INSIDE: A self care plan is an absolute must these days. This simple 14-day self care plan can provide the stress prevention, and management you need feel more tranquility and happiness.
The world we live in is kinda crazy.
I think about what life was like when I was growing up in the 80’s compared to now, and I’m just astounded at the differences. Let’s look at some of them…
- Reachability – These days, there is never a time when we aren’t reachable, whereas back then, no one had cell phones and you simply weren’t reachable if you weren’t at home.
- Alerts & Expenses – Today, we are constantly bombarded with emails, text messages, and alerts from multiple apps on our phones. In the 80’s, we didn’t have ANY of that. And we didn’t have all the bills that go along with that (internet, cell phones, app subscriptions, etc.).
- Perfect-Life Syndrome – We are also now put under a lot of pressure to document the perfect life on social media, and of course, none of that was even a consideration back then.
- Overwhelm & Inflated Prices – In the midst of all of that, we are juggling our family and careers, while trying to make ends meet and pay student loans and inflated prices that make it almost impossible to get ahead. I mean seriously, I bought one pack of 4 sticks of butter last night and it cost me $3.79, and that was the store brand!
It’s no wonder we’re more stressed than ever, and the evidence of this is all around us from the rise of stress-related illnesses to our impatience and impersonal behavior.
Afterall, it’s hard to be kind and patient when you’re under a lot of pressure, and unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time to sit back and relax, let alone have some fun like we did back in the day.
So in light of all of that, I thought it would be beneficial and fun to put together a 14-day self care plan that will help you and me with stress prevention and reduction.
If you’re not making this a priority in your life, you’re unfortunately in for a rude awakening, which will come when your stress catches up to you, and you realize it has wreaked havoc on your life, health, and relationships. For more information on the effects of stress on the body, mind, and spirit, click here.
It’s ALWAYS important to make self-care and stress prevention a priority in your life, and it’s never too late to start, so let’s get started!
Here’s Your 14-Day Self Care Plan For Stress Prevention
Following are 14 simple self-care ideas that you can use as your 14-day self-care plan. You might choose to follow this along verbatim, or consider using these ideas as inspiration to create your own self care plan that will work best for you.
As you try these strategies, take note of the ones that work well for you. Keep them in your self care stress-busting arsenal and deploy them whenever you need them. Conversly, you might consider using them to create an ongoing self care plan that will ensure continued stress prevention.
Day 1: Take A Nap
There is a reason I am suggesting you take a nap on day one of this self care plan, and that’s because it’s the one thing that will give your body what most of us really need: relaxation.
When we get good sleep, we are better able to handle and recover from our busy days. The problem is that most of us don’t get anywhere close to the amount of sleep that we need. We are going through life in a zombie-like sleep-deprived state, and we wonder why everything in life feels so difficult.
So, if you happened to start this 14-day self care plan on a weekend, schedule time to take a nap today, even if it is only for 20 minutes. You’d be surprised what a little power nap can do for your energy levels, productivity, and mental state.
Heck, if you started this self care plan on a weekday and you have to work, take a little nap in your car during your lunch break. Just don’t forget to set an alarm on your phone so your boss doesn’t come looking for you!
Day 2: Breathe Deeply
The breath is a powerful tool that we can use to de-stress and get into a relaxed, peaceful state. When we fill our bellies with air and breathe out slowly, we supply ourselves with much more oxygen than we usually get from the shallow breaths we usually take. This recharges the body and relieves built-up tension.
Bonus Tip: Try a Breathing Meditation
You can enjoy not only the benefits of deep breathing but also meditation when you try a breathing meditation. All you need to do is sit quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed and focus on your breath as you breathe deeply. Feel the air flowing in and out of your nose, and feel your belly rising with each inhalation and deflating as you breathe out. To learn more about meditation, click here.
Day 3: Go For a Walk Outside
Going for a walk outside is one of the most effective stress relievers for me. The combination of the fresh air and exercise helps my emotions to get back in balance and my stress hormones to lower. It seems to be the same for most people as well.
When I am especially worked up, I walk at a brisk pace because it helps the tension to work itself out of my body. It’s like I’m putting the negative energy into something useful, and as a result, it transforms. At the end of my walk, I notice that I have a clearer mind and my body feels refreshed.
Day 4: Try Meditating
While too many people poo-poo meditation as a wacky new age thing, the truth is that meditation is by far one of the best things you can do for the health of your mind, body, and spirit. It can radically transform your life and the struggles you are currently facing. I wrote about it in depth in my article, How to Unlock the Outstanding Power of Meditation.
