How to Create a Self-Care Plan (+ examples & worksheets)
Create Your Own Self-Care Plan
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Do you feel like self-care should be a priority, but you just don’t take time for yourself (or not enough time for yourself)?
If so, you need a self-care plan!
The best way to ensure that you practice self-care regularly is to have a plan.
A self-care plan is a preventative tool that will help you cope with life’s inevitable adversities.
Because you’re not exactly in the best position to be making calm, rational decisions once you’re already in the middle of a crisis. And self-care can easily fall by the wayside when life gets chaotic.
Having a plan in place ahead of time will help you to be resilient and maintain control over your health during stressful times.
Self-Care is Crucial for Your Health
Self-care is crucial for all aspects of your health: physical, mental, and spiritual. That’s why it’s good to take a holistic approach when creating your self-care plan – one that will take all these aspects into account.
The relationship you have with yourself must be protected and nurtured --when you make self-care a habit, your body, mind, and soul will thank you!
You are the only person that will be with you for your entire life. And you know yourself better than anyone else.
So, it’s really up to you to decide what types of self-care will help you in what situations and what changes need to be made in order to ensure that you get the self-care that you need.
For example, if you are an introvert, HSP, and/or empath, you have to be especially protective of your mental health and make sure you don’t get drained from others’ energies, traumas, etc.
Why is it So Hard to Practice Self-Care?
We all know that self-care is important … so then, why is it so hard to practice?!
I can think of at least three reasons:
1. False Assumptions About Self-Care
Many people feel guilty about taking time for themselves and may even believe that self-care is selfish (which couldn’t be further from the truth!) False assumptions/beliefs about self-care also include:
-self-care is expensive
-it takes too much time
-self-care must be earned
-it’s only for women
-self-care is basically just pampering
Debunking these self-care myths is key to overcoming the self-care hurdle. The truth is:
-the best things in life are free and so are many types of self-care
-taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be time consuming – in fact, some forms of self-care only take a few minutes, and some don’t require any extra time at all!
-self-care is an inherent need we all have as human beings, not a reward to be earned
-self-care knows no gender, color, ethnicity, age, etc. – again, it is an inherent need we all have as human beings
-those who consistently practice self-care are more productive, less stressed, more confident, and more resilient
2. Lack of Self-Care Examples
Another reason why self-care is so hard to practice is that it can be confusing to understand what self-care actually is. Self-care is not just bubble baths and a skin care routine --- it also encompasses other things you do to enhance your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Some examples of self-care ideas include:
-drinking enough water, eating healthy
-social media detox
-limiting interaction with negative people
-spending time in nature
-taking an aromatherapy bath
-taking time for your hobbies
-volunteering/fulfilling your purpose
-setting boundaries/ saying “no”
*Here’s a list of 33 self-care ideas for physical self-care, mental self-care, and spiritual self-care.
3.Bad Habits/Lack of Good Habits
The third reason it’s so hard to practice self-care is bad habits -- or lack of good ones.
Throughout our journey, we develop coping mechanisms to deal with stress, loss, sorrow, anger, abandonment, betrayal, and all of life’s trials and tribulations.
But some of these coping mechanisms are not healthy. So, the first step to establishing a self-care routine is often replacing hurtful habits with healing habits.
For example, instead of drinking alcohol to relax, drink herbal tea. Cut out negative self-talk and repeat positive affirmations instead. When you’re angry, don’t react immediately– breathe, do yoga, and give yourself time to calm down.
As with establishing any new habit, the more consistent you are in your practice, the more “second nature” it will become.
That’s why you need a self-care plan that you will stick to through thick and thin.
Things That Can Interfere with Your Self-Care
(but don’t let them!)
It’s essential to have self-care habits in place so you’ll be ready for whatever life throws at you.
How will you deal with an unexpected stressful event? Do you have measures in place to help you stay on track with your self-care?
You cannot afford to neglect yourself during difficult or busy times; in fact, it's during these times that self-care is the most important!
Some major life events that can interfere with your self-care routine include:
1. Getting Married/Planning a Wedding
Getting married is one of life’s most momentous, transformative occasions.
Major life events like this, although happy and exciting, can also be stressful.
A 2020 study found that 72% of soon-to-be newlyweds use the terms “very” and “extremely” to describe wedding planning stress.
Certainly, there are many stressors associated with planning a wedding … just to name a few:
-Having a safe event in light of COVID-19
-Trying to stay within a budget
-Choosing a menu
-Whittling down the guest list
-Coming up with contingency plans (what if it rains?!)
-Dealing with family members
-Having to postpone
During this time, it is important to recognize what is in and what is out of your control.
And it is also important to remember that this is supposed to be a joyous time. So, pamper yourself in the time leading up to the big day!
Self-care for the bride-to-be is crucial – make time to just relax and be mindful. You deserve a slot on that busy schedule of yours.
Having a self-care plan that you stick to in the midst of all the wedding planning will help you to keep calm, stay healthy, and mindfully enjoy the process.
For those of you looking for the perfect stress relief gift for the bride-to-be, check out our spa box on Etsy:
Bride to Be Stress Relief Gift, Self-Care by 3D Success on Etsy
2. Coping with Loss/Grief
Those who are grieving the loss of a loved one often forget to take care of themselves.
Although everyone experiences and deals with loss differently, grief can disrupt major components of physical and mental health - sleep, appetite, hygiene, energy levels, etc.
And for some, the emotional toll of any type of loss (loss of a loved one, a job, a beloved pet, a relationship, a medical diagnosis) can become all-consuming.
