When I gave birth to my daughter I quickly realized the importance of routines. As a baby she thrived best when her needs were met consistently with order. It was easy for me to comprehend this for my baby, but hard for me to translate that to my own needs.
As the overwhelming feeling that accompanies being a mom of a newborn and working quickly crept in, I started considering more and more how important it was for me to apply the same principles of routine to my own life.
I knew I needed to create a daily self-care checklist to easily incorporate the things that sustain my sanity into my daily routine.
Many of you may be staring at me wondering what that even means (adding daily personal care into your routine) and I get it! Many professional women find it impossible to balance all of the many roles that they have, let alone find time to intentionally focus on doing things that they enjoy or need for their personal health.
Self-care, is often seen as a nice to have addition to an already hectic schedule. Contrary to this belief, however, self-care is a time-tested necessity to your daily routine. Building a self-care routine and curating calm and balance in your life is key to a life that you love. Keep reading to learn all about how to create a daily self care checklist of your own!
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What Is Self-Care?
According to the World Health Organization, self-care refers to “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, and maintain health and to cope with illness, and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider.”
Self-care includes the things that you do to nurture your needs. It is the mindset, habits, and activities you do to get relief and take care of yourself so that you may become more supportive of others and live in the present.
Building a self-care routine is a conscious practice to do things that will enhance or preserve your overall health. It is a deliberate choice to identify your needs and seek out habits and practices that will promote your well-being. The overall impact of self-care is an improvement in how you feel, look, and think.
What is a Self-Care Checklist?
As women, we may feel that meeting our needs first before satisfying the needs of others is selfish. We may be juggling with demanding work, a growing household with little children needing our attention all the time, a spouse that needs our support, aging parents that need our care and attention, and friends that call on us for assistance. When we look at all these expectations, we become overwhelmed and put our own needs on the back-burner.
A daily self-care routine checklist is an ideal way to avoid the tendency to neglect our needs and the things that help us to be healthy and our best for our people.
Self-Care routines help us remember that our lives are gifts that we have received from God. These gifts are to be enjoyed and celebrated. Your life is to be enjoyed and celebrated. It is not something that we go through the motions for.
Life is to be lived in the moment and for the future. It is to be lived abundantly. “I have come that you may have life and life abundantly”. Along with abundant leaving, we are called to “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12, NIV).
“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1Timothy 6:11, NIV)
These qualities should flow abundantly from within us. I believe that is quite difficult to portray these qualities if we haven’t practiced on ourselves.
For instance, practicing self-compassion and self-kindness would help us recognize our emotions and accept our human-ness (our imperfect nature). Once we become self-aware of these things, we are then able to show more compassion and kindness to people who find it difficult to accept their emotions and imperfections. And those struggling with self-hatred and perfectionism become drawn to us because they want to learn how to treat themselves with kindness and compassion.
What Are The Benefits of a Daily Self Care Checklist?
Self-care routines enhances your overall well-being. Any conscious activity you do to feel, think, and look better has a profound impact on your health.
Self-Care Routines Improve our physical health
One huge aspect of self-care is the commitment to take care of our bodies. This would mean being able to listen to our bodies and responding appropriately. So, this would mean grooming, exercising and stretching our bodies and getting at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
A Habit of Self-Care improves our mental state.
Making the time to engage in relaxing activities such as listening to music or meditating on God’s Word will have a positive effect on your mood. Activities that relax your mind help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress, thereby enhancing our mental well-being. Making mental self-care a priority can help reduce the risk of developing mental health issues.
Daily Self-Care improves our self-esteem
Engaging in relaxing activities and focusing on our needs can have a positive impact on how we look at ourselves. When we treat ourselves with compassion and gentleness and forgive ourselves for past mistakes, we become kinder to ourselves and we begin seeing ourselves in a positive light.
Taking care of ourselves improves the quality of our relationships
When we make a conscious decision to nurture our needs and take care of ourselves, we become much healthier and emit happiness and self-worth. The happier we become, the more we give to the relationships that we have. A happy woman can give her love freely and joyfully to her children, spouse, family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.
Using a Self-Care Checklist motivates us to become better versions of ourselves
Clothing ourselves with self-compassion especially after a personal failure helps us to take it easy on ourselves and motivates us to do better, without the added pressure of being perfect. For instance, when we are trying to lose weight, we are quick to become self-critical when we don’t see those pounds drop off at the rate we want or expect.
When we adopt self-compassion, we celebrate ourselves for small victories (such as being consistent to exercise daily for two weeks) and give ourselves time to reach our ultimate goal(s). When we are conscious and consistent in our self-care, we can recognize and accept our imperfections, and find ways to improve ourselves to become well-balanced individuals.
