How to Make the Ultimate Personal Self-Care Checklist

Nowadays, we recognize that self-care is incredibly important for our mental health. However, the issue is that we might not know where exactly to start.

One thing you can do to start on your journey of self-care is to start your own self-care checklist! Using some of the following suggestions, you can customize your checklist based on your own needs and personality.

Keep in mind that self-care doesn’t necessarily just involve pampering yourself and relaxing; self-care is involved within every aspect of your life, including your relationships with others and the environment around you.

How to use the checklist

As you go through the lists, check off the practices that you really want to complete most. More often than not, it’s easier to start with things you are motivated to do rather than the “musts.” After all, you’ve got to start somewhere!

Remember, these are all just suggestions and there can be some activities that you may not be able to or have the capacity to do. Feel free to add your own habits, new or current, into the mix as well!

Take the time to practice these habits as much as you can. After a certain period of time has passed (i.e. one month, half a year, etc.) use this grading scale to review how frequently you’ve been practicing them:

Rating for frequency (how often you practice each self-care habit):

3 = I do this self-care habit daily or almost daily.

2 = I do this self-care habit occasionally.

1 = I do this self-care habit once in a while.

0 = I never do this.

Sphere one: relationship with myself

It goes without saying that if you don’t take care of yourself first, the other spheres within your life can fall apart. Here are some ways you can tend to your needs and well-being:

☐ Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night

☐ Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day

☐ Seek medical care when needed and/or if able to

☐ Take about two minutes to breathe deeply throughout the day

☐ Meditate in the morning after you wake up

☐ Eat healthy foods and snacks

☐ Have three full meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

☐ Exercise frequently (cardio especially)

☐ Take a nature walk

☐ Wake up earlier in the mornings

☐ Attend to personal hygiene (ex. brushing your teeth twice a day, showering in the morning and/or evening, etc.)

☐ Read/give yourself positive affirmations, preferably after you wake up

☐ Listen to your favorite music

☐ Take a power nap after a particularly tiring activity/day

☐ Read a book

☐ Take a weekend trip or mini vacation

☐ Take the time to do a few chores to be productive

☐ Don’t pile too much work on your plate

☐ Wear your favorite clothes that make you feel good

☐ Do some self-reflection at the end of the day

☐ Watch your favorite movie or TV show (in moderation)

☐ Play a sport

☐ Keep a personal journal

☐ Try something new that you haven’t done before

☐ Be in touch with your emotions; do not bottle up negative feelings

☐ Go seek a therapist if you need professional help for your mental/emotional well-being, even if you may think your problems are trivial; your feelings are valid

Sphere two: relationship with others

As human beings, we are made to be social creatures. Socialization is an important contribution to a healthy lifestyle.

In both an individual’s personal and professional lives, it is impossible to avoid interacting with others. Your behaviors, habits, and well-being impact not just you but other people around you and close to you as well.

Here are some ways you can tend to your social relationships:

☐ Make time for your partner/spouse (ex. date nights, vacations, etc.)

☐ Make time for your family

☐ Play with your pets (if you have any)

☐ Spend time with your children (if you have any)

☐ Keep in contact with your friends, both near and far

☐ Not be afraid to ask for help if you need it

☐ Schedule time with a friend (ex. going out for coffee, shopping trips, exploring different cities, etc.)

☐ Set boundaries and/or cut off negative/toxic people from your life

☐ Allow friends to do things for you if they want

☐ Every now and then, send your loved ones a text saying how much they mean to you

Sphere three: relationship with the environment

While you might not be aware of this, the environment around you has a major effect on you every day.

While you may not be able to create significant changes with your environment, even the smallest changes have the biggest impact on your life. When evaluating your surrounding environment and how it impacts you, consider Marie Kondo’s famous words: “Does it spark joy?”

☐ Clean/declutter your home

☐ Declutter your desk/work table

☐ Clean something in my home that you’ve avoided cleaning (ex. closet, bathroom)

☐ Add some potted plants or hanging plants to my home or office

☐ Grow a garden (flowers or vegetables and herbs, your choice!)

☐ Use an aromatherapy diffuser (if you’re not allergic)

☐ Ride a bike instead of using a car

☐ Recycle anything you use that is recyclable

☐ Make the bed every morning after you wake up so that you have something warm and welcoming to look forward too after a long day

☐ Throw away any unnecessary junk in your room/home

☐ Visit a park or a zoo

☐ Open the window blinds/curtains to let in sunlight

☐ Open the windows to let in some fresh air into the room/house

Sphere four: relationship with work and finance

This sphere tends to take up much of your time and attention that it can cause unnecessary stress if you don’t manage your boundaries and emotions around work and money.

Paying attention to your work relationships and caring for yourself while at work simultaneously can improve both your well-being and performance.

☐ Take time to chat with your co-workers

☐ Ask for help from your co-workers or boss when needed

☐ Have a neat workspace

☐ Take vacation time when earned

☐ Balance your work, family, and personal activities

☐ Budget your transactions

☐ Open a savings account and start saving for the future

☐ Make time for yourself to complete tasks ahead of time

☐ Take a lunch break away from your work table/desk

☐ Have a system for effectively managing your time and workload (ex. use Google calendars to manage your appointments, events, tasks, and reminders)

☐ Create and participate in a professional peer group from which you can get support or inspiration

☐ Seek out a financial advisor that can aid you in mapping out a financial plan

Sphere five: relationship with technology

We live in an era where technology is found in every aspect of our lives, and this constant exposure can create problems for your wellbeing if you don’t learn how to manage your technological habits.

It may be challenging to nurture your relationship with technology if you’ve already developed bad habits around your tech, but it’s not impossible to turn that around. Here are some ways to implement tech wellness:

☐ Avoid using your phone aimlessly for hours straight

☐ Take technology breaks when needed

☐ Invest in effective blue-light blocking glasses to reduce eye strain caused by constant screen exposure

☐ Unplug from technology at least once a week or bi-weekly

☐ Unplug from work email and social media for an evening or weekend

☐ Don’t check your emails or social media first thing in the morning and/or right before bed

☐ Avoid using your phone at least 15-30 minutes before bed to help you sleep better at night

☐ Take breaks from your computer by standing up and stretching or moving around for a couple minutes

☐ Unfollow negative/toxic people and accounts from your social media feeds

☐ Unsubscribe from email newsletters that you don’t read to help declutter your inbox

☐ Use an app to track your healthy habits, how frequently you check your phone, or how often you move around

☐ Turn on the desk light or any of the nearest light source you have to brighten up your work area and avoid eye strain while you’re working

Practicing self-care is incredibly crucial for our well-being. To be in a healthy relationship with any of these spheres, we need time to ourselves and we need to seriously focus on our own interests.

Our work or school schedules can interfere with the process of truly taking the best care of ourselves, but just remember to do what you can and do what makes you the happiest.

Now that you’ve gone through the suggestions in this list, try out the ones you want to do first and then figure out what you think you need to do. Don’t forget to love yourself!