Enlightened State

How to Create a Self-Care Plan... and Why You Need One (with a FREE Self-Care printable!)

Self-CareMorgan Vanek33 Comments

During any hectic time in your life, it becomes so important to take good care of yourself.  Whether it's the holidays or just a stressful period at work or home, taking time to focus on self-care is essential to your well-being.  Self-care helps you to function at a higher level, and feeling good will enable you to take on life's challenges.  

But it's during these stressful times that we are most likely to let self-care fall by the wayside.  When there is so much to do, it's easy to put those tasks on the back burner, letting them go until it becomes more convenient.  It seems like there is no time to relax in a bubble bath, enjoy a special treat, meditate, or prepare healthy meals when there is so much work to do.  

This is something that I struggle with all the time.  My mind moves quickly, and I can be a little scattered sometimes. If the Reminders app on my iPhone ever stopped working, I would probably cease to function.  When I start to get stressed out? Forget about it.  My mind is going 300 miles an hour, and I can't see anything in the blur around me.  

A long time ago, I realized that I needed a coping mechanism for this problem, and I started making lists.  I love lists, and you can usually spot me adding to my running to-do list as soon as something comes up so that I don't forget it.  Lists really help me stay on track in every area of my life, and self-care is no exception.  

Since I know I'll forget to take time for myself when I start to get overwhelmed,  I make a plan in advance.  By not only building self-care into my routine, but also using a daily checklist, I can ensure that I am always spending the time I need on this important task.  I don't feel right until everything has been marked off my list, so I know I'll get it done.

My self-care checklist is personalized just for me and the things that make me feel good.  I've organized it into parts, so that I know I'm constantly getting the support I need from myself.  It contains both daily tasks and weekly to-dos, as well as on-going reminders for myself, so that I am always caring for myself in big and small ways.  The entire routine is designed to make life less stressful and more enjoyable for me.  Check it out below:  


Eat a healthy breakfast

Drink no more than two cups of coffee, preferably one


Go on a short walk with Daisy

Review list of passions/goals

Give yourself a compliment or say something positive


During the Day

Drink at least a 1/2 gallon water

Limit caffeine

Take at least one walk

Eat a morning AND afternoon snack

Do not skip meals

Look at something pretty

Use some lavender lotion



Take a long walk with Daisy

Lay out/prepare tomorrow's outfit

Use lotion on your hands and body

Make a to-do list for tomorrow

Stretch and/or work out

Prepare and enjoy a warm nighttime drink




At Least Three Times/ Week (Pick One Each Time)

Yoga class

Read a fashion magazine

Buy something new just for you - clothes, shoes, book, candle, etc.

Watch 1-3 episodes of a TV show (no more)

Cook and eat a delicious meal

Make a craft or some art

Go on a short hike

Meet up with a friend

Snuggle with Daisy, Scout, Henry, or Bryce

Get lost in a book for a few hours

Take a bubble bath

Make and use a face mask or other DIY beauty product


Take the initiative and make a list like this for yourself to use before you really need it.  If you're already struggling with anxiety, depression, or just excessive stress, it's especially important for you to implement a list like this in your life so that you know you are getting the care you need. 

And don't be afraid to make changes if something in your plan isn't working for you.  When I first made my list, I had myself showering at night and taking a bubble bath every morning to relax before my day started.  It was great the first couple of days, but then I started to run short on time, which left me rushing to catch up with my morning. I changed the schedule to accommodate my natural rhythm, and now I consistently feel relaxed in the mornings, which sets a great tone for the rest of my day.  

If you need some help creating your own list, click here to subscribe to my email list and download a free printable self-care worksheet.  

What do you do to focus on self-care?  What special things do you like to do for yourself?