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).
- 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.
- 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