Words of Wisdom: Self-Care Plan

Breanne Tepler

Well, we made it to the second half of Fall Semester. Things are getting busy, and we’re feeling the crunch from all that needs to be done before Christmas break. Many of you are running on very low energy but somehow you are getting it all done.

I think back to when I was earning my Bachelor’s degree and how stressed I was. I was drinking tons of caffeine and eating fast food for every meal. I was getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night. I was too busy to hang out with friends. I was too busy to call my parents. I wish someone had told me what self-care was.

Self-care is more than just eating good food, drinking water and getting rest. It can include these things, but it’s more. It’s unique to you. A self-care plan is your own personal plan or check-list of items that you can do to reduce stress, increase energy and improve mood.

As you get older, the items on your check-list change because you change. I have learned over the years what works for me for self-care and what doesn’t. I have communicated these things to my friends and family. One reason for sharing your plan with others is that, when you are under a large amount of stress, the last thing you think about is self-care. My family and friends remind me. Instead of saying to me, “You should get more sleep.” They will say things like, “Mom, when is the last time you did yoga? ‘Cause you really need to do that.”

In addition to knowing what makes me better, I know what makes me worse. I am at my most uncomfortable self when I am cold, tired, and hungry. In our house, we call this the trifecta! When mom is cold, tired, and hungry, it’s crisis mode. Think about the things that make you the most uncomfortable. What can you do to make sure you don’t reach crisis mode? For me, I keep snacks or vending machine money on me at all times. I always have an extra coat or hoodie for warmth, and I aim to get 8 hours of sleep each night.

Below is a list of self-care items you can choose from to start your own plan. These are from the Self-Care Wheel created by Olga Phoenix, a trauma prevention expert.

Personal – Get coffee with a friend, write a poem or book, spend time with your family, learn to play guitar, make a vision board, and write out short and long term goals.

Physical – Take time off, massages, bubble bath, take a walk, turn off your cell phone, exercise, and get “me” time.

Emotional – Cry, laugh, cuddle with your pet, practice forgiveness, watch a funny movie, affirmations, and find a hobby.

Spiritual – Meditate, sing, dance, play, pray, yoga, volunteer for a cause, find a spiritual mentor, watch sunsets, and go into nature.

I hope you have found this helpful. Please take time for yourself. One of my favorite inspirational quotes, and also the title from a book about self-care is, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” by Ursala Foster

Breanne Tepler is an Admissions Counselor in the Office of Graduate & Extended Studies and a current student in the Master’s in Management program.