Self Care 101: What It Is, Why It Matters, And How To Do It. 

self care checklist

Prioritizing one’s health has become an incredible feat in today’s fast-paced, workaholic lifestyle. So much so that people consider it a rebellious act to take time out for yourself for an exclusive session. This article is for you if you are looking to build your self care checklist.

I believe taking care of yourself is the highest form of self-love. During my struggle with a bad case of self-hate and negative thoughts, I found that taking care of myself helped! 

It, indeed, isn’t a switch that you turn on. But the entire path to self-love is covered with self care activities that let you appreciate yourself. This also includes being kind to yourself despite when the thoughts are cruel. 

Self care activities include anything from putting on a face pack to dancing to your favorite track. The list is non-exhaustive and evergreen. Taking care of your mental health elevates your overall well-being. Physical, emotional, and social well-being dramatically depends on our ability to care for ourselves. 

For example, if one tire of your vehicle bursts, you cannot continue driving it around without getting it repaired. That can lead to accidents and injuries that may even be fatal. It is disadvantageous for the car and ourselves to drive it until all four wheels give out. 

This is also typical of our bodies. When we do not stop to take care of ourselves, rest and rejuvenate. We are bound to develop health issues ranging from physical to mental ailments. 

Signs You Are In Need Of self care 

There can be many indications where you need to focus on self care. The most crucial sign of needing self care is being exhausted and tired without a logical reason. The central aspect of being a pro at work or college, basically life, is ensuring you take breaks at appropriate times. 

The most essential part of doing this is acknowledging you are under stress. This allows you to connect with your emotions and become your most authentic self. This is how you cultivate your habit of taking self care breaks. 

Following are the signs that you must focus on self care: 

  • You are more restless than before
  • You do not enjoy the things that used to give you joy
  • You are often tired without engaging in any tedious activity 
  • You cannot have a good night’s sleep
  • You are usually awake
  • You cannot find time for the things that make you happy
  • You feel you are not in control of your surroundings

Before I knew the importance of caring for yourself, I experienced everything listed above. Because I have been in your shoes, even if not entirely. I can confidently say that you need a break if you agree to even a single point off that list. 

So, take this as a reminder to take a break and focus on self care. Most importantly, it would be best to concentrate on building a self care routine you can follow. 

Here is the self care checklist for different aspects of your health.

How To Build A Self Care Checklist? 

Firstly, you must ensure you are in touch with your needs. This can be achieved by detecting what your body and mind ask you. It can range from asking yourself what is bothering you to what you want to do. 

Especially if you have experienced a stressful event, it is wrong to expect yourself to carry on as if nothing happened. Addressing how you feel will let you pay attention to how you can care for yourself and live authentically. 

The primary step to a life of self-love is practicing self care daily. It is often said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. 

Dr. Maxwell Maltz concluded that a patient would take around 21 days to adjust after an operation. However, his conclusion specified that it takes at least 21 days, not only 21 days. 

However, recent research has found that a person can take at least two months to form a new habit. It is of no use if you cannot mindfully be involved in creating the habit. However many days it takes for you, the message here is to stay patient. 

Why Keep A Checklist For Self Care?

Just as a to-do list, a self care checklist allows you to maintain a designated habit you are trying to build. The intention is to help you track your progress every day and make any revisions that may be necessary. It is a tool that can help you build a habit and maintain your overall well-being. 

Daily Self Care Checklist:

The following is an example of making a daily self care checklist, and you may follow this or tweak it as you like. 

A daily self care checklist includes all the things that you want to finish during the day. It could be anything, from practicing gratitude to finishing your hygiene routine. There is no restriction to what your checklist can look like. 

Once you start doing things that you want to build on, incorporate them through fun ways for it to feel ‘normal.’ It is easier to do something in repetition when you enjoy it. The idea is to ensure that you take care of yourself and not check things off as a task.

Here is an idea to build a routine that keeps your mind, body, and soul happy. The idea is to get your power back. The activities that lead to mental or physical exhaustion take away your ‘power.’ 

It can feel as if you are not in control anymore. This is when you take time off. For you to redirect your focus on ways to make you feel like ‘you’ again. 

Building a daily checklist can let you start your mornings the way you want so that you set the tone for your day. A morning routine, for example, enables you to begin your day on a note that fills you with energy and positivity. 

For instance, I like to start my days with gratitude. I thank the Universe and the Gods for the day I’ve been given. 

