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The plus side of making a realistic self care checklist

Last Updated: 04/23/2024

Our Self Care Checklist Isn’t Selfish

Self care means so many things to each of us personally; it can take on many forms designed to support everything from our financial health to the state of our relationships. Simply put, self care is an investment in both our overall health and in our future. As the wellness industry grows every year, and we continue to correlate the ways we choose to take care of ourselves with lowered levels of stress and higher self reporting of happiness, it’s no wonder many of us are choosing to see self care as selfless, rather than selfish. So what does a self care checklist look like? Spoiler alert: it doesn’t include beating yourself up over the still unchecked items on your to-do list.

A woman in the bathtub reading her checklist

Prioritize Yourself on Your Self Care Checklist

You’ve heard the analogy; put on your own mask first. This refers to airplane travel, where the safety demonstration always gives clear instruction that you are to place your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others. What taking care of yourself does is allow you to show up as your best self for people in your life who count on you. It helps you stay present and be a better listener. If you know that you’ve prioritized the small and large items on your personal self care checklist that help you to feel grounded, stress-free and in the moment, you’re able to support loved ones as the best version of yourself.

Put Self Compassion on Your Self Care Checklist 

An important part of self care is self compassion, and this might have more to do with how you speak to and treat yourself when you aren’t able to prioritize yourself in the moment. A great example is healthy food and exercise. There is a reason the 80/20 rule is so popular; if you’re able to choose clean, nutritious eating and movement 80% of the time, you reserve the 20% for rest, treats and indulgence. The reward system in our brains likes this type of thinking, because it balances pleasure and discipline. Conversely, we know what’s more likely to happen when we’re rigid and in deprivation; at a certain point, something in you reaches peak intolerance and you’re liable to binge or ‘go off the rails’. There are so many scenarios and circumstances in which we may be unable or temporarily unwilling to make the decision we ‘know’ to be ‘right’. Draw this analogy to memory when your inner critic is speaking loudly, and remember that being gentle and kind with ourselves is far more likely to precede good decisions than being critical or judgmental of our decisions and our behaviors. 

What’s On & Off Your Self Care Checklist? 

There are many schools of thought when it comes to self care, and remember that this extends to all areas of your life; from relationships to food and exercise, from financial management to skin care. There really is no limit to the areas in which you can impact your life positively by creating thought patterns and initiating or ceasing behaviors to help you choose your best self.A woman sitting on a couch journaling

1. Create a “no” list

These are the things you know cause added stress or worry to your day, keep you awake at night or are things you simply don’t like and don’t feel good when you do them. Examples may include: saying no to plans with people you don’t feel you can be your authentic self with, saying no to being available via email or text outside of work hours, saying no to physical movement that doesn’t make your body feel good or saying no to food and drinks that cause guilt or feelings of regret. Be mindful of choices that immediately get your back up or give you the ‘no’ feeling; though every choice or activity we perform may not be exactly as we would hope, your feelings of satisfaction and personal happiness should far outweigh your feelings of stress or obligation.

2. Create a “yes” list

Perhaps even more importantly, compile your ‘yes’ list, and see where you feel immediately different in your body. When you say yes to relationships that feel reciprocal and you channel your time and energy towards them, when you choose movement that feels safe and sufficiently challenging for your body, when you choose to eat in a way that fuels both your mind and body, do you have a sense of peacefulness and clarity? Can you identify actually feeling less stress or worry? Pay attention to these feelings, and continue to add items to your self care checklist that feel right for YOU. Remember, self care isn’t a popularity contest; if unwinding in the evening with a game of online scrabble makes you happy, it’s as valuable as a 15 minutes stretch on the yoga mat that helps fill another person’s wellness cup.

Make Your Self Care Checklist Realistic 

What derails so many well intentioned self care checklists are unrealistic or unattainable goals or choices. You’re far more likely to stick with a behavior or an activity if it makes sense for your current set of circumstances. For example, it might not be realistic to go for an hour run first thing in the morning if you have a newborn baby, but you might find it makes sense to roll out your yoga mat during naptime. You might feel discouraged and unmotivated to create a tropical houseplant oasis in your basement apartment, but a few well-placed low-light plants will spark joy. Making self care choices that are realistic and attainable for your current space, time and circumstances will help you feel achieved and satisfied. And remember, this says nothing about your ability to set goals for the future, this says everything about your chances of success in the here and now.

this says nothing about your ability to set goals for the future, this says everything about your chances of success in the here and now

Products to Explore In Growing Your Self Care Checklist

One of our favorite ways to support self care is through plant based wellness products that are good for you and good for the planet. If you’re new to essential oils or you’re looking to grow your natural wellness routine, here are a few products to consider:

For your best night’s rest: Tranquility diffuser blend is a blend of marjoram, lavender and roman chamomile to support easing your body into bedtime

For the ultimate feeling of relaxation: Unwind roll-on blends bergamot, geranium and cinnamon to help your body and mind to feel at peace

For a natural mood boost: Goddess roll-on is a blend of precious florals like rose, neroli and jasmine to help keep your spirits lifted

Kristen Rondeau
Contributor & Editor
Kristen Rondeau
National Educator