Steps to Create a Useful Self-Care Checklist

Self-care can indeed come in many forms, but creating a foundational self-care checklist can ensure that you’re on the right path to creating transformational habits in your life.

In the moments when you’re overwhelmed, stressed out, or about to hit burn out, having a self-care checklist – a plan filled with self-care strategies – can support you in getting back to your usual self.

Believe it or not, self-care that supports your mental and physical wellbeing doesn’t have to cost a penny and can become a seamless part of your life and help improve your overall happiness. And no, self-care isn’t selfish.

The importance of having a self-care plan

All too often, I hear from clients that self-care doesn’t make it on their to-do list. Here’s the thing: I don’t believe that self-care should even be on your to-do list. Instead, aim to make self-care an intrinsic part of your daily life in forms that are reasonable, reliable, and fulfill your needs.

Think of creating your self-care checklist as you would building a self-care plan. This plan is a set of foundational thoughts, questions, and beliefs that can help to shape your day and navigate each moment you encounter.

It’s important to remember that just as our needs change, so can your self-care plan. Give yourself the patience, honesty, and grace required to shift and flow as needed.

The below self-care checklist can help you make realistic and impactful action before those negative feelings set in and guide you in making empowered choices around caring for yourself.

woman in purple sweater with journal

Questions to create your self-care checklist

Just as self-care is exceptionally unique, so will your self-care checklist. The below questions can guide you in creating a custom-tailored self-care plan for your needs.

Remember, the more realistic and approachable your plan is, the better you’ll feel about sticking to it.

How much time do you have?

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the belief that self-care has to be elaborate and time-consuming, but the truth is, that’s not the case. What’s more important than the length of time spent on self-care is how impactful it truly is.

When working to create a self-care checklist, ask yourself how much time you really have to spend on said activities, so you don’t end up feeling even more stressed out than in the first place.

Struggling to find the time? Actively setting healthy boundaries can help to support you in carving out more space and time for caring for your needs.

Is it realistic?

Much like the first question, assessing if the item on your self-care checklist is actually realistic is a crucial step to creating a sustainable plan. Some factors to consider are your time, finances, energy level, priorities, and current commitments.

If the addition of the self-care practice you have in mind doesn’t genuinely feel realistic, it could become more of a burden than a supportive tool.

How would this positively impact you?

Get honest with yourself and ask how the activity you have in mind will impact you both positively and negatively. If you want to add an expensive skincare product to your morning routine, consider how that will affect not only your skin but also your bank account.

Do you enjoy this activity?

No, seriously! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve purchased a workout app because I feel like I “should.”

If you know that you absolutely will not enjoy an act of self-care because it’s not something that makes you feel good or more connected with yourself, don’t do it!

That being said, some acts of self-care are uncomfortable but encourage growth. It’s important not to avoid these activities because you don’t necessarily enjoy them. Learn to differentiate between the different types of dislike and remember that change doesn’t happen in our comfort zones.

How can you make it easier on yourself?

Does the thought of an hour-long workout class stress you out because you’re utterly exhausted? Opt for a shorter class or go for a leisurely walk.

Making self-care plans more approachable and easier on yourself will take the edge off of incorporating care into your day. The less daunting, the better. So, ask yourself, “how can I make this easier on myself?” and ask for support along the way as needed.

Also, sometimes asking for support requires getting in touch with your emotional needs. Don’t be afraid to go there!

journal and candles

Self-care checklist ideas to get you started

Are you struggling to come up with some self-care activities to add to your self-care plan? I’ve outlined a few of my favorites to get the ball rolling.

woman in orange dress with hand on heart

Self care plan


  • I love this list of questions! It’s too easy to look at what we “should” be doing and think that is what should be part of our self care regimen! (And I’ve also been guilty of spending money on things that I thought that I “should” do, like a meditation app that was not something that was my style at all!)

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