How Do You Make a Self-Care Checklist?
You can create your own custom self-care checklist from the comfort of your home using our FREE printable daily self care routine ideas checklist. Have a look at all the self care routine ideas shared above and identify one or two ideas from each category that you would like to implement.
Once you’ve chosen the self-care ideas to start with, come up with the following:
Goals: Think of the end goals for the self-care ideas you had written down earlier. Alongside each self-care idea, write a goal. The goal needs to be realistic, specific, measurable, and achievable.
Time: Think about the amount of time you would like to dedicate to achieve your self-care goals. For instance, if your goal is getting 8 hours of sleep daily, you would determine the time you want to go to bed and how long you will practice this to make it a habit. If you choose to learn a new skill, allocate time each week for this new practice.
Activities: It is a good idea to start with the simple self-care ideas and then progress to the time-consuming ones as you grow the discipline for self-care. You could start with eating healthy and getting sufficient sleep before progressing to mindful breathing exercises.
Once you have all this information, you can develop a realistic checklist that will meet your specific needs.
- It could be a time-specific checklist where you group self-care ideas according to the duration of activity (e.g. less than 2 minutes, 5minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 1 hour).
- You can also create a checklist according to the category of self-care ideas. So you list an idea and goal each for emotional self-care, mental, physical, social, and spiritual self-care.
- Another alternative is a weekly self-care list. Jot down the self-care ideas you want to implement in one column and have separate columns for the day of the week. Then tick off any activity and the day(s) that you performed it.
Regardless of the checklist you choose, remember to be consistent in adopting your self-care ideas. Start slowly and build momentum as you gain confidence and the discipline to keep doing these activities.
Self-Care Ideas to add you your Daily Self-Care Routine
One thing to notice is that self-care means different things to each of us because we are so unique and our needs are so different. To one mom, self-care could mean a stay-cation — spending the entire day in bed just catching up with some reading or a movie. To another, self-care could mean going out of town for mini-vacation while another may view self-care as making time to work out and preparing the week’s healthy meal options.
Overall, what may restore balance for you may not work for someone else. However, the self-care ideas shared below are actions that will help improve how you feel, think, and look. These ideas range from very simple, budget-friendly activities you can do on your own to those that require external support (such as therapy).
The self-care ideas below are divided into five categories: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and social self-care. If you are unsure as to which self-care activities would be ideal to add to your checklist, check out our Self-Care Assessment to learn where your greatest self-care needs are.
Spiritual Self-Care Ideas
- Prayer: Seek God through fervent prayer and lighten your yoke by presenting your petitions to Him. The Holy Spirit is our helper who intercedes for us – “For through him we have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Galatians 2:18, NIV)
- Daily meditation with Scriptures
- Seek peace by casting your anxieties onto Christ Jesus for He is our peace (Galatians 2:14). Scripture reminds us “not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6)
Grooming: This may seem obvious but making daily conscious decisions to enhance how you look and feel can be difficult for some of us. You may be in a rut or depressed, or overwhelmed with the responsibilities around you that you forget to shower, exercise, or even brush your hair.
In such instances, a new haircut may be all you need to feel better. If it’s dental care, you could take time each day to floss. Or you could choose to start wearing clothes that flatter your body shape even when you work from home. Or you can switch up your night routine by incorporating aromatherapy in the form of oils, beauty bars, and moisturizers that leave your skin smooth and make you feel relaxed.
Hydrate: It is important to keep the body hydrated. Set aside the soda and fruit juices and take water instead. Aim for 10 glasses of water, or even more to help your body function optimally and prevent dehydration.
If keeping count of the glasses of water fails, opt for reusable water bottles. These bottles provide a great way to measure the progress of water intake. Keep refilling the bottle and drink up!
Exercise: Get your body moving and your heart pumping by walking, running, cycling, swimming, or hiking. Add some weight lifting using your own body weight or dumbbells to tone your body. A cool trick is to do simple weight lifting tricks such as lunges, squats, and bicep curls while watching your favorite series or soap opera.
Eat healthy foods: Make healthy food that provides enough fuel for your body to move, breathe, and think. Supplying your body with the right form of energy from food will sustain your energy level and provide the nourishment needed to repair our cells at night.
Pamper yourself: Budget-friendly options include DIY masks made from natural foods and oils (such as an avocado and tomato mask) and scrubs (such as coffee scrubs or sugar scrub).
Another option is to paint your nails at home. You could also opt for a long, relaxing bath and light scented candles in your room to help you relax. Or you can book a massage with a professional massage therapist
Proper posture: Watch your posture at all times. Small changes such as sitting upright, not slouching, and using ergonomic seats and desks can lower the risk of back pain and injury.
