Discover the easy ways to start caring for your needs today. Reduce health risks with this self care plan quick guide!
Stress and anxiety are common symptom of our hectic lives. With increasing responsibilities, overwhelm is an easy state to fall into. And studies show that stress levels have been increasing over the last decade! So what’s going on? This alarming trend is becoming the norm across the globe. Thus, it is more important than ever to stick to a self care plan. Plan time to focus on your OWN physical, mental and emotional health.
This article is NOT meant to be taken as medical advice of any kind; however, it can form the basis of your initial discussion about your concerns. Consult with your doctor about any health concerns you have.
The Problem of Unchecked Chronic Stress
An alarming trend worrying healthcare workers is the rise in reported chronic stress. Bills, family, work stress and more all contribute to chronic stress. What’s more, these stressors are often pushed aside or uncontrolled. So, why is chronic stress increasing? One noted cause of this increase is less focus on prioritizing one’s own health. Fast paced lifestyles, increasing work demands and not sticking to a self care plan all contribute to this. A U.S. study on stress levels highlighted the following:
- 77% of participants experienced physical symptoms caused by stress.
- 73% of participants experienced psychological symptoms caused by stress.
- 48% of participants feel stress has increased over the last 5 years
- 48% of participants noted lying awake at night from stress
The good news is this. With a little planning, there are tons of proven ways to help reduce and regulate stress. Thus, crafting a self care plan that fits your life is critical to your well being.
But first, let’s take a deeper look at the effects high stress levels can have on your body, mind and emotions.
What Does Stress Do To The Body?
First, it’s important to note some levels of stress are critical to human functioning. Consider exercise as an example. This puts physical stress on your muscles, bones and joints. It can also be taxing mentally. But, its known that exercise is good for you. But, when does stress turn to toxic levels?
Unchecked stress levels can take a toll on the body, mind and emotional state. According to the Mayoclinic, some common physical symptoms of stress include:
- Muscle Cramps
- Low Sex Drive
- Poor Sleep
This list is particularly important as a combination of these symptoms can really add up. This can start a snowball effect where unmanaged stress can disrupt basic life needs. This makes self care and crafting a self care plan to help manage stress difficult. So, its easy to see why high stress levels affect your bodies health and wellness. But, what affect does stress have on your mental and emotional wellbeing?
What Does Stress Do To The Mind?
Mental distress, overwhelm and anxiety have seen massive increases as of late. Like physical symptoms of stress, your mental and emotional state take a beating as well. Common symptoms of high stress levels on mental and emotional states include:
- Over/Under Eating
The mental toll stress leads to can cause subtle, yet damaging behavior changes as well. Imagine the stressed worker that skips lunch to get through emails, leading under eating and fatigue. Or the sleep deprived parent feeling guilty about missing their kids soccer game.
I’m sure everyone can relate to some of these symptoms. So, what can you do today to start managing and regulating stress levels?
Prioritizing YOUR Health With Self Care
You’ve probably heard the term self care before. But, what exactly is it? Self care is any activity that improves your physical, mental or emotional wellbeing. And what’s more is self care is 100% personal to you! Including self care into your daily routine is a must. Prioritizing your own health is makes those around you happier too! If you are at your best, you can provide for the ones you love most.
Keep reading for self care plan ideas and tips!
Create Your Self Care Plan in 3 Easy Steps
Creating a self care plan that you can stick to is critical in keeping stress levels at bay. So, what exactly is a self care plan? This is the action of planning time to focus on your OWN physical, mental and emotional health. Much like a workout plan, this plan should be specific and something you can track the progress of! For smart goal setting advice, check out these tips!
A good self care plan takes into account the aspects of self care. This includes physical, mental, emotional activities that improve your health and wellness. When planning a self care routine you can stick to, start with these three easy steps.
1.) Start Journaling
Take 5 minutes in the morning AND night to organize your thoughts and reflect on the the day. You will begin to notice patterns in your own life that cause stress. Sometimes, when we get in the habit of daily life, it’s hard to pause and reflect. But, journaling forces us to focus on the task at hand and check in with ourselves. Setting time aside for journaling helps connect your mind and body. It’s often said that the furthest distance in the world is that between the head and heart. Journaling is THE BEST way to connect and check in. Give it a try with our self care journal below!
We created a 30 day self care journal for FREE to help kickstart your wellness journey.
2.) Identify What PHYSICAL Activity You Enjoy
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been SOLD on a miracle diet or workout program, and absolutely HATE it once I start. And of course, before I really even get started with it, I quit. So, what can you do to include physical self care in your plan? Identify what physical activity you enjoy! Don’t worry about what experts say you need (HINT: you need what they’re selling). If you like hiking, prioritize hiking. If you like lifting weights, prioritize weights.
One of the best mood boosters and stress reducers is exercise! This could be a daily walk, run, basketball game – you name it. Remember, developing a self care plan is unique to YOU. Make it fun! Need more Self Care Ideas to get you started? Check out these self care articles below!