While it’s natural to take the time you need to grieve in a way that’s healing for you, you must also be sure to continue practicing self-care during any time of loss or crisis.
These are the times when having a self-care plan (that you'll stick to!) will really benefit you. You won’t have to think about what to do when you’re in distress – you will already have a plan in place, an established routine that works for you.
Coping with losing a loved one is never easy and it can be difficult to know how to support a friend/family member during this time.
If you’d like to express your condolences while encouraging them to practice self-care, consider these care packages or our sorry for your loss gift set on Etsy:
Sympathy Care Package, Self-Care by 3D Success on Etsy
3. Having a Baby
Many new moms let their self-care fall by the wayside after they give birth.
It seems impossible to find time for self-care with all the responsibilities that come with a new baby.
Some new mothers may even struggle with guilt when they attempt to take time for themselves.
However, this is where a self-care plan comes in handy!
During the postpartum period, it is especially critical to:
-support your body as it recovers and rebuilds, and
-support your mind as it adjusts and refocuses.
Keep in mind the old adage, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” In order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself. And doing so allows you to be better at everything else you do.
Don’t wait until your cup is empty to practice self-care – make sure it stays filled.
Stick to your self-care plan!
Obviously, changes can be made to an existing self-care plan for many reasons including having a baby. The important thing is to regularly engage in the self-care habits that help you to stay happy and healthy.
Know a new mama who needs some pampering? Try our organic essential oil-based relaxation kit on Etsy:
Take Some Time for Yourself Care Package, Self-Care by 3D Success on Etsy
Creating Your Self-Care Plan
Now, it’s time to create your very own self-care plan!
This personalized plan will help you to maintain your overall health & well-being on an everyday basis as well as during high-stress situations.
So, if you’re committed to making self-care a priority, let’s get started.
Determine Your Current Stress Level
This can be a real eye-opener.
Often, we don’t even realize how stressed we really are or what is actually causing the stress.
So, the first step in creating a self-care plan is to assess your current stress level and identify your major stressors.
Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can determine how to lessen or eliminate them.
*There is a Stress Assessment and Quiz in the Freebie Library to help you with this.
Stress and anxiety manifests differently for everyone, but common warning signs of overwhelm/too much stress include:
-weakened immune system
-lack of concentration
And stressors often have to do with:
-mental health issues
How Do You Currently Deal with Those Stressors?
Now that you’ve identified your stressors, it’s time to reflect on how you are currently dealing with them.
Are you coping in a healthy way? Or do your coping mechanisms actually make things worse?
Examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms include:
-drinking alcohol/drug abuse
-sleeping too much
-not prioritizing things that matter the most
And examples of healthy coping mechanisms include:
-exercising (releases endorphins and serotonin, natural stress-relievers)
-aromatherapy with essential oils
-expressing gratitude (Gratitude worksheets available in the Freebie Library)
-doing a brain dump (Brain Dump worksheets available in the Freebie Library)
-setting boundaries/saying no
-social media detox
-spending time in nature
-treating yourself to a luxury spa box
Connect Those Stressors to the Self-Care Activities that Help You
First, consider if there are any stressors that you can:
-avoid or limit your exposure to, and/or
-reframe your mindset regarding
For example: toxic relationships, clutter, negative thoughts, complaining, unreasonable expectations, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, multitasking, procrastinating, etc.
Remaining unavoidable stressors must be connected to healthy coping mechanisms.
Notice what forms of self-care help you to remain calm during stressful situations.
For example, you may find that it helps to mindfully color while drinking tea when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or that it helps to do yoga when you’re angry. Or that you feel happier and more energized when you eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
Whatever self-care activities work for you, make note of them.
Be Specific & Write it Down
Which brings us to the last tip I’d like to give you for creating your self-care plan...
As with any goal, your chances of success increase if you are specific and you write it down.
When you’re feeling stressed out, what will you do? What will you avoid?
Give yourself a visible reminder of your commitment to making self-care a priority. This could be in the form of your self-care plan, a quote, anything that reminds you to take care of yourself.
When practicing self-care, note what works in certain situations and what doesn’t. It may help to think of it in terms of stressors and their self-care antidotes.
For example, the Stressor might be an upcoming exam and the self-care antidote is a candlelit bath.
The Stressor might be an overpacked schedule and the self-care antidote is cancelling plans and enjoying a cozy night of TV at home by yourself.
Or the stressor might be that you’re feeling overwhelmed, and the self-care activities/antidotes are doing a brain dump and decluttering your physical environment.
Keep track of your progress and make note of any changes you want to make. If one type of self-care activity didn’t work as well as another, that’s something to pay attention to!
Review your progress periodically to make sure your needs are being met and make any necessary adjustments to your self-care plan along the way.
Self-Care Plan Worksheets
Here are some self-care worksheets I made to help you create your self-care plan!
To download these free PDFs, sign up for access to the Freebie Library. You’ll get exclusive access to these self-care worksheets plus all other content I create for the blog.
Stress Tracker, Stressors & Self-Care Activities Diary
Self-Care Tracker, Monthly Goals
Healthy & Unhealthy Self-Care Habits,
Warning Signs of Too Much Stress
Self-Care Reminders – Quotes & Positive Affirmations,
Things I Am Grateful For
I hope this post helped you to create your own self-care plan. I wish you all the best in creating it and sticking to it!
Please share in the comments … what’s your “go-to” self-care activity?
Share this & help someone else!
*Related post: How to Create a Personal Development Plan (ultimate guide with examples of personal development goals)