3 Keys to Creating an Effective Self-Care Plan

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We're two weeks deep into 2017 and I hope everyone has been doing well so far. Along with creating new goals and resolutions for the new year, I also hope you have added self-care to your calendars and planners! And if you haven't, no worries. We're gonna take a moment to discuss creating a self-care plan right now. We're also going to make sure that plan is effective for you and doesn't just take up space in that cute new journal you bought a few weeks ago, too (I know I'm not the only one who's been grabbing up lots of pretty stationery for the new year, am I?).

The easiest thing would be to write down a self-care plan and through that alone, our healing comes right on through. Instantly, we're taking better care of ourselves and those around us. And before we know it, our skin starts glowing out of nowhere, too! But that’s just not the reality. Sometimes it’s all we can do to wake up each morning and look ourselves in the mirrors. We might be dealing with self-doubt, grief, remorse, loss, broken-hearts, you name it. But having a self-care plan in place and being intentional about following through in the best way that we can does help. Because when "life" happens, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Having a plan to refer to will help us take actionable steps on how to get on by.

Below are three major keys to creating an effective self-care plan.

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1. Assess your unique needs. This is when you take note of what your needs are: physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Perhaps you are looking to take better care of your health. Or maybe you have been feeling a spiritual disconnection from the Lord that needs to be fixed. If your clouded thoughts have caused you to have poor judgment or even the fact that you’re feeling lonely---write those things down. Been cooped up in the house every weekend this month and need a night (or two) out? Write that down, too. Feeling a bit of insecurity or jealousy that might not even have anything to do with your wants or needs? You don’t even have to tell me, just write it down. Get it out. You might even realize it has EVERYTHING to do with your wants and needs once you start writing.

2. Build your plan with intention. In my recent feature on Brown Beauty Mom, I mention keeping yourself on your daily to-do list. This is where intention comes into play. Feeling a spiritual disconnection could mean you need to spend more time with The Father. Making time to speak to God (through prayer) and meditate on His word may be something you want schedule daily. If you're always on-the-go and rarely have a moment to yourself, set aside a specific day during the week for mandatory me-time. That could be spent at your local diner, coffee-house, salon, spa, or even (if you're a homebody like me) in the comfort of your home. In the beginning, add only a few items to your plan. That way each item will be easy to cross off your to-do list. And after you're happy with your plan, go out and get things that coordinate well with your intentions. Add relaxing teas to your pantry for that night-in you have on your list. Make yourself a dope playlist to enjoy during that time as well.

3. Hold yourself accountable. Now this key is the most important. For every action you listed in your plan, put a time-stamp on it. If you've added spending time with a girlfriend to your self-care plan, schedule time with said girlfriend and stick to it. If you're planning to start your mornings in prayer and meditation, add it to your morning alarm on your phone and try your best to come through for yourself. In order for any plan to work, you have to see it through by actually making the time for it. Tell yourself that skipping time out for yourself is a non-negotiable. You must take care of yourself before you can show up to be your best for everyone else, love.

In a Nutshell
Know that some days will be different from others when it comes to planning your care. One day you may feel pumped about getting dolled-up complete with a manicure, pedicure, highlight and contour. Other days, the best you may be able to muster up is pulling yourself from bed to get dressed. One size does not fit all when it comes to self-care. Keep that in mind when you are creating your plan. Take notes about your temperament, feelings, emotions, and (perhaps even triggers) and plan accordingly. Your plan doesn't have to look like that stranger you follow on social media, either. Just make sure you are giving yourself what you need to thrive during the best of times and the worst of times. And if the worst of times becomes too bleak for you, reserve your right to seek help.

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If you're ready to get started, pull out that pretty notebook, make some notes, write "hello beautiful" in a vibrant shade of lipstick on your bathroom mirror, and work on that self-care plan, love. And don't forget to follow through and SHOW UP for YOU!

Photo Credit: Ashley Ella Designs
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