Self Care Guide – Recommendations By A Doctor

    Demands of life and responsibilities of adulthood have a high potential to hinder self-care when a guide is not followed. For example, lack of time has led many to neglect self-care routines and down time. Tight working schedules, priorities, and the hustle culture have cut down hours of necessary practices like sleep and exercise.

    It is extra important for working men and women to take good care of themselves. The daily huddles of their job and responsibilities could lead them to negative and dangerous stress coping strategies. When it comes to self-care, prevention is always better than cure. A personalised self-care plan and proper time management will mitigate negative stress coping strategies.

    What Exactly Is Self Care?

    According to the World Health Organization, self care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”. Self care is the proper and necessary care individuals give to themselves, not just for novelty or the way it makes them appear, but instead for their own health and wellbeing – both physical and mental. Caring for yourself could include activities like proper sleep, reading a book, having some downtime and getting regular exercise are important to one’s health. But it’s also about being attuned to your own needs, which change from moment to moment. For an easy week, self care could mean adequate sleep. For a hectic week, it could mean prioritising enough water, spending time outdoors and connecting with friends. The ability to know what you need in any moment is a useful self attuning skill to have, and works wonders in the ability to keep yourself nourished.

    Why Is Self-Care Important, Especially For Working Men And Women?

    Every individual deserves proper care including those who have busy lives. Working adults are responsible for work, activities in their individual homes, for themselves personally as well as for others. So how is self-care actually beneficial for these busy people?

    1. Enhances productivity – productivity is  important. We all seek to produce good work in a decent amount of time. A self care guide can help you stay productive because it allows your input to be one of quality. When your machine is oiled, the car drives well. Similarly when you’re cared for, you are focused, clear minded and physically strong, the quality of your work is improved. 
    2. Improves cognitive function – there are self-care routines that benefit the mental health of the person doing it. Cognitive functions like improved mood and memory retention are enhanced by regular self care sessions. It also motivates and inspires people, acting as a reset
    3. Improves overall physical health – self care even if just getting regular sleep, adequate rest and exercise can do a lot to one’s physical health. This includes improved digestion, better energy levels, overall feeling of satisfaction and providing motivation so that the person does not become overwhelmed when stressors or stimuli show up.
    4. Better resistance to disease – inadequate self care will lead to stress and energy deterioration, which will lead to the breakdown of the body and lower immunity to disease. Therefore, a suitable self-care plan will lead to better immunity levels, which is especially important for people who have a lot going on.
    5. Increases self-esteem – when you regularly treat yourself well and give yourself the needed care, you see added value to yourself and appreciate your physical, mental and emotional being.
    6. Increased self-knowledge – when you put in more time to take care of yourself, you begin to develop and deepen a relationship with yourself. Being more self attuned allows you to better learn how you need and when.  

    Self care is an effective remedy for stress and can be a positive strategy for coping with stressful periods in your life. Stress is a daily part of everyone’s life and can come down even harder for people who are busy – stress can be compounded when you have a lot going on.  While stress is seemingly inevitable, it can be better managed and navigated. Taking good care of oneself helps when stress does show up and having a self care guide already as a part of your routine makes it easier to stabilize your physical, emotional and mental health.

    Negative Strategies For Coping With Stress

    A lot of times people could be tempted to resort to negative or less productive and potentially dangerous coping mechanisms for relieving stress. These coping strategies may temporarily relieve stress, but their effects are dangerous to one’s health if done so regularly. The following are examples of such coping strategies:

    • fast and dangerous driving
    • smoking
    • drinking alcohol
    • taking risk
    • eating and drinking excessively
    • being aggressive
    • isolating oneself
    • drug use

    Rather than using these negative stress-coping strategies, it’s better to focus more on self-care as it produces a sustainable effect that’s healthy for the body and mind. 

    What Are Self Care Plans And How Do They Differ?

    Self care plans are self care strategies that help one manage stress and improve health and wellbeing. Self-care plans and routines could differ for individuals. Everyone has different needs and schedules. What you expect from your self care plan determines the type of plan you will curate for yourself. Including activities that help you to relax, bring you joy and make you connect with yourself deeper is important. This plan can be different from week to week, depending on your needs and also your availability. 

    Guide To Choosing A Personal Self-Care Plan For Workers

    When trying to develop a personal self-care plan, it is important to remember that there is no  one size fits all plan for busy adults. However, there are a couple of things common with self-care plans, which could be a guide to helping you develop the most suitable & curated plan. One common thread of every self-care guide is that there are two parts, the maintenance self-care part and the emergency self-care part.

    1. Maintenance self care guide – this plan involves all self-care activities carried out on a day to day basis. To develop the maintenance plan, one considers their daily needs relative to their physical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing. This plan may fluctuate week-to-week.
    2. Emergency self care guide – crises are better managed with emergency self-care plans. With the appropriate self-care plan, one is more likely to be put in a proper state of mind. This self care plan is only put into action during crises and emergencies.

    The Pillars Of Self-Care Important To Working Men And Women

    Self care comprises five important pillars. These are important aspects of self care, especially to the working class. When combined, these self care pillars result in emotional, physical, mental, social and psychological wellbeing.

