Why Writing Down Your Self-Care Plan is Essential to Your Well-Being

 

(Image Credit: http://recoveryaffirmations.tumblr.com/)

(Image Credit: http://recoveryaffirmations.tumblr.com/)

Making room for self care practices is not only helpful, it is an essential part of mental health and wellness. Far too often, when we are in the greatest moments of suffering, we find ourselves more prone to ignoring or harming ourselves rather than loving and nurturing ourselves. Setting the intention to practice self-love and self-care instead of self-neglect or self-harm is a powerful way to build a foundation from which we can heal and thrive.

So why write it down?

Sometimes we need that reassurance that it is OK to put ourselves first, that it is not selfish to take care of ourselves, and that we are worth the time, energy, and money we invest in ourselves. And sometimes that reassurance has to come from within. We have to remind ourselves, over and over, that we are valuable and important. When we put something on paper, we hold ourselves accountable. We make a deal with ourselves that is visible, tangible, and alive in the world outside of our own brains.

Having a tangible plan also makes it way easier to implement, especially in moments of crisis. When we are depressed, panicking, or triggered, the last thing our brains want to do is to try to figure out a way to feel better. If it feels like too daunting a task, that’s because often times, it is. Having a healthy list of options ready to go takes the pressure off of figuring it out in the moment.

Lastly, when we put the intention into writing it down, we can make sure to cover all aspects of self-care so that we achieve a more holistic wellbeing. Does your list include caring practices for your physical, social, emotional, intellectual, creative, sexual, and spiritual selves? If you are not sure what each of these parts of you need to thrive, making a list of possibilities is a way of listening to them.

So get started, and make it fun! Here are some ideas:

  1. Journal (or try an art journal!)
  2. Meditate/pray.
  3. Call _____________________ (list out all the people you can call and talk to, including crisis lines.)
  4. Run/hike/climb/go to the gym/etc.
  5. Drop in to a yoga class, or practice for a few minutes at home.
  6. Take a bath.
  7. Try a guided mindfulness exercise.
  8. Draw, paint, collage, or start another kind of art project.
  9. Go for a walk and take pictures of little inspiring things.
  10. Cuddle with a pet.
  11. Cook a healthy meal.
  12. Listen mindfully to music
  13. Keep a “smile file” online of cute videos and uplifting stories.
  14. Watch a funny movie.
  15. Try engaging your sense of smell with aromatherapy or simply lighting some incense.
  16. Give yourself permission to take a break from thinking about problems, and to let go of what is out of your control.
  17. Clean or organize some part of your home.
  18. Go window shopping.
  19. Curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.
  20. Build a fire.
  21. Pretend it is Thanksgiving and make a list of things you are grateful for.
  22. Ask your inner child what she/he wants to do for fun, and give it a try.
  23. Hang out with friends.
  24. Climb a tree.
  25. Try a small sensory grounding exercise.
  26. Try Aimless Wandering.
  27. Check out some Recovery Affirmations, and consider writing some of your own.
  28. Start a new craft project.
  29. Have compassion for whatever experience you are going through, letting go of judgment of your emotional process.
  30. Remind yourself that everything changes, and whatever is happening will pass.

Listen to the Younger Parts of Yourself.

Listen to yourself. Listen to all parts of yourself. Listen to your past self at every age. Read the notes. Scan the pictures. Don’t just see the wisdom in creative play and inspired bliss, but also in creative coping and inspired survival. Honor the wisdom in all the ways you made it to this point.

Honor your inner toddler and honor your inner teenager. Honor the choices you made—perhaps no one else ever has.  You need someone on your side. You did then, and you djournalso now. See how amazing you were at forging on against all odds. Find your resiliency and your growth: pink hair in the greyness of depression, lyrics strewn across your homework, a flower pressed in the pages of your story. Let your strength inspire you.

Honor your teenage inspirational forces, even if they seem silly now. Feel grateful that you were inspired. Be proud that you danced and sung and screamed along with the radio. It doesn’t matter who made you dance. You danced—perhaps against all odds. Be proud.

Growing up and into who you are, you loved. Everyone has loved someone. How much bravery that takes! Never be mad at yourself for loving; be mad at others for abusing it. But don’t be mad at yourself. Instead, love yourself. You know you can do it (after all, you’ve loved before). Trust yourself enough to love yourself.

Ask your younger self advice. Ask her opinion. She is dying to be heard. If you don’t agree with her, be curious as to why. Is there something she is afraid of? Inquire as to how she wants so desperately to protect you. Thank her. She loves you a lot.

Never forget how much your younger self loves you. She is your biggest fan. She will do anything to keep you from being hurt like she was hurt. She is your mama bear. And sometimes you may find her suggestions—escape, depression, drugs, obsession—no longer helpful. Don’t hate her for trying. As I said, she has gotten you to this point. Thank her, and tell her you are going to make new choices. You can say no to her ideas without saying no to her.  Keep her in the boat. She didn’t abandon you, so don’t abandon her.

Sometimes, it may be painful to acknowledge her—to let her in. That’s because you love her so much that you can’t stand to see her suffering. Her pain may be unbearable. It’s OK to wait until you are strong enough. But don’t wait forever. She is a part of you—the today you. She is a part of Now. And she has so much to give.

Español

Página en español veniendo pronto! Para aprender mas sobre mis servicios, llame (720) 515-5184 o mande un email a rachaeluris@gmail.com.
Rachael Uris, MA, LPC is the owner of Atacama Counseling, LLC, offering sex therapy as well as individual and couple's counseling for issues surrounding sexuality, love, and pregnancy. All services are located in downtown Boulder, Colorado, and are provided in English and Spanish.
%d bloggers like this: