With the concept of self-care receiving more buzz than ever before, more people are practicing routines and activities to better care for themselves. At the same time, self-care is included more in our marketing, as it is being used to promote products, services and many, many, many spa services.
While getting a manicure or taking a warm bath are certainly helpful self-care ideas, we want to be mindful of how our practice of caring for ourselves is actually helping us. As we reviewed how to create your own self-care plan, its important to focus on what your needs are and how to care for them. It's essential to keep in mind that our self-care needs change as we do.
Let's take a moment to reflect: what's going on in your life right now? Are you:
Taking on new challenges in your working role? (As a parent, as an employee, as a community member, as an entrepreneur ...)
Coping with an unfamiliar stress?
Dealing with a relationship or friendship that is taking a lot of your energy?
These new, different or unfamiliar parts of our lives can sometimes require new or different self-care practices. In times of stress, new beginnings or even difficult endings, our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs may require an adjustment in how we care for them to best support these transitions. Here are three ways to update your plan to best take care of yourself:
Reflect on what your needs are.
Self-reflect on what current challenges or transitions you are experiencing and if your current self-care plan is helping support you during these changes. For instance, if you are beginning a new job, work assignment or if you're taking on a leadership role, you may need to seek support or make adjustments related to this new role.
An updated self-care plan for this transition may include connecting to professional mentorship from a seasoned person in your field or asking for more support from your loved ones in taking initiative so you can take a break from always "leading".
Explore new or different ways to care for your needs.
There is great variety in how you take care of yourself, so the next step is doing some mindful research! I have found that social media sites, like Pinterest, have great suggestions on different ways to care for yourself.
An essential part of my self-care plan is having positive, affirming messages around me in my work setting. My screensaver will run a slide show of different quotes and messages after a few minutes of inactivity and these messages always make me smile! To make sure I stay inspired and don't glaze over the same quotes over and over, I regularly find new quotes that connect to what I'm working on that month. It has been a simple and cost-free self-care update that really works for me.
Evaluate if your self-care plan is working.
Speaking of if your plan is working for you, periodically do a brief evaluation to see if the adjustments and updates you've made to your self-care plan are beneficial. Ask yourself:
Are the changes made in my new self-care plan helping me with this transition?
How do I know these changes are working?
How would I know if these changes are not working?
Notice if your needs are being fulfilled with the updates you've made or if you need to revisit your plan. Our self-care plans are not set in stone: they are fluid, flexible and are focused on taking care of us. Be mindful of what your needs are and make adjustments to the areas of your life that could use more or different support.
What updates have you made to your self-care plan?