Self-care checklist

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!