Personal Self-Care Menu: Free Printable and Guide

Written by Dr Lucy Russell DClinPsyc CPsychol AFBPsS
Dr Lucy Russell Clinical Psychologist Founder of They Are The Future
Author: Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist

In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of self-care cannot be overstated. It’s a vital area of personal wellness and a part of your daily routine that protects your mental health.

As a clinical psychologist, I emphasize the practice of self-care for every young person I work with, ensuring they have their own self-care menu.

Just like fingerprints, each person’s self-care habits are uniquely their own. So let’s look at how you can develop your very own self-care menu.

Why Focus on Self-Care?

Self-care is the intentional practice of activities that support your physical, mental, and emotional health.

It’s a holistic wellness strategy. There are several important areas to self-care like physical activity, adequate rest, healthy eating, and mindfulness practices. Don’t be scared by the word mindfulness. It just means taking some time to appreciate the present moment; the here and now.

When your mental health is robust, self-care acts as a preventative measure, maintaining your well-being.

However, if you’re facing challenges, self-care becomes even more crucial, preventing a downward spiral.

A self-care menu is your personalized plan, a menu of options tailored to your needs, ensuring you don’t pour from an empty cup.

By focusing on self-care, you’re prioritizing your most critical functions (like sleep), getting stress relief, boosting self-esteem, and building resilience.

mother and daughter snuggling up with a woollen blanket

Self-Care Menu Ideas

Creating a self-care menu tailored to your needs involves selecting activities that resonate with you personally.

Below is a table divided into categories with some examples of self-care activities.

Whether you have just a few minutes or can dedicate a longer period, there’s something for everyone.

Remember, the best self-care activity is one that feels right for you.

CategorySelf-Care Activities
Physical1. Morning exercise routine
2. Taking a bubble bath
3. Eating healthy snacks
4. Going for a walk in fresh air
5. Practicing yoga or stretching
Emotional1. Writing in a gratitude journal
2. Enjoying a cup of tea with reflection
3. Reading a book
4. Listening to your favourite music
Social1. Catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee
2. Participating in a community event
3. Limiting time on social media
4. Joining a club or group of interest
5. Volunteering for a cause you care about
Sensory1. Lighting a scented candle
2. Having a day spa at home
3. Enjoying the warmth of sunlight for vitamin D
4. Listening to natural sounds (like rain or waves)
5. Trying out new textures or crafts
Mental1. Learning new things through a short course or workshop
2. Solving puzzles or playing strategy games
3. Decluttering your space for mental clarity

Choose activities that bring you joy and peace.

Whether it’s a simple self-care idea like enjoying a bubble bath or more involved activities like attending a day spa, the key is to make self-care a regular part of your routine.

Self-care is about replenishing your resources, not depleting them, so pick what truly fills your cup.

Creating Your Self-Care Menu

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft a self-care menu that fits your needs:

  1. Divide Your Menu: Start by dividing your self-care menu into two sections: “Everyday Self-Care” for regular practices and “Emergency Self-Care” for tough days. This ensures you have strategies for maintaining balance daily and extra support when needed.
  2. Visual Representation: Make your self-care menu visually appealing and place it somewhere you’ll see it often. This could be a colorful chart on your fridge or a creative board by your workspace.
  3. List of Self-Care Ideas: Compile a list of self-care activities. Include a mix of quick things for busy days and longer activities for when you have more time. Consider categories like physical health, emotional wellness, and social self-care.
  4. Everyday Self-Care: Incorporate simple practices like words of affirmation, a short walk, or enjoying a healthy snack. These should be activities you can easily integrate into your daily routine.
  5. Emergency Self-Care: Identify activities that provide extra comfort on challenging days, such as watching your favorite movie, calling a loved one, or practicing deep breathing exercises.
  6. Variety and Balance: Ensure your menu includes a variety of activities that cater to different aspects of your well-being. Balance is key; mix physical activities with mental relaxation and social connections.
  7. Flexibility: Remember, your self-care menu isn’t set in stone. Feel free to adjust it, adding new self-care ideas or removing ones that no longer serve you.
mother and son walking outside a suburban British home

Implementing Your Self-Care Menu

Integrating your self-care menu into daily life requires intention and flexibility.

Here are some tips to make these new habits stick:

  1. Start Small: Begin with easy steps that can seamlessly fit into your routine. This could be a five-minute meditation each morning or a short walk during lunch.
  2. Listen to Your Body and Mind: Pay attention to what you need each day. Some days you might need more physical activity, while on others, mental rest could be more beneficial.
  3. Be Flexible: Your self-care needs will change over time. Be open to adapting your self-care practices as needed. If something doesn’t work for you today, it’s okay to try a different activity next time.
  4. Daily Integration: Aim to incorporate at least one self-care activity from your menu each day. This consistent practice helps in forming lasting habits.
  5. Reflect and Adjust: Regularly reflect on how your self-care activities are impacting your well-being. Adjust your menu based on what brings you the most peace and fulfillment.

Remember, the goal of self-care is to support and nourish you.

It’s about finding what works best for you and allowing yourself the flexibility to evolve your practices as you grow.

Free Printable Self-Care Menu Template (Download HERE)

Kickstart your self-care journey with my free printable template.

I’ve designed it for clarity and ease. The instant download allows you to craft your own unique menu for your personal use.

Take the first step towards a more balanced life.

Children and Self Care Menus

Teaching kids about self-care is like planting seeds for a healthy future. It’s about showing them ways to feel good and take care of themselves.

Just like adults, kids face tough days too. Having their own self-care toolbox helps them handle these days better.

Sit down together and talk about things that make them happy and relaxed. It could be anything from reading a book to spending time outdoors.

Remember, you’re their biggest role model. When they see you taking care of yourself, they learn to do the same.

So, grab the worksheet and start crafting your self-care menus together. It’s a fun way to bond and it’s teaching them valuable life skills.

Embracing self-care as a family strengthens everyone.

a tween boy relaxing on a blanket in the shade with a book

Self Care Menu: My Final Words of Wisdom

Your self-care routine is a deeply personal journey, unique to your needs and lifestyle.

I’ve given you some self-care ideas to get you started, and the perfect time to start is now.

Starting this new self-care habit could significantly boost your self-esteem and overall quality of life. Let this guide serve as your encouragement to prioritize yourself.

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Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years.

In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children. Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents and children who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.

Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.

UK parents, looking for expert parenting advice?

Dr. Lucy Russell’s Everlief Parent Club offers a clear path towards a calmer, happier family life. This monthly membership includes exclusive workshops, direct support from child psychologists, and access to our private Facebook community.

Together, we can move towards a calm, happy family life and boost your child’s wellbeing. Become a member today!