Observing the right posture when sleeping also improves the quality of your sleep. A chiropractor can also help align your spine and address back and shoulder pain caused by poor posture.
Tidy up your space: Cleaning up your room and de-cluttering can reduce your stress levels. A tidier environment also helps you preserve your physical health by reducing the risk of infections and diseases from pests, dirt, and dust.
A fun way to tidy your space is to set a 10-minute timer where you devote 10 minutes to clearing worktops, picking up clothes and dirty items off the floor, and returning items to their original place. Take before and after photos as proof of you’ve accomplished something that day.
Sleep well: Physicians recommend at least 6 hours of sleep. A good 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is even better. Disrupted sleep will cause the hunger hormone known as ghrelin to increase and reduce the leptin hormone that tells us when to stop eating. These changes cause us to overeat and indulge in high-carbohydrate and high-calorie foods.
Take care of your eyes: Take occasional breaks from the screen and shift your gaze elsewhere to prevent digital eye strain. If you spend long periods in front of the computer screen, opt for eye protection such as spectacles or purchase a special screen filter that filters blue light and UV light. Wear sunglasses when outside to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun.
Sunscreen: Put on your sunscreen when indoors and outdoors. A sun-protective factor (SPF) of 35 and above is recommended.
Practice mindful breathing: Take some time to breathe deeply during the day. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale through the mouth. Repeat this for a couple of times and you’ll immediately feel less anxious and stressed. This is also a great trick to lower your nervousness during a job interview or making a public speech.
Emotional Self-Care Ideas
Enjoy nature: Sometimes, a walk across a garden, or by a lakeside will do some wonder for your health. Spending time with nature, breathing in the fresh air, and decluttering your mind so you can live in the present and enjoy it will enhance your mood.
Express yourself: Do not be afraid to listen to your feelings and find safe ways to express. If your boss angers you, it is okay to recognize the anger and let it go by screaming in the privacy of a bathroom, rather than taking out your anger on a client or colleague.
Let go of anger: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Galatians 4:26, NIV) “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Galatians 4:31)
Forgive: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Galatians 4:32)
Musical melodies or soaps: You could choose to watch your favorite movie or series. Or listen to music that uplifts you and even makes you dance and laugh. You can also choose to listen to podcasts about topics that you like or are interested in learning about.
List of good things: Write down all the good things about you and ask your friends to share with you the good qualities they see in you. Keep this list and read it whenever you are feeling down or depressed.
Affirmations: Remind yourself of these good qualities whenever you look at your reflection in the mirror.
Social Self-Care Ideas
Surround yourself with love: Allocate time for your loved ones. Spending time with those who love you and those whom you love can energize you and fill you with the joy you need to keep going. Having meaningful conversations with your loved ones can also help you gain perspective and achieve that balance that you seek.
Avoid toxic environments: It is good to limit your exposure to toxic people and the environment that they create. Avoid any hint of negativity around you and if any member of your family is toxic, pray for them and love them from afar.
Mental Self-Care Ideas
Sieve negative thoughts about yourself or others. Think about the positive in every situation and avoid negative self-talk. Philippians 4:88 reminds us that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”
Read some inspirational stories. Look for books, videos, and online stories about people who have gone through challenges and come out victorious. Get some inspiration from them on how to overcome adversity and emerge a resilient woman.
Use different routes to common destinations: This is a great way to challenge your mind. Use different routes when going to school, work, or home. Choose different modes of transport to engage your mind as well. Try walking a different route to the park or cycling to work using a longer route.
Learn something new: You can use a dictionary to learn a new word every day or use Google to learn something new about local history or geography.
New stimulus: Stimulate your mind to new visual, sensory, oral, (taste, smell) experiences by changing the look of your current environment. This could be as simple as changing the layout of your furniture or repainting a surface with bright or dull colors.
New hobbies: Try something new such as planting flowers or baking a cake with your little ones.
Create your Daily Routine with our Self-Care Checklist Printable
Self-care is difficult to do especially because excuses are easy when it comes to doing things that only (at first glance) benefit us. We must remember that self-care while directed to our own health is something that benefits all those who you love.
We focus on these external expectations that make us feel wanted and forget the internal turmoil going on in our minds, spirit, and manifesting in our bodies. We forget what makes us laugh and feel good. We forget the things that we loved to do for fun. And we forget what we really need because we are busy satisfying the needs of those around us.
In the end, we burn out. We give and give but have no source from which we are replenishing ourselves.
Our FREE self-care checklist printable is the fix for that! You can enjoy things you enjoy, you can live life with abundance and cultivate a lifestyle of calm!
Want to build a self-care checklist of your own? Join the Undoubted Grace Tribe and get access to our self-care checklist guide and other self-care, balanced living, and organization resources.