Whether you are a professional helper of some kind, community volunteer, loving parent, teacher or just a good friend to others, you are undoubtedly a “helper.”

And as a helper, taking care of self is crucial in order to have balance in life.

How many times do we say, hear or read this little phrase at the closing of a conversation?

“Take care!”

We say it to others and we use it as a way of bringing closure, wishing someone well. But what does it really mean?

If we “take care” we accept responsibility for the care of our own self.

In order to take care of yourself, it’s important to be purposeful and clear about what you’re going to do in order to “take care.”


1. Create a list of all the things you know you need to avoid. Here is an example:

  • Smoke
  • Take mind-altering drugs
  • Drink alcohol to excess
  • Eat a lot of junk-food
  • Isolate yourself
  • Talk negatively to yourself
  • Ruminate and obsess about all that has gone wrong or will go wrong
  • Stay up late and skimp on sleep regularly
  • Work long hours without breaks
  • Ignore signs of stress
  • Stay in abusive or destructive relationships

2. Create a list of all the things you need to practice. Here is a sample list:

  • Move your body briskly at for 20 minutes daily or at least 3x/week
  • Observe a healthy sleep regimen
  • Eat three well-balanced meals each day with lots of fresh veggies and fruits
  • Play! Make time for fun every day
  • Laugh! Subscribe to a funny blog, watch a comedy, meet up with a friend that makes you laugh
  • Create a relaxation routine daily and practice it daily
  •  Take a break between work projects
  • Spend time in nature
  • Catch negative thoughts and replace with hopeful ones
  • Keep a gratitude journal – record daily all you feel grateful for
  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga
  • Write love notes to your friends and family
  • Pat yourself on your back – acknowledge your effort and good qualities

3. Commit to your self care plan by scheduling time on your calendar. Make appointments with yourself daily

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”  – Alan Lakein

If we glance ahead and see that we are headed for burn out, imbalance – even sickness or death as a result of our stress and lack of self care, we can see that it is crucial to have a plan. Take action now.

Take care!