Creating a Self-Care Plan: Coping with Stress, Loss, and Trauma
Last week was a dozy for a lot of reasons. For the world, it was the loss of two beloved public personalities. For some of you, it may have been loss of another variety or some other pop-up crisis. For me, it was unbelievable work stress and problems at home with the partner.
We all go through hard times and it's really important that we have a Self-Care Plan in place to help us cope with those things. For some of us, self-care is just something we think about when we need a spa night after a long week at work and for others, it's a long-term plan put in place to keep us going through chronic illness or an enduring trauma.
"Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health."
So what is a Self-Care Plan?
Very simply, it is a plan that we put together for ourselves that include self-care strategies for the short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Short term self-care strategies include things like deep breathing, going for a walk, talking to someone you love, listening to music - basically anything that helps you unwind and take your mind off something.
Medium-term and long-term self-care strategies might include putting together a regular exercise plan, researching and incorporating coping strategies for future incidents, engaging in professional or spiritual development, paying attention to and making changes to your diet, physical activity, or methods for relaxation. Basically anything that's designed to keep you in optimal health - in all regards.
The first step to putting together a Self-Care Plan for yourself is to identify your short-term strategies. What brings you peace? What calms you down? What makes you happy?
For me, getting out of the house and breathing fresh air do wonderful things so one of my coping strategies is taking walks or sitting on the front step. It's the perfect place to find a little bit of solitude as well. I also enjoy having a relaxing skincare routine - something that I can look forward to if the day's been just a little bit too rough.
Make a list of things that you know work for you.
The second step is to create a self-care routine that gets you through more than a day or week.
I know that I generally feel better and more empowered when I'm healthy, so one of my self-care strategies is having a good diet, enough sleep each night, and an exercise plan that fits with my lifestyle - this is why I do Pilates!
It also helps to have something positive to look forward to, so think about any goals you have or dreams you'd like to achieve. Make them part of your Self-Care Plan.
I want to play the violin well, so putting together times to learn and practice are part of my plan, because they keep me focused on moving forward and doing something productive.
Make a list of long-term ideas for yourself as well and voila~ you have your very own Self-Care Plan. You can make it as detailed or as vague as you need, just make sure it's somewhere handy for you to see or reference!
Remember: when it comes to self-care and being the better version of you, work towards your goals and not against your stressors.