    The physical self care – the physical entails the body. This is the aspect of self care that seeks to satisfy the body’s needs. Its aim is to ensure that  your physical body is sustained and nourished. Examples of physical self-care activities include staying hydrated, sleeping 6-8 hours a day, taking some time away from electronics, getting exercise, eating well etc.

    The emotional self careemotional entails all things pertaining to the heart. In this self care aspect, care is given to ensure the emotional being is tended to. A stable adult can encourage better relationships, satisfaction, balance and even work productivity. Engaging in creative outlets like art or music can support emotional self-care. Others include seeing a movie, writing a journal, or connecting with people who are supportive.

    Mental self care – this is the aspect of self care that ensures you’re mentally happy, feel a sense of safety and are generally calm.  Activities like reading a good book, watching documentaries, and having stimulating interactions build mental health and make the mind sharp and inspiring.

    The practical self care – the practical self care guide is equally important to the working class. For busy people a lot of activities take time, preventing “less important” activities from being taken cared of. The practical self-care activities seek to get essential jobs done so as to avoid future stress. Examples of these activities include planning budgets, organizing one’s schedules, simple household activities like organizing one’s closet or making one’s bed is also an activity under the practical self care plan.

    Social self care this aspect of self care seeks to ensure healthy social wellbeing. It ensures sustained interpersonal relationships both inside and outside the workplace. Examples of activities in a social self-care plan include spending time with friends, regular communication with loved ones, social gatherings etc.

    Are There Limitations In Developing A Personal Self-Care Plan?

    There are a few factors that limit busy men and women from incorporating activities into their self-care plan and sometimes prevent them from developing an adequate self-care plan for themselves. The following are the barriers working men and women face when it comes to proper self-care:

    • Time – time is the first barrier to self-care for working men and women. Most of the time of the day is spent tending to responsibilities of work and any additional time is given to matters of the heart or home life. This limited resource of time may prevent people from fully committing to a self care plan
    • Lack of awareness – lacking awareness of one’s health needs is a limitation to proper self-care. Not having awareness of the aspects of self-care can as well limit proper self-care and restrict it to a single aspect of wellbeing
    • False misconceptions about self care – misconceptions like ‘self-care is too expensive,’ ‘self-care is time-consuming,’ ‘self-care is vanity,’ and others prevents many from following a self-care plan and neglecting important aspects

    Overcoming Barriers Of Self-Care

    The limitations mentioned above can be dealt with appropriately. Here is how to begin:  

    • Time – prioritizing self-care is the only way to overcome time limitations. Busy people have little time to carry out personal duties. If one’s health and self-care are prioritized, self care will take precedence over other responsibilities and soon after will better integrate into the day – just like brushing your teeth, it is necessary
    • Ignorance – most times people don’t ignore their physical health needs. This is because this part affects the physical body and when your body is not in a good state, you feel it almost immediately therefore the physical self- care pillar is almost always taken care of. However, most times people tend to ignore other self-care pillars such as the emotional, mental and social, perhaps due to ignorance of how those aspects can affect their general wellbeing. Workers who are often preoccupied with the needs of others shouldn’t forget to take care of their own mental, social and emotional needs. It’s the combination of all these pillars that makes the human whole
    • False misconceptions about self-care – there are many misconceptions about self-care that are false. For instance some people are of the notion that self-care is a selfish act, some believe it’s only for women while some say it’s a waste of time. These are self-care myths that need to be debunked. We advocate that people embrace self care plans to make living better

    Steps In Developing Personal Self-Care Plans

    These four steps will guide people to developing an appropriate self-care plan. 

    • Identify how you de-stress – ask yourself a very important question ‘how do I cope with stress presently?’ You can make a list of what causes you stress daily and how you relax; this provides a list of activities you perform to de-stress. These coping strategies should be productive and healthy and can be used as part of your self care routine. Negative coping strategies included in the list must be replaced with a positive activity to pass the time
    • Make a list of current self-care activities – regularly performed self-care activities must be included in the developing routine plan. This step is important in checking for imbalance in each self care aspect. Make sure that all you pay attention to all the pillars of self-care 
    • Incorporating additional activities and removing obstacles – activities that are considered important to one’s well-being should be incorporated into the developing routine, all placed according to daily schedule. Barriers and obstacles to any activity must be identified and listed, and you must list out how to tackle the adequate plans are provided to avoid all barriers and limitations
    • Make an emergency self care list – an emergency self-care plan is an important part of a self-care plan. One can be prepared for any crisis by taking a past emergency situation that occurred in the workplace or home and enumerating all de-stress activities that kept you from being overwhelmed.

    The Next Step

    Developing a self care routine or plan is very important. However, implementing this plan is even more important. The following few steps will help to ensure commitment to this plan.

    • Making a commitment to yourself – this is the first and most important step to ensure plan implementation. The self-care routine should be viewed as a challenge and made honorary to commitment to
    • Share your plan – it is easier to follow a newly developed plan when peers, family and friends are aware of the plan. This will breed support and encouragement.
    • Follow your plan diligently


    The path to ensuring consistent good health and happiness, sustained personal relationships and perfect career life for working men and women is an appropriate self care plan. Different workers have different needs and schedules, a personally planned self care routine is best for working men and women. 

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