I wrote earlier about how we midlife women are often so busy taking care of the other people in our lives that we often don’t even see the signs when we are approaching burnout and need to take some time for to care for ourselves.
However, rather than working to identify when we need to stop everything for emergency self-care, what if, instead, we worked toward a balance between our needs and the needs of our family and our jobs?
The Self-Care Checklist
Enter the Midlife Rambler Self-Care Checklist: a printable list of self-care activities to be completed on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. There’s even a list of self-care activities for those emergency situations when you all the self-care.
Print out a checklist at the beginning of each week and see how many self-care activities you can check off. I’m not naive enough to think that any of us will ever reach 100% (a girl can dream, though, right?), but I do know that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” If you see that you haven’t been checking off any items on your self-care checklist, you can know that you’re putting yourself at risk for burning out.
Here are the items on the checklist.
Daily Self-Care Checklist Activities
- Make Your Bed Every Morning
- Take your Medications & Vitamins
- Take Time to Meditate or Do Yoga for 20 Minutes
- Get Outside for at Least 10 Minutes
- Drink 8 Glasses of Water
- Do at Least One Thing Just Because it Makes You Happy
- Do Your Dishes After Dinner
- Have a Nightly Check-in with Yourself
- Write Down One Thing You’re Grateful For
- Plan Out Your Schedule for the Next Day
- Stop Using Your phone or Other Electronics 30 Minutes Before Bed
- Read a Physical Book for Ten Minutes Every Night
- Put Your Phone on Do Not Disturb While You Sleep
Weekly Self-Care Checklist Activities
- Bake Something You Love
- Talk to Someone You’re Close To
- Eat Lunch Away from Your Desk
- Do Some Bodywork Like Massage or Stretching
- Take a Long Soak in the Tub
- Take a Hike in Nature
- Spend Time on a Creative Activity
- Attend to Household Chores
- Set Your Intention for the Week Ahead
- Meal Prep Healthy Meals for the Week Ahead
It’s important to reconnect with our body at least once a week, particularly if the work is mostly in our head (true for most people these days). You can do that with some brisk walking, a longer yoga session, or some type of bodywork. There’s more to bodywork than massage: you can try shiatsu (finger pressure on certain points to restore energy), reflexology (massage on your feet that relates to other parts of your body) and my personal favorite personal stretching sessions to align your muscles and out the kinks from sitting all day.
Monthly Self-Care Checklist Activities
- Have a Pampering Treatment
- Try a New Tea or Candle
- Try a New Activity
- Spend One Day Unplugged from Social Media
- Have a Lunch Date with a Friend
- Spend Time Volunteering
- Have an Artist’s Date with Yourself
- Declutter an Area of Your Home
These are the self-care activities that get pushed to the back burner all too often because they are either seen as selfish and indulgent or because you feel you just don’t have the time. Pamper yourself with a manicure or facial? The nerve! And want to volunteer more often but who has the time now that Tyler has travel soccer every weekend and Jessica’s debate team is going to the state championships.
These are, of course, the activities that most replenish our spirit so I encourage you to make time for at least one of these on a monthly basis. If you’ve never tried it, start with an Artist’s Date. First described in Julia Cameron’s classic book, The Artist’s Way, an Artist’s Date is a solo trip to someplace that interests you: a museum, a movie, even a website you’ve been wanting to check out.
Julia Cameron suggests you plan an Artist’s Date once a week but that seems hopelessly ambitious for our busy schedules. But I would encourage you to shoot for an hour or two once a month. You’ll be amazed at how it reignites your creativity.
Emergency Self-Care Checklist Activities
Of course, life does not always run smoothly. There’s always the day when we have the two hour commute home or the fight with the spouse or unexpected expense and we need some self-care now. Here are a few ideas for those times:
- Make a Feel Good Playlist to Listen to When You Need It
- Watch an Inspiring Ted Talk
- Try a New Workout Routine
- Follow Along with a Youtube Makeup Tutorial
- Use Your Vacation Time from Work
- Make a Self-Care Kit and Use it When You Feel Down
- Have a Solo Dance Party
- Ask for Help
Your self-care kit is what you’ll want to turn to most of the time when you need emergency self-care. (Do you know how to make one? Instructions are here.) But I want to encourage you to remember the last item on the list – Ask for Help. It’s a thing people do and you can do it too.
Let me know your favorite form of self-care in the comments.
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Hi! I’m Katy and I started Midlife Rambler when my youngest child was a senior in high school. I was staring at the coming empty nest and wondering what was next for me. Does that sound like you? Then you’ll love our community of fun, feisty women. We’re looking forward to finally focusing (just a little on ourselves) and talking about all the things we enjoy: fashion, beauty, travel, entertaining, and being the best possible you.