Getting Started With Your Self Care Chart
For each item on your chart, set a specific goal or amount of time you’d like to spend on each activity in order for it to get marked off on your chart. For example, five Restorative Exercise stretches, 20 minutes of walking, or two servings of vegetables, as opposed to just “more” of each. Start where you’re at and set goals that you know are within reach. If you want to build a meditation practice and are starting at zero, maybe set a goal of meditating 5 minutes per day and see if you can do that for a month before bumping it up to 10 or 20. I use check marks to note what I have done each day, but you could also put little hearts or gold star stickers or whatever makes you feel good.
I’ve already filled in a few columns activities that I think are a great place to start for most people. If they don’t apply to you, feel free to cross them out and substitute something else. Also, don’t feel like you need to fill in all the columns if that feels overwhelming – you can start with as few as one!
If you’re someone like me who always has tons of goals and should-dos floating around in your head, see if you can resist the urge to add more columns. Prioritize the ones you think will have the biggest impact and then as you slowly turn those activities into habits, you can start replacing them on the chart with new goals. Of course you can do more self care activities than are on your chart, just make sure you are still checking in on those the things you have decided you would like to do more consistently.
Here are the activities I have already filled in on the chart:
Restorative Exercise – Stretching and strengthening exercises for better alignment and whole-body health. Check out the videos on my facebook page if you need help getting started: https://www.facebook.com/sarahdegravemovement/
Walking* – bonus points for varied terrain and minimal footwear when possible.
Drink Water – recommendations on how much water you should drink each day vary depending on weight, gender, climate, and activity level, but at least 8 cups (about 2 liters) per day seems to be a pretty solid guideline for most people.
Other things you could track: Meditation, eating vegetables, sleep, taking supplements, using essential oils, Emotional Freedom Technique/tapping, affirmations, outdoor time, alone time, expressing gratitude or gratitude journaling, sugar-free days, connecting with friends or family, dance breaks
*For goals where I am trying to increase my movement or other healthy activity, I only give myself a check mark when I have done more than I usually would in a day. For example, I walk to work a few days a week, and while I still give myself kudos for that, I don’t count it on my self care chart, because my goal is to add more walking time to what I do already. So if I go for an extra walk that day, or take a longer route, I give myself a check mark for that.
At the end of each week, look at your chart and assess which areas you were able to maintain consistently and which could use more of your focus over the next week. No need to judge yourself if you didn’t check all the boxes, just make a mental note and maybe ask yourself if there are any barriers you could remove to make it easier to achieve the actions you missed. For example, if you want to eat more vegetables but don’t have time to prepare them every day or don’t like the way they taste, could you spend an hour on the weekend roasting a large batch of veggies, assembling salads, or researching recipes that might improve the flavors?
Don’t be afraid to personalize this chart as much as needed. My chart includes “vocalize” as a category because I am a singer and am trying to reconnect with and strengthen my voice. I always resist “practicing,” but once I gave myself permission to just “vocalize” and reframed it as an emotional/health exercise, it became much easier to get past that mental barrier and start doing it out of love instead of obligation. If you also find yourself really resisting something you know you “should” be doing for your health or wellbeing, you might take a look at the lens you are viewing it through and try shifting your mindset around it. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or “tapping”) can be a useful tool for working through those feelings and finding where they are rooted – it’s one of the practices on my personal self care chart!
I also encourage you to write some personal affirmations/reminders/inspiration across the top or bottom of this chart, or on a separate piece of paper placed next to it. Some examples might be:
- I deeply love and appreciate my body.
- I am worthy of health and happiness.
- It is safe to make new choices.
My chart says “Gratitude, Love, Forgiveness” across the bottom. 🙂
I’d love to hear what you decide to put on your chart or what barriers you find yourself running into. Shoot me an email at email@example.com with any questions or comments, and if you want help establishing a holistic movement practice that fits into your lifestyle and helps you nourish your body and reach your health goals, let me know and we can set up a private session.
Best wishes on your health journey!