Self-care is incredibly important for all our individual health, but not everyone knows what is or how to start. One first step to take is to start a self-care checklist! You can customize your own self-care plan to fit your own needs and personality.
Use the time you spend going through the list below to highlight actions that resonate with you to include in your self-care plan. You can assemble a mix of things you can do in the morning, throughout the day, and at night.
Excerpted from The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Impact with Burnout by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman, ©2016 Wiley
How to use the checklist:
As you go through the list, mark the practices that you really want to do with a star. Sometimes, it can be easier to start with things you are motivated to do rather than the “must do’s.” You’ve got to start somewhere!
Remember: These are all suggestions, and there can be some activities that you may not be able to or have the capacity to do. Just do what you can and whatever makes you the most comfortable.
Rating for Frequency (how often you practice each self-care habit):
3= I practice this self-care habit daily or almost daily
2= I practice this self-care habit occasionally
1= I practice this self-care habit once in a while
0= I never do this
Sphere 1: Relationship to self
How you relate to and take care of yourself makes up your first sphere. Without prioritizing self-care, all other spheres can fall apart.
Here are ways you can attend to your personal well-being.
Seek medical care when needed and able
Get enough sleep
Eat healthy food
Attend to personal hygiene
Wear clothing I like
Exercise or a physical activity
Take a walk through nature
Play a sport
Have a spa day
Take deep breaths during the day
Take a nap
Don’t put too much to do on my plate
Take a mini vacation or a weekend trip
Go for a drive with no destination in mind
Make time for self-reflection
Watch a movie or TV show I love
Make time to do needed chores
Read a book
Do something new or that I’m not an expert in
Listen to music
Solve a puzzle or brain exercise
Set boundaries with toxic or negative people
Give myself positive affirmations
Allow myself to cry
Keep a journal
Try an artistic activity
Sphere 2: Relationship to others
Your relationship to family, friends, and acquaintances offline and online makes up your second sphere. In life and at work, you cannot avoid interacting with others. Your behaviors, habits and well-being impact and influence others, and the reverse are true as well. Here are ways you can attend to your relationships.
Schedule dates with my partner or spouse
Schedule activities to do with my children
Schedule time with my family
Schedule time with my pets
Stay in contact with friends near and far
Stay in contact with important people in my life
Ask for help if I need it
Allow friends to do things for me if they want
Schedule time with a friend
Sphere 3: Relationship to environment
The environment around you makes up your third sphere. Environment is a major force in your life, but you may not be aware of it tremendous effect on you every day. While you may not be able to significantly change your environment, you can make small changes, like those listed below, to create a cleaner, safer space for yourself to improve your health and well-being.
Declutter my home
Declutter my desk
Clean something in my house I’ve avoided cleaning
Add plants to my home or office
Start a garden
Use an aromatherapy diffuser (but be cautious of allergies!)
Take a different route to work
Ride a bike
Visit a park or zoo
Sphere 4: Relationship to work and money
Your fourth sphere takes up a lot of your time and attention and can cause stress when you don’t have good boundaries and emotions around work and money. Caring for your work relationships, and caring for yourself while at work can vastly enhance your wellbeing.
Take a lunch break away from my desk
Take time to chat with coworkers
Make quiet time to complete tasks
Get help from coworkers or boss when needed
Have a system for effectively managing time and workload
Set limits with clients, colleagues, and coworkers
Arrange my workspace
Take vacation time when earned
Have a professional peer group from which to get support or inspiration
Strive to juggle work, family, and personal activities
See a financial advisor to map out a financial plan
Open a savings account
Bring lunch to work
Sphere 5: Relationship to technology
Navigating the new sphere of your relationship with your technology can be challenging because you may already have developed bad habits around your tech. Here are some ways to implement tech wellness.
Take technology breaks when needed
Unplug from work email and social media for an evening or weekend
Don’t check work email or social media first thing in the morning and/or right before bed
Take breaks from the computer for stretching and moving around
Get a standing desk
Get a glare shield for my computer screen
Unfriend negative people from my social media feeds
Unsubscribe from email newsletters
Use an app to track my habits, how often I check my phone, or how often I move around
Now that you’ve gone through the ideas in this list, try out the ones you want first, then what you think you need to do!