Reading week is a great opportunity to reflect on how the semester is going and right the ship if needed. Take time to think about how you are doing, not just academically but with respect to all aspects of wellness (emotional, physical, social, etc.) and think about what can be improved upon for the rest of the semester. A self-care plan can help manage your stress and make yourself a priority. Learning to identify activities and practices that support your wellbeing can help you to sustain positive self-care in the long term.
For each category below, write at least one strategy or activity that you can undertake. You might notice areas of overlap between these categories. It is important to develop a self-care plan that is holistic and individual to you.
Things that you can do that help you to stay fit and healthy, and with enough energy to get through your work and personal commitments. (i.e. regularly scheduling exercise, walking outside, setting a sleep schedule, meal planning).
Activities that help you to work consistently at the level you expect of yourself (i.e. keeping up with readings, working with a study group, setting time boundaries).
Activities that allow you to safely experience your full range of emotions (i.e. accessing personal support systems, keep a journal, make time for things you enjoy, accessing counselling as needed).
This is about maintaining healthy, supportive relationships, and ensuring you have diversity in your relationships (i.e. spending time with friends and family, joining groups/communities of people with similar interests).
The things you do to take care of and challenge your mind (i.e. reading for pleasure, writing, trying to learn a new skill or practicing one that is unrelated to school or work).
Once you have finished, keep your self-care plan somewhere you can see it every day. Keeping it visible will help you to think about and commit to the strategies in your plan. You can also share it with friends, roommates and family so they can support you in your actions.
Just like an athlete who trains for a competitive event, self-care plans require that you practice the activities regularly. Be realistic with yourself by remembering that it takes time for a new practice to become a routine. There will be moments when you falter and that’s okay. We’re all human.