Similarly, you may pen your thoughts, meditate, walk, or listen to music that prepares you for the day. Here is a morning routine idea that you can adopt. No matter your profession, you can adopt a self care routine that lets you enjoy your day while being productive. 

Based on the same idea you may have a weekly self care checklist. Or a list that lets you keep your mental, physical, and emotional well-being in check. 

Weekly Self Care Checklist

Similar to a daily checklist, a weekly self care checklist allows you to attend to the different habits that you have planned. This could be planning how you want the week to go. For example, you must focus on consuming more water throughout the week to increase your water intake. 

The weekly self care plan can look something like this- 

This weekly self care checklist includes all the essential points you must remember. These include getting 8 hours of sleep is the standard that allows us to function correctly. This gives the body time to rest and regain energy to perform necessary activities. 

This is another guide to ensure you get enough sleep by building a “sleep hygiene.” This is a plan that you can follow to ensure proper sleep. 

Such a checklist that you follow every week can allow you to clarify where you are on your self care journey. This is a good plan to improve your habits or start a new one. It could be reading a book per week or building your skincare routine. 

Mental Health Self Care Checklist

A mental health self care checklist allows you to keep an essential aspect of your health in check. This is your mental health. We often neglect our mental health, supporting it with reasons such as “I can pull through” and so on. 

However, it is essential to note that being mentally drained does not help us in any avenue of our lives. On the contrary, it deteriorates our health, as mental health is vital to our well-being. 

Studies have shown that emotional distress within the workplace has a significant effect on mental well-being. Moreover, the stigmatization of emotional distress- that it is not a mental illness, adds to the burden for people experiencing it. 

It was concluded by a study in 2020 where mental health professionals were found to stigmatize people with emotional distress. 

Thus, it becomes imperative for me to emphasize taking care of your mental well-being. This will allow you to ‘declutter’ your mind and know yourself better. 

Here is a mental health checklist to help you get a weekly rundown of your self care journey.

Burnout is usually visible when you neglect your body’s need for a break and overwork yourself. 

The signs of burnout are: 

  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Overuse of drugs, alcohol, and food
  • Easily being frustrated or irritated

Suppose you have been overworking yourself and neglecting the signs of burnout. This is a self care activity sheet to help you manage your signs of burnout. 

Similarly, if you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, it is not difficult to develop your self care routine. It is rather encouraged that you develop a self care routine that considers your mental health condition. 

This will allow you to manage your symptoms and help improve your mental health when it feels particularly low. For example, when I was in the early stages of an anxiety diagnosis, I was advised by my therapist to develop a routine. One that helps me manage my symptoms and cope with the condition. 

So, with the help of my therapist and a little bit of research, I built my routine to look something like this- 

My checklist also included practicing meditation daily, taking time out for gratitude, and starting my mornings without a phone. I improved my anxiety management immensely within a month of following the checklist. 

Basic Self Care Checklist

If you are beginning your self care journey and all these checklists overwhelm you, start here. Build an essential self care checklist that lets you keep all aspects of your health in check. 

Here is an example I initially followed before building an individual self care checklist per my needs. 

A basic self care checklist includes all aspects of our health, from physical to emotional. A simple self care checklist’s basics can include activities you like doing and those that give you energy. 

For example, my basic self care checklist looks a little bit like this: 

Whenever I need to take a break, I rely on this checklist to do the things that calm me down. The National Institute of Mental Health released a post describing self care and when you should get professional help. 


This was all about self care. The examples used in the article may or may not align with your needs. Following a checklist that suits you best will help you keep your health in check. 

This requires evaluating your needs and assessing what can be most helpful. Such an activity can include ensuring you are listening to and addressing your needs.

This article was helpful in understanding the concept of self care. 

Read More: 


What Is A Good Example Of Self Care? 

A good example of self care is taking breaks when necessary and eating nourishing food as much as possible. 

What Are The 5 Points Of Self Care?

The five points of self care are: 

Physical self care

Social self care

Mental self care

Emotional self care, and

Spiritual self care

What Are The Three R’s Of Self Care?

The three R’s of self care are- Reflection, Relaxation and Regulation

How Can I Practice Self Love? 

Appreciating and taking care of yourself takes you a step closer to self love. Practicing self care is also a form of self love. 

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Harsha Sharma

Harsha is a senior content writer with numerous hobbies who takes great pride in spreading kindness. Earning a Postgraduate degree in Microbiology, she invests her time reading and informing people about various topics, particularly health and lifestyle. She believes in continuous learning, with life as her inspiration, and opines that experiences enrich our lives.

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