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How to Create Your Own Self-Care Plan

You may have heard it before: You can’t help others without taking care of yourself first. Self-care is an important way to protect your physical, mental and emotional health so you can better adapt to changes, build strong relationships and recover from setbacks. You can also better support those around you who might be in need.

If you’re ready to take care of yourself and practice self-care, use this information from the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) curriculum to create a realistic and effective plan.

When creating your self-care plan, it’s important to consider the following questions:

  1. What will I do for self-care? Stick to the basics and add certain self-care activities to your calendar. Some examples are getting enough sleep, exercising as appropriate for your own health, eating healthfully, spending time with loved ones, using relaxation exercises and practicing meditation.
  2. Whom can I call at any time? Identify people in your life who you trust and can talk to about the good and bad that may happen.
  3. Whom can I reach out to if I need more help? Identify who you can call if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or sad. This may include loved ones, a coach or teacher, or mental health professional.

As you start to think about what activities you want to include in your self-care plan, it can be helpful to explore these domains and brainstorm people, programs and activities that are important and feel safe to you within each. You may find that you have things for one domain, a few, or all of them:

  1. Intellectual
  2. Emotional
  3. Occupational
  4. Environment
  5. Community
  6. Physical
  7. Financial
  8. Spiritual

Remember that everyone’s self-care plan will be different — and that’s OK. Equally important, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to the supportive people in your life and discuss self-care methods that may have helped them and what you’re hoping to achieve. You can also use these tips from MHFA to care for yourself while practicing physical distancing. With the right information and tools, you can #BeTheDifference for yourself every day.

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