As family caregivers, we write care plans for our care recipients. As parents, we share our children’s routines with babysitters. As committed employees, we draft transition plans and instructions when we leave work for a few days. What we often don’t do as human beings who are juggling multiple competing priorities is reflect on how to care for ourselves.
Have you ever thought of creating a self-care plan or instruction manual for your own care?
Writing Your Own Care Instructions
Recently, I completed a creative writing assignment as part of a ‘Subtraction Project‘. This writing exercise involved self-reflection and honesty.
Here was the assignment:
If you were to go on vacation and have someone house sit to take care of your children, plants, pets, and home you’d make a little guide on how to care for these important elements of your life. Use this same concept to create Care Instructions for yourself. Perhaps you need a little more direct sunlight, or access to fresh water and a bottle of champagne, maybe it’s regular walks that you’d really benefit from. You’re going to take yourself out of YOUR BODY and into the role of taking good care of this human form you have been entrusted with.
My Care Instructions
Elizabeth requires some kind of movement, preferably outside, and three well balanced meals a day (note: she’s known to get ‘hangry’ if she skips a meal or waits too long before eating). Please let her know what the daily plan is so she can decide whether to dress up or down for the day.
She likes to split her time between socializing with family and friends and having some ‘me time’ to recharge. You may want to suggest playing a game or watching a movie together. Keeping the house picked up is important to her but hours of cleaning is not necessary.
When she needs some time to herself you’ll find her reading or writing. She usually likes to have some sort of beverage in her hand – coffee, ice water, herbal tea or red wine. Elizabeth’s love language is ‘acts of service’ so she does like help with emptying the dishwasher, laundry, and cooking. Hugs and kisses go a long way, too!
Writing a Self-Care Plan
Social workers and other experts in mental health often talk about creating a ‘Self-Care Plan’. As a Certified Caregiving Consultant who offers consulting services to help caregivers integrate self-care into their lives, I’m always looking for easy ways to ask family caregivers to prioritize their own health and happiness. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first. #SelfCare
My Self-Care Plan
Creating my own Self-Care plan was fun and again required me to really consider what helps me be my best self.
Here it is:
I’m going to post this where I can see it every day.
Now it’s time to create your own Self-Care Plan.Click here to request template