When you’re in the thick of a bad day, the last thing you want to do is exactly the things that you need to do in order to get yourself out of a funk and feeling productive again.
So, instead of trying to think of what you should do in the moment, when you don’t have an ounce of energy to spare – why not create a self-care menu where you can pick and select the “meal” that is most appetizing?
A self-care menu is a great way to identify the things that are surefire ways to get yourself out of a funk and leveling up your mood.
So, how can you create this menu for optimal results?
Before you add something to the standard menu, test it like you would a seasonal item. Add it into your rotation, and document how it makes you feel. Does it boost your energy? Mood? Write it down, so that you can remember the way it made you feel.
After testing it out a few times with good results, you can add it to the go-to list.
2. Create an ABC Method for your menu
One of the common things we tend to do when creating plans for ourselves is to overestimate what we’re capable of doing on a less energetic day.
Create a multi-level system like our signature ABC method for your self-care.
Our ABC Plan is based on the typical all-or-nothing mentality that we can have when crafting our routines. Creating a back-up plan system to combat those not-so-perfect days can be such a helpful practice.
So, how does it work?
Well, Plan A is going to be your ideal self-care plan. That will be the thing that has amazing results for you, but requires a good amount of energy.
Plan B is going to be the back-up plan for when you don’t have much energy, but enough to do something like a workout and reading a book.
And Plan C is when you have barely enough energy to get out of bed. Maybe that plan is to pull out a notebook and write down three things you’re grateful for.
You want to craft these ahead of time, so that when you have the lowest amount of energy, you still do something on your self-care menu that helps you feel at least a little bit better. And you already know what that activity is so that it doesn’t take any thinking.
3. Select more than one from the menu
Consider your self-care menu choices appetizer style. Depending on the self-care activity, you might need to do a few items on the list to make a lasting difference in your mood. Choose three, and get to work without allowing yourself the time to overthink or go into “but I don’t feel like it” mode. You can always talk yourself out of anything – but it’s important to remind yourself of how it’ll make you feel after.
4. Include these menu essentials
There are some proven ways to boost your mood and energy, and you’ll likely be able to guess them. They’re the classics for a reason.
Make sure these are on your list – in some form – because they’ll be the most effective. And before you decide that a day is bad – ask yourself if you have done these things lately. Most likely, the answer is no.
It’s so helpful to recognize that and realize that there’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to add in some good habits back into your routine.
Meditate (or some form of mindfulness)
5. Plan ahead, print if you need to
Don’t come up with your self-care menu in the moment. The point of the menu is to have a go-to, pre-planned list of self-care activities that are tried-and-true personalized methods for getting you to a better emotional state.
Have this list available to you either on your phone (so you have it with you at all times).
You might even want to print it, so you can see and remind yourself of the action steps you need to take daily to feel like your best self.
6. Travel-friendly list
For the busy, on-the-go ladies, make sure that some of your menu items are flexible and able to be adapted for on-the-go and travel-friendly. And before a trip, or before you hit the road, be sure to include anything you’ll need to implement your self-care menu.
Being prepared helps you to have less anxiety about how you’ll handle it if you need an immediate dose of self-care.
This could be making sure you have healthy snacks, bringing your yoga mat, checking to see if there are safe areas to walk where you’ll be going, or making sure you set an alarm on your phone to take regular breaks during the day.
7. Keep it to 10 or less
Feel free to break this rule if you want to, but I find that a list of 10 or fewer go-to self-care activities is the perfect amount. When we don’t have a lot of energy to spare, the last thing we want to do is make a hard decision. And the more options we have, the harder it will be to choose.
8. Make it simple, actionable and easy to implement
Again, we want to keep our menu items simple and straightforward so that we actually take action. There’s no point in a self-care menu if we’re never ordering from the list.
Write down specifics. For example, if you have “take a walk” listed, create a go-to route to take. If you have “dress up and put on makeup” on the list, have a sexy outfit that you look bomb in and a lipstick that you get tons of compliments on. The less that you have to think about the action steps, the easier it is to implement – so have it all mapped out ahead of time.
Self-care is so essential for filling up our cups, so that we can become our best selves. Having a go-to list can help us navigate those days where we’re not flowing, and we need an extra boost.
Implementing these menu items on the good days will help to make sure that there are fewer bad ones. So, feed off this menu daily – and work to make these into habits that you don’t even need to think about in the future.