3.) Identify Self Limiting Beliefs
If you can name it, you can tame it.Dr. Dan Siegel
This can be the hardest part of developing a self care plan. But, it is critical to complete! Self limiting habits and behaviors are those actions and thoughts that impede our development and success. These are often subtle but can sabotage your day and add to stress levels. Below are some common self limiting beliefs to help guide you.
- I Don’t Have Time
- I’m Not Good Enough For That
- I Failed
- I’m Not Smart Enough
- I wish I Was Able To Do That
- I Focus On Other People’s Priorities Over My Own
Once you’ve identified some self limiting beliefs, try to reframe this negative thinking. For example, change I failed to I’m learning. These subtle changes can have big impacts on regulating stress! Another helpful tip when trying to be easier on yourself is this. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend. We tend to be our worst critic and this helps reframe the words you use when in stressful situations.
7 Self Care Activities PROVEN To Reduce Stress!
With the steps above completed, you should have a pretty good idea of stress related sources in your life. This can be work, poor sleep, poor diet, etc. The key is to identify these things and WRITE IT DOWN. By doing this, you are actively choosing to identify parts of your life you can improve. And the best part? The self care plan and activities you choose should be fun and energize you, just like a workout plan. To get started, here are 10 self care ideas that are proven to reduce stress!
Meditation is one of the best routine practices for stress relief there is. And the best part is this. Meditation requires no equipment and doesn’t have to take a ton of time! Effective in combating stress, meditation helps with the following:
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
If your new to meditation, it can be intimidating and down right frustrating. Head over to the Breaking Zen YouTube channel for FREE guided meditations perfect for beginners!
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE!
2.) Practice Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on mind body wellness. Yoga consists of.
- Physical poses called asanas (pronounced AH-SAH-NAHS).
- Breathing exercises called pranayama (pronounced prah-nah-YAH-ma).
- Meditations and mantras (pronounced MAHN-truhs).
To deal with stress , yoga is an effective tool. Yoga’s asanas and breathing exercises help balance, regulate, and decrease stress. Yoga practices like Dhyana, Bhakti, and Kirtan are great choices for stress management.
New to yoga, but want to add it to your self care plan? Try Bulldog Yoga, our favorite affordable virtual yoga training!
3.) Adult Coloring Books
Coloring is highly therapeutic and helps you express your emotions and thoughts. Grab a good coloring set and get creative! Adult coloring books have seen a huge increase in popularity as it’s shown to be an excellent mindfulness practice. What’s more is coloring helps boost creativity! Be sure to get your FREE copy of our 30 day self care journal. Each day includes a mindfulness mandala so you can try it out!
This was a huge stressor for me. But, as soon I made an effort to declutter my living space my stress levels instantly reduced. And there is research to back this up showing it has positive effects on your health. Science shows that more stuff doesn’t always mean more happiness. In fact, more things often cause more stress! Reducing clutter also helps improve focus, with less things to keep track of. If you’ve been putting off cleaning out the garage or closet, give it a try and see if it helps reduce your stress!
Growing your own fresh herbs, fruits and veggies right from home has never been easier. And it is a common stress reducer! From simple DIY gardens to all in one grow systems, its no surprise why this trend has been booming. Best yet, growing your own vegetables and herbs provide an excellent way to enhance the healthy food you eat and brighten your home.
New to gardening? 5 Simple Considerations When Planning an Indoor Tower Garden.
Keep reading for more self care plan ideas and stress reducers
6.) Create A Zen Space
No matter the size of your house or apartment, you can create a “me-zone”. Fill this space with everything that makes you comfortable and pay it a visit everyday! This could include personal letters of motivation to yourself, affirmations, meditation cushions, scented candles etc. Make it a relaxing, stress free spot just for you!
Really tight on space? Try a self care kit instead!
7.) Get Quality Sleep
Good sleep is critical. It provides your body and mind a chance to recharge at the end of the day. One of my favorite tips? Get into a night routine. We often emphasize getting into morning routines, however, establishing good evening routines is just as important! Don’t wait until your brain is exhausted and you’re falling asleep on the couch. Instead, set an alarm to start getting ready before you’re too tired to brush your teeth. This will create a routine that sets you up for success AND it will give you the much-needed extra minutes of rest! Getting adequate sleep can also reduce feelings of anger or irritability. Getting enough sleep can give you that extra stability you’re looking for!
Eliminate distractions at bed time and create a relaxing environment to promote restful sleep. Listen to sleep sounds as you’re falling asleep or drink a cup of warm herbal tea to help you fall asleep faster.
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more nature sound sleep aids, guided meditations and more!
How to Self Care Plan Wrap Up
Caring for yourself is important to prioritize. When you focus on activities that improve your wellbeing, everyone benefits. If your looking for some added self care guidance, check out more content below!
- 9 Ways to Support Your Friends’ Business (And Get To Know Their Work)
- 6 positive choices you can make today for a better tomorrow.
- How to make a vision board online and empower your dreams
- Types of Self-Care: Discover Care Practices That will Make You Feel Great
- Protect Your Energy. 3 ways to save your most valuable resource.