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Here are six categories of self-care habits that support a well-functioning life. Take a look and notice what you already do – and what you might add to your self-care routine to bring more health, calm and satisfaction into your life.

1. Care of self

  • I get regular exercise, 20 to 60 minutes three or four times per week.
  • I attend to my body when I am hurt, injured or fatigued.
  • I get sufficient sleep (six to eight hours per night).
  • I drink enough water (six to eight glasses per day).
  • I eat whole foods in moderate portions and avoid sugary, processed and artificially sweetened foods and beverages.
  • I have a practice of meditation, prayer or simply sitting quietly that calms me.
  • I take energizing breaks (walking, stretching, and visiting a friend).

2. Feelings

  • I am comfortable with my feelings and accept them.
  • I do not turn to alcohol or drugs (prescription medications, street drugs and nicotine) to take away uncomfortable emotions.
  • I do not turn to overeating to take away uncomfortable feelings.
  • I refrain from becoming swept away in mindless activities, including overuse of e-devices for scrolling, texting and gaming.
  • I have people in my life to talk to about my feelings who are non-judgmental and willing to listen.
  • I know how to regulate and calm my feelings when they come up without suppressing them.
  • I am compassionate with myself when experiencing difficult times.

3. Social support

  • I have a support network of friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers, colleagues, helping professionals and others who care about me and cooperate with me.
  • When I am with my support network, I feel valued, connected and uplifted.
  • I am in touch with my support network on a regular basis.
  • I am part of social groups.
  • I can ask for help when I need it.
  • I see health professionals (physician, dentist, massage practitioner, psychotherapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, etc.) when needed and consider them part of my extended support system.

4. Enjoying life

  • I take time for humor, fun and play.
  • I have hobbies and interests that I enjoy that are not related to my work.
  • I take vacations, even just one or two days away from work and routine and sometimes longer.
  • Nature is part of my life in some way (tending plants, gardening, walking outdoors, and the like).
  • I am involved in community service, either formally or informally, which fulfills me and which I genuinely enjoy.

 5. Planning

  • I plan my day, week, month and year.
  • I make to-do lists and set my priorities.
  • I delegate when appropriate.
  • I refrain from trying to control others.
  • I am able to be flexible and improvise new options if my plans don’t go the way I had hoped.
  • I am kind to myself if I don’t get all my tasks completed in one day.

6. Responsibility and curiosity

  • I have skills for dealing with difficult people.
  • I can set boundaries with people who want to take advantage of me.
  • I live within my financial means.
  • I am curious about people.
  • I seek out new ways to live life that are meaningful and satisfying.
  • I value my creativity and look at life in a creative way.
  • I know my stress “triggers” and can recognize these triggers quickly and act to make changes.

By Linda Ciotola/Karen Carnabucci