While meditation is definitely a practice, which means you will need to practice it to get good at it and get the most out of it, you can still begin experiencing benefits from only a few minutes of meditation each day.
The easiest way to get started with meditation is to download either the Calm or Headspace app on your smartphone. Both apps have free daily guided meditations you can try, as well as paid options for even more meditation practices.
Day 5: Start Journaling
There is something about getting our thoughts out onto paper that is stress-relieving and freeing. To be able to fully express yourself without holding back feels exhilarating. It helps you work through your thoughts and make better choices.
Plus, the act of writing on paper somehow makes things you want to manifest more “solid,” so if you write about your dreams and goals, they have a funny way of happening.
This self-reflective practice is one of the best ways to stay in touch with yourself. Too many of us lose ourselves as we get caught up in playing house and having a career. When we practice journaling, we ensure we don’t forget about or set aside what really matters to us.
Start writing in a journal today and stick with it for at least a few weeks. By journaling regularly, you’ll start to experience all the amazing benefits that come along with it. Check out this journaling article for ideas of different ways you can journal and journaling prompts to help get your creative juices flowing.
Day 6: Get Lost in a Book or Movie
Books and movies are great mental escapes, and we all need to just mentally check out from time to time. By taking a couple hours to forget about your troubles, you’ll be able to get back to it afterward with a refreshed mind and often a new perspective.
I’m suggesting a book or movie that is light and fun so that you can give your mind the rest it needs. It won’t serve you to watch or read something that is full of drama and emotions. Don’t try to educate yourself or make it a cultural experience. Just let yourself get totally lost in something fun and uplifting.
Day 7: Have a Really Good Laugh
Have you enjoyed a good laugh lately? I’m talking about an out loud belly laugh that makes your mouth hurt and comes from your soul.
Laughter is one of the best ways to reduce stress. The more often you laugh, the more you will prevent stress.
Here are some ideas for ways to get your laugh on…
Watch a Funny Movie – There’s nothing better than a movie that makes you laugh out loud, am I right? Some of my favorite comedies are Liar Liar, What Happens in Vegas, and The Other Woman. You can literally end up rolling around on the floor laughing from those movies over and over again.
Listen To the Comedy Channel on Pandora – This is a great idea for when you find yourself in the car for a long period of time or even when you are cleaning the house. Choose a music streaming service such as Pandora and listen to a comedy channel. It’s a fun way to pass the time, and a stress reliever at that.
Start Up a Conversation With A Young Child – Little kids have their own take on the world, and when you engage in conversation with them, you’ll get to experience it first hand. It’s sure to make you all warm and fuzzy inside, not to mention laugh out loud.
Day 8: Plant Something
There is something about sticking your hands in the dirt and bringing life to a plant that is relaxing and stress-relieving. Whether you choose to plant something on your kitchen counter, window sill, balcony, or your yard, you’ll still get to enjoy the benefits when you make this your stress preventer of the day.
Here are some ideas you might consider:
- Plant a small herb garden on your window sill
- Add some flowers to the landscaping in your front yard
- Plant a window box in one of your windows
- Create a hanging planter for your kitchen or patio
- Consider starting a vegetable garden either in raised beds in the yard or large pots on a deck
- It might also be fun to plant several small pots of flowers to give to people as gifts
Day 9: Chat With a Friend
There are two ways you can go about this. First, if something is really bothering you, calling a friend and venting about your situation can help you move the negative energy out. This can be really helpful if you’ve been keeping some things inside and if your friend is good at just listening and letting you vent.
Sometimes, however, venting can be self-defeating because it keeps you thinking about the issue instead of moving on from it. Plus, if you call up your friend(s) and vent too much, they won’t want to talk to you as often because it can drag them down.
That brings me to the second way to go, which is calling your friend to have a fun chat and talk about everything but your issues. Sometimes, completely changing your train of thought and distracting yourself from your stresses is the best thing for your mental state, and a good chat with a friend is one of the best ways to do that.
Day 10: Drink a Hot Cup of Tea
While coffee is the drink that is known for getting people going in the morning, tea is the drink that is known for bringing more tranquility to your life.
Today, as you make yourself a cup of tea, be a little ritualistic about it so you can get the full benefits out of it.
- Choose your favorite mug
- Choose the perfect tea blend
- Drink it in your favorite spot in your house
- Enjoy the warmth of the cup in your hand
- Before you take each sip, inhale the fragrant aroma and allow yourself to feel all the tension and anxiety leave your body
If tea isn’t your “cup of tea,” there are several other choices, but honestly, I would suggest trying some different teas first. There are so many different types of tea that there’s pretty much something out there for everyone. You might choose a black tea with cream and sugar, a green tea with honey, or any one of the hundreds or maybe thousands of herbal tea blends available.
