Listen to this article

Feeling tired, uninspired, or stressed out? This is your mind and body telling you that you need to take better care of yourself. Nowadays, practicing self-care isn’t so easy. You are busy, running against the clock, trying to achieve as many goals as possible, or excessively surfing social media. Yet, self-care is vital for individual health. Find out more about this all-important topic and how to create a checklist that helps you stay healthy, happy, and resilient. 

“Self-care” is currently a popular term that pops up in many online conversations. Instagram and YouTube are flooded with self-care tips and ideas for better personal satisfaction. But what does it actually mean? There are many definitions. The WHO, for example, describes self-care as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease and maintain health and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider.” In simpler terms, self-care is your personal way of keeping yourself healthy. 

We can think about self-care as the act of looking after your well-being to be your happiest, healthiest, and most successful self. Many people seem to underestimate its importance. But, in a world that demands hyper-productivity and perfection, finding time to recharge your batteries and relief everyday pressure is essential. Studies show that having a clear, daily self-care routine reduces stress, eases anxiety, improves concentration, minimizes destructive emotions, and even boosts happiness. In addition, research suggests it has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

What self-care is not about

Self-care is often misunderstood. Many of us associate it with procrastination or “treating ourselves”. Perhaps, when burnout or stressed out, you “treat yourself” by binge eating, scrolling down your social media, or watching a Netflix marathon. While these activities temporarily “numb” inner burdens, they come with a cost. Afterward, you think, “perhaps I shouldn’t have spent hours on my phone” or “I didn’t need that extra chocolate bar”. These behaviors are not self-care, but unhealthy coping mechanisms which many people fail to notice. Self-care is about engaging in nurturing activities that keep you healthy and content. 

Another mistake is believing that self-care is exclusive to certain people — those who have enough money and free time to do whatever they want. You promise yourself, “I will do this once I have the time or once I saved enough”. Yet, self-care is not a luxury. It’s something inexpensive that you integrate into your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth and washing the dishes. Simple activities like going for a walk, listening to relaxing music, or meditating are for free and can be easily added to your day-to-day. 

Most importantly, you should differentiate between self-care and self-improvement. The latter often stems from a desire to fix something wrong with yourself. The beauty and weight-loss industry make their profits by telling consumers that, by following certain measures, they will be able to correct bad behaviors and deficiencies. Instead of helping, this sends us straight into a spiral of shame and guilt. Self-care does not solely focus on the future, but on positive experiences that have an impact on the now — they help you be mindful and understanding of what works for you as an individual.

Consider a couple of things before writing down a self-care checklist.

5 things to consider before creating your personalized self-care checklist

There’s a reason why many people abandon their self-care plans. It may be that they don’t understand their needs, being too preoccupied with following others’ routines. Or, they get frustrated and burn out when they don’t see a positive difference. This is why, before creating your self-care plan, you should consider the following points. 

1. Understand why managing stress is important 

We are guilty of glorifying the “always busy” lifestyle and 24/7 work culture. But this inevitably leads to stress and stress can have severe consequences for your health. Take some time to properly research the impact of stress on your health. This will help you understand why de-stress techniques at work and home are necessary and why they matter. 

2. Find what works for you 

If you are creating a daily self-care checklist, you might borrow from what you see online. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s worth remembering that everyone is different. Instead of focusing on what others are doing, why not prioritize what matters to you? Perhaps you need an emotional connection or dedicate time to your favorite hobby. Or, it could be that you have a medical condition that prevents you from exercising as many self-care lists suggest. In any case, decide what works best for you. If you are struggling, share your self-care intentions with a doctor or professional for further guidance. 

3. Be constant

You wake up one day and decide it’s time to tick off every item on your self-care checklist. This makes you feel wonderful and realized. But “life gets in the way” or you over-exhaust yourself. Then, your self-care routine is left forgotten. The key to successful self-care habits is making them habits. Habits are rituals or behaviors that you perform almost automatically like showering every day, drinking a cup of coffee in the mornings, or reading the news. The goal is to repeat your self-care activities until they become a natural part of your day. 

4. Talk about it 

You are working on a self-care day checklist, but only you know about these wonderful plans. Don’t be shy and share it with the world! If your friends and family are aware that you need to take care of yourself, they’ll cheer you up and be there for you whenever you feel like giving up. 

