Self-care is often the first thing that gets sacrificed when life gets busy and stressful. This is because people often think that taking time for themselves seems indulgent. In a society where people are expected to work long hours and skip vacation days, there is an underlying misconception that we must be productive round the clock.

What many people fail to realize is that looking after your wellbeing during a challenging time can help you take better care of others. Self-care refers to any activity and practice that you deliberately choose to engage in regularly to maintain and enhance your health and wellbeing.

By incorporating self-care activities into your routine – for example exercising, journaling, or socializing with friends – you give your body and mind time to rest, reset and rejuvenate. This way, you can alleviate stress and anxiety. At the same time, when you take time for yourself and give your body the food, rest, and activities it needs, you will have more energy to meet the demands of daily life. Ultimately, bringing more balance to your daily routine will help you be more productive and more resilient to stressors.

In order to maintain a healthy balance during challenging times, you need to develop a personalized self-care plan that fits your lifestyle. While everyone’s self-care plan looks different, a good plan should include activities that take care of your emotional, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing.

How to develop a personalized self-care plan

Activities that take care of these aspects of the self include talking to someone, journaling, doing something artistic, taking a walk somewhere nice, working out, meeting up with friends and family, and meditating. Although it might seem wasteful in theory, it is important to practice a bit of self-care every day. Doing so will help you be a more balanced person while boosting your overall health and wellness.

Journaling and keeping a planner can help you along your self-care journey. When used well, these tools can help you to experience life more fully. Planners and journals are designed to create a space where you can feel safe and happy. Whether you choose to dedicate a few pages or an entire notebook to self-care, journaling can help you face each new day with a positive attitude.

Among other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder to maintain a work-life balance. For this reason, many companies have designed planners and tools to help people make self-care a top priority. One company that has been helping people around the world to pause and prioritize their self-care is Strawberry Planner.

After losing her grandfather to COVID-19 in August 2020 and having her first panic attack just a few months later, Strawberry Planner founder and CEO Marisol Consuegra Prado started questioning her career path. She had lived in Boston for six years, worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative office, and worked remotely at a Google company, Onduo. However, in the midst of grief, the environment she had gotten to know very well changed. Through her research into positive psychology and self-care literature, Marisol learned that planners are effective tools for reflection and accountability. And thus, Strawberry Planner was born.

How they built their self-care planner

To create their self-care planner, the team surveyed 51 people on their planning habits and interviewed another 16 people via Zoom calls about their self-care habits, wellbeing goals, and planner preferences. The Strawberry Planner team then delivered 39 free planners to pre-launch giveaway participants to facilitate their self-care. Beyond creating these self-care planners, Strawberry Planner also runs a live text line where anyone can talk to the team about their self-care. Running this line allows the Strawberry Planner team to get to know the population’s needs and continue to create products that fit them.

The planners are made in the USA, specifically in Miami, FL. The Strawberry Planner team also believes in giving back to the environment to reduce the carbon footprint, filter the air we breathe, clean the water we drink and provide a habitat to the world’s terrestrial population. To this effect, for every purchase, the company plants a tree in the Andes Mountains in honor of the founder’s late grandfather.

Types of self-care

According to research done by Strawberry Planner, there are eight different types of self-care.  Personal care, psychological (mental) care, physical care, emotional care, spiritual care, professional care, environmental care, and social care. Personal care is where most people should start. Using a planner, people can put time aside for uplifting events and appointments. They can then treat and reward themselves for decompressing or acknowledging a meaningful accomplishment.

Psychological self-care includes analyzing thoughts and perspectives, as well as problem-solving. Using a planner can help people transform negativity into positivity.

Taking care of the body is also essential when it comes to self-care. By using fitness trackers and planners, people can stay consistent with their health goals. They discover interesting patterns in how they take care of themselves.

The way that we feel overall is linked to many aspects of our lives. By using a wellness tracker or a self-care planner you can remember what triggered a specific emotion. This information can help you cultivate more positive experiences and stay away from negative ones.

The only wrong way to do your self-care is not to do it at all. Everyone’s self-care plan is different. Finding out what is right for you will require you to be patient, kind and gentle with yourself. Rather than thinking of self-care as another to-do item on your list, think of it as the key to a happier, more balanced life. The Strawberry Planner is designed to be just that.