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Creating a Plan for Self-Care

We've all heard about self-care ... and heard about it's importance ... Often, the moments when we need self-care the most are times when we feel so overwhelmed or down we can't think straight... never mind making a healthy choice. I like to encourage folks to create their plan for self-care ahead of time when things are going well. The invitation is to put aside some time for you and reflect on all of the areas of your life and maintain balance in the different areas of our health. It is so important to consider all aspects of our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

(Source, https://dukeintegrativemedicine.org/patient-care/wheel-of-health/).

You are at the centre, yellow represents mindful awareness. This can be done by paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and what is going on around you. The green area represents the different ways you might practice self-care in the 7 areas of health. The outside blue ring represents more formal care- this might include medical care, mental health care and more! To maintain overall balance and wellbeing, it is helpful to reflect on all areas of our health and assess where are now without judgement and make discerning choices for what we need moment to moment. As you read through the following areas, jot down a few ideas and keep them handy for your own self- care plan.

Mind-body This area reflects the connection between our thoughts and feelings and how they might show up in the body. Self-care practices in this area might look like

  • mindful breathing

  • meditation

  • progressive muscle relaxation

  • guided imagery to engage the bodies relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system)

  • mental health resources

  • coping skills

Nutrition Includes developing healthy, well-rounded nutritional choices that support your overall health and wellbeing. This means including a balanced, nutritional diet and limiting substances such alcohol, caffeine and other substances. Some may find due to the their workweek demands that it is helpful to meal prep on the weekend or look into affordable meal companies nearby.


Movement, Exercise + Rest Developing sustainable habits that you enjoy and meets your needs. Movement is meant to be enjoyable. You may wish to include:

  • A daily walk

  • Yoga

  • Home workout

  • Exercise or Fitness Routine

  • Swimming

  • Rowing

  • Dance

Under this area we also consider rest - our bodies aren’t meant to go, go, go! Rest and sleep are important for overall sense of wellbeing and health as well. How do you ensure that you are getting the amount of rest you need?

Personal and Professional Development Ongoing awareness of where you are with your personal anprofessional goals. How do you maintain a growth mindset in your life? How are you taking actionable steps towards your goals? Is there someone that you can enlist to support you in this area (a mentor or coach?)

Relationships and Communication We are social beings and “connection is key” as Dr. Jean Clinton shares!

Our social network is vital to our wellbeing. Our colleagues and our teams can be a tremendous support and continued clear, positive and open communication can help support us at work in our personal relationships.

Spirituality Our spiritual practices might include attending places of worship or prayer. This might also involve cultivating a connection to nature, gardening or including a gratitude practice in your regular routine.

Physical Environment We’re aware of the importance of our physical environment to meet our own safety needs and to support our own mental health. Our work and home environments can greatly impact our sense of wellbeing; including maintaining an organized, aesthetically pleasing space that reflects your values and preferences.

The most important thing to remember is that while we all share the same areas of health, the ways that we practice self-care will be unique for each of us. If you are finding that something is causing you more stress than replenishment, it's okay to let that thing go!


Creating a plan for care isn't about adding more "shoulds" to your daily life or routine rather its about giving you a roadmap that you can turn to when things get hard and provides you with options that YOU know will help you to recharge.

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