Here are my favorite tea blends:
- Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea
- Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea
- Tazo Passion Herbal Infusion Tea
- Numi Jasmine Green Tea
If you still decide tea isn’t your thing, you could, of course, go with coffee, or even cappuccino or hot chocolate with marshmallows. Hey, if the time of day suits, go for a spirited coffee by adding a little Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Day 11: Get Moving
A good workout is an extremely effective way to both relieve the stress you are feeling now and prevent future stress. This is because we release endorphins when we are physically active that ward against stress. Regular exercise helps us feel more alert, more energetic, and it helps us sleep deeper, all of which make us better able to manage our stress.
Today, get started with something you enjoy doing, whether it is going for a walk, dancing to your favorite song, or breaking out your favorite yoga DVD (here’s my all time favorite). Then, plan on making exercise a regular practice in your life – that’s when you’ll really start to see the benefits.
Day 12: Indulge in Your Favorite Self Care Stuff
When we take the time to do something indulgent, something that is just for us, it’s the highest form of self-care. Whether it’s a hot bath, curling up with a book, getting a massage, or going fishing, the stress-busting and relaxation power can’t be denied.
Now, this is difficult for some people. If you are the kind of person who always puts yourself last because you’d rather be doing for others, I hope you decide to give this one a try. When we take time for ourselves, it has a massive positive impact on our relationships, our work, and every aspect of life. Neglecting yourself will only hinder all of that.
When we are stressed out and worn down, we can’t think clearly. That affects our decisions, our emotional stability, and our interactions with others. We lose our patience, we snap at things we wouldn’t usually snap at, and everything in our lives suffers as a result. Instead of letting yourself get to that point, set aside some regular time for self care.
If, on the other hand, you are the kind of person who has no problem engaging in self-care, just make sure you are doing it in moderation. You want there to be a balance between indulging in what we love and managing our responsibilities.
Day 13: Let Yourself Fidget
The new fidget spinner craze is kinda crazy, but fidgeting is nothing new. We all do it every day. Whether it’s playing with pens, keys, buttons, or simply shaking our legs as we sit in a meeting or pacing while on the phone.
When we fidget, it helps us focus, and it also relieves stress. Rhythmic fidgeting motions have been shown to slow heart rates and reduce blood pressure. Doodling and even things like knitting can be a form of fidgeting as well.
You can engage in forms of fidgeting while you are waiting in line, talking on the phone, or attending a conference. You can also use fidgeting, such as doodling or coloring, simply to take a mental break and relax.
Here are some ideas of things you can use for fidgeting:
- Fidget spinners
- Fidget cubes
- Stress balls
- Simple wooden toys
- Zen gardens
- Pens and pencils
- Playing cards
- Rubik’s cubes
Find some things you can fidget with around your house and make sure they are conveniently located for when you need a little stress reliever.
Day 14: Go Out & Have Fun
Yes, today you get to give yourself permission to go out and have a blast! If you’re used to being super busy and stressed out, this may sound foreign to you, but a little fun will do you good.
When we are engaging in an activity that is fun, it makes us feel free and alive. It melts away the tension in our bodies and the stress that comes along with it.
Let me be clear – fun is not a privilege; it’s a necessity. When we have fun on a regular basis, we feel happier in general, we feel less frustrated and stressed out, and we respond to people with more compassion.
What do you find fun? What makes you smile, laugh, and let loose? Maybe it’s going out dancing with your friends, horseback riding or getting the guys together to play basketball. Maybe, it’s going to the beach or going on a date with your spouse. Perhaps it’s trying something entirely new and exciting like parasailing or line dancing. Whatever it is, don’t let today end without either doing something fun or setting up the plans to do it in the next week.
Notice the Impact Your Self Care Plan Has Had
Now that you’ve taken two weeks to engage in self-care strategies, it’s time to reflect and notice the impact it has had on your life. Are you beginning to feel less stressed? Maybe you are starting to feel more like yourself. If you’ve been giving these tips a legitimate try, you are probably feeling more loved (because you are practicing self-love) and you are likely experiencing new levels of happiness, balance, and relaxation.
Evaluate what has had the most significant impact on you in the past couple weeks. What self-care activities did you enjoy the most? Consider making some of your favorites part of your daily or weekly routine so that you can enjoy the benefits of self-care indefinitely.
Ready to Kick It Up a Notch?
If you feel like you need something beyond the tips this article provided and you’re ready for some intense self-care indulgences, check out my recent article, How to Plan a Personal Retreat to Recharge Your Mind, Body & Spirit.
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