Make Your Self-Care Plan Work For You

Various studies show that many of us suffer from stress and anxiety, and more so during difficult times. Taking care of ourselves should be our number one priority, but somehow it often gets relegated further down our personal priority lists.

Here is how to build a self-care strategy that focuses on your mental and physical well-being, and also fits into the busiest schedules.

  1. Choose rituals and practices that are realistic for you. It’s all very well choosing the most stress-relieving practice there is, but if you can’t see yourself doing it, it won’t be something you keep up with. Before committing to any self-care activity, think about how realistic it is and if you would actually enjoy it and DO it. Plan from there.
  2. Plan out self-care. It is easier to stick to a self-care plan if you block out time in your schedule for a self-care or de-stressing activity. You don’t need 90 minutes for a yoga class; try starting small first. Block out 20 minutes to stretch at lunchtime, or 15 minutes to practice a meditation first thing in the morning before work.
  3. Be organized. While you can and should be flexible with your schedule as things change throughout your week, being organized about self-care can help you stay on track. Practice doing a certain activity on a certain day, or at a certain time during your day. Repeating that each week will encourage the practice to become a habit.
  4. Prioritize sleep. This self-care activity is a no-brainer, but it is often the one most under-utilized. Adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Prioritizing sleep will help manage stress levels and can even help you maintain a healthier weight.
  5. Aim to exercise. Exercise improves sleep, reduces stress levels, and helps to keep you on track with your health goals. Experts advise getting around 150 minutes of exercise a week, which may feel like a lot, but it’s only around 20 minutes per day! Start with a walk around the block before bedtime and see how your sleep improves.