How To Create A Self-Care Checklist

Life is like a rollercoaster ride with ups, downs, and unexpected twists. When things get bumpy, it can be challenging to keep your emotional health on track, especially if your overall well-being needs some TLC. That’s where self-care comes in, and while it may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s vital to promote mind and body wellness. Creating a personalized self-care checklist that reflects your unique needs, habits, and time availability may require some effort, but it’s worth it.  

So, are you ready to take your self-care routine to the next level? Stay tuned and we’ll walk you through some steps to help you create a personalized self-care checklist that will help you navigate life’s challenges with more ease and resilience.  


Self-care is the practice of improving your physical and mental health through activities like meditation, exercise, and socializing. The World Health Organization defines self-care as encompassing hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental and socioeconomic factors, and self-medication. A self-care checklist is important to prioritize essential activities for health and wellbeing. While self-care includes many activities, it’s not just about indulging in temporary pleasures like facials and bubble baths. 


To create a self-care checklist, start by considering your physical, psychological, and emotional needs based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Review the five levels of needs, which include physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs. Use these levels to personalize your self-care checklist, focusing on activities like exercise, healthy eating, restful sleep, socializing, and pursuing hobbies. While what works for you may not work for someone else, self-care is essential for everyone. Prioritizing self-care is essential to meeting your basic needs and improving your overall wellbeing. 


Creating a self-care plan can be a challenge, but asking yourself a few key questions can make the process easier and more effective. 

Ask yourself, “Do I see myself actually doing this?” If the answer is no, it’s time to consider other options. 

Another question to ask is, “Am I financially stable?”.  It’s important to factor in finances and make sure the cost won’t cause additional stress. Say you join an expensive gym with the goal of exercising more. If you only stop in once a week, you might end up feeling more stressed by the cost than recharged from the increased activity.  

Next question to ask is, “Am I trying to do too much?”. Believe it or not, you can burn yourself out on self-care. Avoid overloading your schedule with too many self-care activities, as this can lead to burnout and increased stress.  

Another important question is, “Do I have the time?”. When it comes to self-care, best practice means regular practice. Make self-care a regular part of your routine, not just something you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed.  


And lastly, “What’s worked in the past?” Self-care is most beneficial when it’s fashioned after your own story.  Reflect on what’s worked for you in the past, so you can recreate those moments of calm and wellness in the present and incorporate them into your current plan. Think of a time when you felt relatively happy and positive about life, even if you have to go back to childhood or late adolescence.  


To start your self-care journey, begin by assessing your physical needs. Make a list of your physical needs, along with any steps you currently take to meet them. If there are areas where you want to make improvements, be sure to include them in your self-care plan. 

Here are some key areas to consider when it comes to physical self-care: 

Sleep: Getting 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night is essential for your mood, concentration, and overall health. Make sure you prioritize sleep and find ways to improve your sleep hygiene if needed. 

Healthcare: This includes regular medical check-ups, therapy, medication management, and dental care. Don’t neglect your healthcare needs, as they play a critical role in your physical and mental health. 

Nutrition: Good nutrition is more than just eating healthy foods. It also involves how you eat. Try practicing mindful or intuitive eating, which can help you enjoy your meals and feel more satisfied with what you eat.  

Exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, and choose activities you enjoy. Walking, yoga, and group fitness classes are all great options. 

Physical intimacy: Touch is a basic human need, and physical intimacy can have significant benefits for your mental and physical health. Consider getting a massage, hugging loved ones, or practicing self-massage to help meet this need. 

Remember, self-care is all about taking care of yourself and making sure you prioritize your needs. By addressing your physical needs, you can lay a strong foundation for your self-care journey. 


Once you have assessed your physical needs, it’s important to focus on your mental needs as well. Mental needs refer to both cognitive needs and mental health needs, and it’s essential to consider what energizes your brain and keeps you feeling sharp. 

Here are some ways you to practice emotional self-care: 

Stress Management: Start by assessing the stressors in your life and find ways to manage them more effectively. This may involve prioritizing your workload, practicing time management, or finding healthy coping mechanisms. 

Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries is key to protecting your time and energy. Learn to say no when necessary and communicate your needs to others. 


Cognitive Stimulation: Keep your mind sharp by challenging it with new information or activities. Engage in brain games, read new books, or attend lectures or workshops that interest you. 

Therapy: Professional counseling can help you navigate mental health issues and improve your overall well-being.  

Personal Growth: Make personal growth a priority by exploring new interests, learning about different cultures, or furthering your education. 

Relaxation: Taking regular breaks to relax and recharge is crucial for your mental health. Engage in calming activities like yoga, meditation, or taking a warm bath. 

Emotional Awareness: Become more attuned to your feelings to protect your emotional health. This may involve journaling, practicing mindfulness, or talking to trusted friends or family members. 

Connection: Building meaningful relationships is important for our emotional well-being. Spend time with loved ones or connect with others in your community who share your interests. 

Affection: Seek out positive affirmations, kind gestures, or physical touch to help you feel loved and supported. 

Personal Time: Make time for yourself to engage in hobbies or activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s painting, hiking, or simply enjoying a cup of tea, prioritize time for yourself to relax and recharge. 


When it comes to self-care, personalization is key. To create an effective self-care checklist, personalize it to fit your needs and preferences. Consider your schedule, capabilities, and current needs when creating a list of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities. It’s also important to remember that self-care needs can change over time, and may need to be adjusted accordingly. This is particularly true when considering external factors like current events or changes in your personal life.  

By creating a personalized self-care checklist, you can establish a sustainable self-care routine that enhances your overall well-being and equips you to handle life’s ups and downs with greater ease. 


Self-care routines can look different for different people, and what works for one person may not work for another. To help you create a self-care routine that works for you, here are some examples of self-care checklists that can serve as a daily or weekly roadmap. 

Daily self-care checklist:

  • Engage in positive self-talk 
  • Practice three minutes of meditation. 
  • Drink eight glasses of water. 
  • Journal before bed. 
  • Add more vegetables to your diet. 
  • Choose one goal to focus on. 
  • Go outside. 
  • Take a break from technology. 

Monthly self-care checklist

  • Spend quality time with your partner. 
  • Practice your favorite hobby. 
  • Make sure your medication is renewed. 
  • Try a new type of exercise. 
  • Write down your monthly goals. 
  • Read a book. 
  • Nap when needed. 
  • Test out a new recipe.  
  • Review your monthly budget.

About The Author

Dr. Hannah is a highly-skilled and compassionate physician who completed her medical degree at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2014. She passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2015, and has since gained experience working in various hospitals and clinics throughout Metro Manila. For three years, she served as a physician on duty at a dialysis institute, caring for patients with chronic lifestyle diseases. 


As a primary care physician, Dr. Hannah is dedicated to providing patient-centered care that takes into account the whole person, not just their illness. She believes in empowering her patients to take an active role in their healthcare, and believes that this type of doctor-patient relationship is key to achieving optimal health. 

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