We all know the importance of self-care in theory but don’t necessarily follow it through into practice. Here is an exercise to help you do this. Having good self-care not only provides the benefits of looking after yourself but also help you to be more productive and happier in yourself.

Consider each sentence below and make a note of whether you agree, disagree or are neutral in your response.

  • I make time for exercise several times a week.
  • I drink lots of fluids daily (excluding alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine).
  • I have a healthy diet daily (lots of fruit and vegetables, balance of food groups, limited processed and junk food).
  • I have a good quantity of quality sleep most nights.
  • I know when I’m stressed and take steps to release it.
  • I know what I’m feeling most of the time.
  • I have a healthy outlet for my feelings.
  • I do things that make me feel happy at least several times a week.
  • I spend time on my own several times a week.
  • I do things that make me feel relaxed several times a week.
  • I spend time in nature several times a week.
  • I focus on my strengths several times a week.
  • I am more positive than negative about life.
  • I do things that have meaning for me several times a week.
  • I work on myself and have reflection time regularly.
  • I spend time with a variety of friends, family members and other people who care about me regularly.
  • I have a healthy balance between work and play.
  • I devote time to considering my future regularly.
  • I reach out for support when I need it.
  • I drink alcohol socially and within health guidelines.
  • I avoid drugs and smoking.
  • My workspace is separate from my sleeping space.
  • I avoid electronic gadgets and wind down at least an hour before sleeping.
  • I take time to eat my meals and allow myself to digest my food properly.
  • I feel I’m able to take life at a pace that is comfortable for me. I only occasionally rush around and feel stressed.

Identify from your list the steps that you could take to improve your self-care. If you have any unhealthy coping strategies, identify the need they fulfil. Could you meet this need in a healthier way? For example, if eating junk food makes you feel good about yourself, could you use exercise instead? Note, when facing a difficult or stressful phase, you may need to increase your level of self-care.