For those of you who are new to self-care, here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step One. Identify your current feelings. Here are some possibilities:
Step Two. Identify what you would like to do with your current feelings:
- Increase feelings
- Decrease feelings
- Explore feelings
- Share feelings with someone else
Step Three. Pick an activity (or think of a different one) that might help you to achieve that goal. Make sure to honor your energy level.
If you don’t know where to start, think about what you might do with a small child who is feeling like you are. That can give you clues as to what you might need to feel nurtured. If the child were sad, would you give her a hug or pick her up? This might mean that something physically comforting would be helpful to you. Ask for a hug; get a massage; go to an animal shelter to pet the animals; cuddle up in cozy blankets, etc. Would you try to make her smile? This might mean that you like to be distracted from painful emotions at first. Watch a movie; read a book or magazine; go to a comedy show, etc. Would you tell her that everything is going to be okay? This might mean that verbal reassurance is helpful for you. Call or make plans with someone caring; journal back and forth with yourself; make an appointment with a therapist; read a self-help book, etc.
- Take a bubble bath or a hot shower.
- Listen to music that you enjoy. Experiment with using different kinds of music to influence your moods.
- Go for a walk.
- Work out.
- Call or make plans with a friend or family member.
- Go to a comedy show.
- Go to the beach.
- Sit outside.
- Watch a movie or TV.
- Read a book.
- Journal. (See Journal Exercises.)
- Make a collage.
- Read a magazine or tabloid.
- Practice yoga – at a class, with a DVD, or on your own.
- Open up the curtains and let in some light.
- Buy a plant for your room.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Make yourself comfortable- cuddle up on the couch or in your bed.
- Make yourself a cup of hot tea or cocoa.
- Make or buy your favorite foods.
- Get a professional massage or trade massages with a friend.
- Ask a friend for a hug.
- Give yourself a spa day – homemade facial, manicure, and pedicure.
- Play a game with a friend or on the internet.
- Clean your room/house.
- Go shopping.
- Visit an animal shelter.
- Do some deep breathing. Breathe in deeply to the count of 4, hold for the count of 2, breathe out for the count of 4, and hold for the count of 2. Repeat until you are feeling more relaxed.
Step Four. Keep track of what works for you on these worksheets. Keep them handy, so they’re easy to refer to when you want to do some self-care.