Self-care is more than taking time for yourself. It’s a plan for specific actions you will take to maintain your health and wellbeing. The beginning of a new year is a good time to review and update your self-care plan.
Here are some helpful considerations when developing your personal wellness plan:
Self-care looks different for different people. Extroverted people regain their energy by being around others, socializing, participating in events, and being part of a crowd or audience. Introverted people regain their energy by spending time alone (or with one or two like-minded others), enjoying solitary hobbies and activities, and connecting with friends one-on-one. Where extroverts might relax and restore by going to a ball game, introverts might feel more energized by watching the game on TV. Your self-care plan should reflect the activities that fit your personal lifestyle and needs.
Your plan will also be informed by your budget. Some self-care activities, like massages or vacation trips, can be expensive. Others you can plan for, like adding more fresh vegetables and fruits to your grocery list each week (in place of fast food or processed foods.) Some of the best self-care activities are absolutely FREE—taking a walk at lunch time, carving 15 minutes out of your day to journal or meditate, giving out compliments, or taking a cat nap.
Consider others as part of your personal wellness plan. When we help others, we reap plenty of the benefits ourselves. Being a “do-gooder” provides an emotional boost, reduces stress and tension, increases happiness, and provides a sense of purpose. Find a way each month to help a neighbor, join a volunteer activity, or donate time to a person in need.
Part of your plan could involve personal growth and learning. Have you always wanted to learn to play the ukulele? Do you have art supplies waiting in the closet? Is a marathon on your bucket list? Now is the time! Find some YouTube videos and take the next step on the hobby or skill you’ve been interested in pursuing. It will result in better self-esteem, and you might even make a new friend in the process.
And finally, schedule your annual check-ups. While you may not enjoy going to the dentist or having bloodwork done, it’s important to stay in touch with your health care providers. Preventive tests like mammograms and colonoscopies are important tools that can save your life. Staying up to date on vaccines and medication regimens can help you live a fuller, longer life.