It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. ~ Unknown

Self-care is one of the most important pieces of your stress-relief plan, and yet, it can also be one of the most misunderstood. Taking care of yourself is so much more than just taking care of your physical needs. It’s also about taking care of your soul and your inner self. And in order to get the most out of your self-care, you need a plan.

A good self-care plan should include pieces that not only take care of your physical needs, but your mental, spiritual and emotional needs as well.

Here are 10 things to consider when putting together a self-care plan that also reduces stress.

Self-Care For Your Spiritual Needs

1. Book time alone for yourself. Make sure you make time for you. You have to be alone once in a while to re-connect with yourself. You can use this time to write in a journal, pray, or meditate.

2. Make time for meditation and prayer. It is important to have a connection to something or someone higher than yourself. Prayer puts things into perspective and provides balance.

3. Use a journal for self-reflection. Self-reflection is important because it allows you to take a deeper look into yourself. Focus on the things that are positive for a good sense of well-being.

Self-Care For Your Body

4. Pay attention to what you eat. Incorporate as many raw foods as possible, such as fruits and vegetables. They contain the essential nutrients needed to function at your best, both physically and mentally. Try to have a diet that consists of at least 60% raw foods, if not more.

5. Use supplements to enhance your nutritional needs. If you need more than what your diet is providing, use all natural supplements to make sure you get what you need. Many essential oils work as supplements and also provide extra health benefits.

6. Get plenty of exercise. Exercising just a few days a week can make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself, both mentally and physically. You’re doing something healthy with your body and you’re also releasing endorphins that are known to make you feel happy!

7. Get enough sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep at night. Sleep deprivation can make you nervous, cranky, prevent you from thinking clearly, and contribute added stress to your body and mind.

Self-Care For Your Mind

8. Make sure you exercise your brain. You have to constantly stimulate your brain. Do this by working puzzles or playing computer games that involve some sort of strategy. Doing this will keep you sharp and ready for anything.

Self-Care For The Rest of You

9. Learn to respect yourself. One of the main pieces of self-care that people tend to forget about is learning to love and respect yourself. If you don’t have self-respect, it’s hard to find the motivation to care about anything else. Respect and love yourself because of who you are on the inside, not just because of the outside pieces others see.

10. Develop relationships that meet your social needs. Personal relationships are very important; after all, we all need social interaction.  Enjoy a regular night out with friends far away from work.

Finally, get yourself organized! It’s much easier to ensure you have time to meet your self-care needs if you are organized and uncluttered in the rest of your life.

Your self-care plan should remind you of your goals and aspirations, and help you take steps to accomplish them. Some pieces of your plan will be easier to implement than others, but with consistent practice and a well-thought-out plan, you will be a master of self-care in no time.

Remember — You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Using these tips to create your self-care plan will provide you with the stress relief, the attitude, and the energy you need to be successful and enjoy life to its fullest!

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