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. Burnout is a real condition caused by stress and overwhelm and can even affect your physical health.
The best way to avoid burnout is to manage your stress levels by adding self-care habits, such as meditation or getting enough sleep, to your daily routine. You might see self-care as an indulgence, like using bath bombs or face masks. However, good self-care really means taking the time for small steps to take care of your physical health or simple ways to recharge your spirit on a daily basis, such as taking a quick walk in fresh air.
There are so many proven benefits of self-care: increased life satisfaction, stronger emotional health, and improved physical wellbeing. Taking time for self-care even helps build resilience so that we’re better able to handle the stress of modern life in a healthy way. It can even help make you a better parent.
But it’s so easy to forget about our self-care routine when we have so little time because we’re so busy with our jobs or running around taking care of a family member. How can we possibly be expected to remember the different things we need to do to take care of ourselves when it seems like we need to spend the whole day on the more urgent needs of other people?
Enter the Midlife Rambler Self-Care Checklist: a printable list of self-care ideas you can practice on a regular basis. You can use the checklist as a fun way to ensure you devote enough time to the areas of your life that help you feel like your best self.
The Self-Care Checklist
The Midlife Rambler Self-Care Checklist contains a list of activities you need to take on a daily basis and tasks you can do at the beginning of each week to ensure you start the week feeling relaxed and prepared. It’s also got a list of different ideas to try once a month so you can have a little fun. There’s even a list of self-care tips for those emergency situations when you’re frazzled and overwhelmed and need all the self-care.
It’s important to not think of the items on your self-care list as just more items to add to your to-do list. Stressing out over your self-care goals is highly counter productive. Instead, think of the items on the list as simple things you can do to improve your quality of life. You don’t need to check off each item every day.
Print out a checklist at the beginning of each week and see how many self-care activities you can check off. If you see that you haven’t been checking off any items on your self-care checklist, you will 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 you know you 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. (Learn how to make a self-care kit.) 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.