are you better suited to a yoga class than aerobics? Doing an exercise you enjoy means less time dreading it, and you’re more likely to keep it up.
How to make a self-care checklist
Once you’ve asked yourself the above questions and thought about what’s realistically manageable, you can start developing your self-care checklist. We recommend making a daily and weekly checklist (if those feel overwhelming at first – why not start with a monthly checklist to ease yourself in.) Activities for your daily self-care checklist could include remembering to take a multivitamin, taking 30 minutes away from social media or a 5-minute meditation and challenging yourself to find new or different healthy foods and cook them up. You can add beefier activities such as calling a friend, attending a book club or tidying up your space for your weekly self-care checklist. And be sure to take a self-care day as and when you need to. But remember that situations can change, and people do, too, so you must view your checklist as a moveable feast instead of a rigid set of rules you must follow for the rest of your life. Be kind to yourself and try your best.
What are basic self-care needs?
At its simplest level, basic self-care comprises eating three meals a day, making sure you drink enough water and engaging in some physical movement every day. This will help keep your body in good condition. For your mind, try to engage with your emotions, and remember to take time for yourself when you can.
What are 5 self-care strategies?
Simple self-care strategies can include:
Clearing or decluttering a space
Hugging someone (or yourself)
Practising mindful breathing
Switching off your gadgets.
What should be included in a self-care day?
There are no strict rules regarding self-care, as it’s vital that whatever you choose is tailored to you and your needs. But eating well, drinking plenty of water, getting a good night’s sleep and doing something you enjoy should be on everybody’s radar.
Skin & Beauty
Products You Might Like