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It’s no secret that we often put ourselves last on our to-do list, if our needs even make the cut at all. For many people, their self care is squeezing in exercise when they can, making sporadic plans with friends, or counting that 10 minutes reading a magazine in the dentist’s office before your appointment as quality time for yourself.

Self-care routines should not feel like a chore. You should be able to focus on the activities that bring you the most joy. Developing a self-care plan should be high on your list of priorities. It’s really a preventative measure that gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you might need when times get stressful. You might realize that the secret to quickly turning around your mood can be something as simple as taking a walk to clear your head or calling up a friend who has a knack for making you laugh.

A self-care plan also helps you stay on track when it comes to doing the things needed to maintain your physical and mental health. It helps you establish a routine, and prevents you from falling into a trap of making excuses about why your well-being isn’t really that important. The plan will show you that it is, and help you take your next step.

Here are some easy tips for putting together your own self-care plan.

Make A List of What Brings you Joy In Different Areas of Life

We’ve all probably heard organizational celebrity Marie Kondo’s advice to people to get rid of things that don’t “spark joy,” but what can you do about embracing more things that do bring you joy? Make two lists – one for your career and one for your personal life – and write down what really makes you happy. This means mentally, physically, socially and emotionally. Is mastering a new skill set at work something you are really looking forward to? How about in your personal life – is your idea of happiness being able to head out for a bike ride or hit that weightlifting class after work at least three times a week? And what about your social life – is a weekly dinner with friends one of your priorities? Once you are honest with yourself about what you really love, you’ll know what needs to be in your self-care plan.

Create a List of Barriers That May Prevent the Joy/Happiness

Next, you’ll want to look at the roadblocks that are lurking out there. For each of those happiness examples listed above, write down a corresponding barrier, an example of something that could get in the way of the thing that could bring you joy. Then spell out your solution to that barrier. That way, you can be prepared if that roadblock turns up and stick to the roadmap that will take you to your happy place.

For example, maybe you have a friend who is always suggesting last-minute plans, and pressures you to drop what you are doing and go along with him. In the past, this has meant you’ve canceled a lot of plans for activities you’d wanted to do. Once you identify this person’s spontaneous ideas as a roadblock to your plans, you can put your solution into action: Decline the person’s last-minute invitation. Explain you’ve already got other plans today but would love to get together with them, if they can help you out by making plans in advance.

Create a Sleep Routine

Getting enough sleep is often the most neglected self-care essential. It falls to the bottom of our to-do lists, even though sleep is essential to protect your health. While you sleep, your body repairs and replenishes itself – vital work that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. Not getting enough shut-eye has real consequences, research shows. This includes weight gain, heart disease, and taking longer to fight off minor illnesses like colds.

To ensure you’re getting enough sleep, create a bedtime routine. This might include:

  • Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Reducing screen time, alcohol consumption and even exercise as you wind down and prepare for bed.
  • Don’t keep a television in your bedroom.
  • Don’t use a computer, tablet or your smartphone in bed right before you go to sleep.

If you find you have trouble falling asleep or can’t seem to get enough sleep, consult your doctor. If your focus is relaxing before bedtime, you could try a supplement like Nutrilite™ Sleep Health. It features a blend of lemon balm extract – which has a calming effect – and the herb valerian. It’s designed to help you relax so you can fall asleep.*

Find a Friend Who Will Hold You Accountable

This one is easy. True friends will want you to succeed, and they will encourage you to figure out what makes you happy and stick to a self-care plan. One way to do this is to find a friend who is also interested in implementing a self-care routine. You can check in on a regular basis and keep each other on track as you make sure you’re doing things that are bringing you joy.

Living your best life begins by taking care of yourself, whether that is spending more time with friends or doing activities you love. Developing a self-care plan means taking a deep look at what makes you happy, and making sure you are prioritizing those things for your own well-being. Once you do that, you’ll find you’ve created a more fulfilling life for yourself.

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.