5. Be kind to yourself 

Not everything goes according to plan, and that’s ok! There may be days when you won’t be able to fulfill your self-care ideas. Do not beat yourself up. Take a deep breath and acknowledge that there are some things beyond your control. And, most importantly, remember that there’s always another chance. 

Our self-care tips 

As mentioned before, each person is different and has individual needs that can be addressed through a self-care checklist. That’s why there is no one-size-fits-all self-care solution. But, if you are looking for ideas, have a look at our self-care tips below to enrich your mind, body, and spirit. Then, choose which ones will likely benefit you the most. 

For your mind

  • Declutter your home. “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life-transforming,” says organizational consultant Marie Kondo. Indeed, when you enter a messy house, you feel overwhelmed and distressed. When you live in a space like this, stress becomes a constant. Try to tidy up your bed every day or organize that spot that has been nagging you for a while.
  • Detox from social media. Social media and the internet, in general, can be a negative place. Unplug yourself for 30 minutes or one hour a day. Dedicate this time to do your hobbies or simply relax.
  • Balance professional/personal life. It may sound like a complicated and broad statement, but it doesn’t have to be. You can draw a clear line between your job and personal life by doing small. During weekends, for example, avoid looking at your emails or answering work-related calls. If you are working from home, set an alarm at the beginning and start of your shift. The idea is to have plenty of free time to take your mind off work-related stressors and anxieties.
  • Take a different route to work. Whenever you do something new, you create new neural pathways in your brain. Taking an alternative route to your workplace is a fun, adventurous way to stimulate your mind.
  • Revisit your bucket list. What’s the thing that has been sitting on your bucket list for ages? Don’t delay it more than necessary and do it as soon as possible. Then, you’ll feel proud and at ease with yourself.
  • Meditate for 20 to 25 minutes a day. Meditation is beneficial for your mind, body, and spirit. Interestingly, neuroscience has found that meditators are able to change the ways in which their brains work. This results in superior concentration, memory, and decision-making. You can make meditation a daily habit with the most advanced sound meditations with nature sounds.Add meditation to your self-care checklist

For your body

  • Stretch at work. Sitting eight or more hours in front of a computer has become the new normal, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy! Stretch your body during your coffee breaks or downtime.
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week for healthy adults.
  • Include veggies and fruits in your diet. Vegetables and fruits pack a lot of nutrition into a minimum of calories. Make sure to eat your daily dose of greens and fruit to keep your digestive system healthy.
  • Take a walk in nature. The field of environmental psychology concludes that nature helps us manage stress, gain focus, and balance our emotions. Whenever possible, take a walk in nature or simply spend time breathing fresh air.
  • Get plenty of sleep. A good night’s sleep heals your body and gives you plenty of energy to go through your day. Prioritize deep rest by following a daily sleep hygiene routine.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking several cups of water every day prevents dehydration, which causes mood changes, overheating, and unclear thinking.
  • Do a body scan. This is a simple, yet effective practice for releasing tension. Simply focus on bodily sensations in sequences from feet to head. 

Related: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind – 6 Ways to Boost Your Wellbeing


For your soul

  • Practice gratitude. Once a week, write down three things you are grateful for. Or, why not thank a loved one in person? You might brighten someone’s day by showing your love and appreciation. 
  • Compliment yourself. Speaking of love and appreciation, don’t forget about a very important person: YOU. Think about your strengths and virtues, and give yourself the praise you deserve. 
  • Do a random act of kindness. Hold a door open for a stranger, get coffee for a colleague, or help a family member in need. It will make you feel warm and happy inside! 
  • Reach out to a friend or loved one. Think about that friend or relative you haven’t spoken to in ages. Drop them a line or call them. 
  • Write down your thoughts. Many times, we struggle to express our thoughts and feelings. That’s why journaling is so useful and therapeutic. If you aren’t a gifted writer, don’t worry! What matters most is that you are opening up and expressing yourself. 

Get your printable self-care checklist 

Looking forward to making self-care a daily habit? We’ve got you covered! Download Synctuition’s printable self-care checklist. You’ll find blank space to write down the mental, physical, and spiritual rituals that work best for you. Get ready to become your healthiest and happiest self. 

Download your personalized self-care checklist.