Habit Tracker Ideas for Self Care
42 Habits to Track for Your Personal Self Care Goals
Habit tracking is a great way to see where you are spending your time! And studies show that people who focus on Self Care have a higher self esteem, greater productivity, and improved health and well-being than those who do not. So here are 42 habit tracking ideas specific to Self Care that can help you include the things that are most important to you! You can track them on your phone, calendar, or using a Bullet Journal (my personal favorite.)
Physical Habits for Self Care
I find that physical habits are the easiest place to start when you are tracking self care. Basic things like sleep, nutrition, and hydration are easy to incorporate and make you feel so much better on a daily basis. Have you ever gone to work with a headache and congestion? Your day goes by so slowly and painfully when you feel miserable and cannot concentrate. All you want to do is go back home and crawl into bed! This is our body telling us that it needs to be healthy to function at the highest capacity! And if we care for our body on a daily basis, by getting rest, sleep, exercise, and nutrition, we are much better equipped to handle stress or illness in our body!
- Sleep has been shown to help with regulating mood, weight, and hormones. This is the time when our body and mind recover from the day. Lack of sleep has shown to increase risk for many diseases including cancer and high blood pressure. For more information about sleep and ideas to help regulate it, refer to my post “The Health benefits of Sleep.”
- Hydration: It seems so simple, but water is MAGICAL! Did you know that water can help balance your weight, flush toxins from your body, improve your memory, and improve your skin? Water also relieves headaches, improves your mood, and even decreases joint pain!
- Exercise/ Movement: Exercise releases stress, regulates our hormones, invigorates our bones, joints, and muscles. This is a necessary, basic human need. To care for our bodies and keep them healthy by moving. For more information, read my post on “Tricking your body into Exercise.”
- Being Outside, breathing fresh air helps clear your mind and decrease stress. This may be a habit that you choose to track to help with overall health. Even just sitting outside having a cup of tea or taking a short walk around the block can clear your head and promote a sense of calmness.
- Physical touch: Physical touch can refer to both sexual and non-sexual touch. Something as simple as a hug, an arm around your shoulder, or holding your hand can convey comfort, love, and security. Even something as simple as a massage can help release tension and stress and is easy to incorporate into a self care routine.
- Stretching/Yoga are excellent ways to physically slow your breathing and stay limber while concentrating on core-strength!
- Deep Breathing is a technique that is used for stress management. When you breathe deeply, you increased oxygen delivery. Read more about how to Manage Anxiety
Emotional Habits for Self Care
- Eustress is a term that refers to the “optimal level of stress” for our bodies. There are “good stressors” such as exercising or trying to memorize new information. But there are also many “bad stressors” such as an “all-nighter,” illness, or social conflict. We need to have some stress to improve our lives, but also employ stress-management techniques to prevent stress from being harmful. There are ways to manage interpersonal stress in our families, friendships, and work environments in order to find that balance.
- Happiness level: We all want to be happy! Everyone has there own idea of what it means for them to be happy, but generally speaking, happiness is a state of well-being, contentment, and gratitude. Do you need a reset? Try taking the 31 day Gratitude Challenge or the 30 day Self Love Challenge.
- Gratitude has been shown to increase our mental well being! I have created a 31 day Gratitude challenge where you can read more about the benefits of gratitude and journal your own progress.
- Journalling is a great way to decompress. You can use it to make a list of upcoming things you want to accomplish, to “brain dump” if you are stressed or worried, or to reset your mind and focus on gratitude!
- Me-time/Rest/Relaxtion: Another basic self care need is for us to create time for rest, relaxation, and recovery. You aren’t wired to run nonstop: you need time to decompress and reset. This is different for each person, depending on the demands and stresses of your everyday life. This need exists and cannot be ignored, no matter how busy you are!
- Hobby/Who doesn’t love to have fun! This fulfills our self care need to engage in activities that you enjoy, that amaze you, and that introduce you to new experiences! Do you need some ideas to keep things interesting in life? Try this list of 50 fun Self Care Activities!
- Laughter increases our “feel good” hormones and helps us enjoy life! Re-watch your favorite movie or YouTube video if you just need a quick “pick me up!”
Mental Habits for Self Care
- Reading/Intellectual Stimulation: We each have a personal need for intellectual stimulation. By listening to podcasts, watching TED talks, or reading nonfictional books, we expand our knowledge base! This spills into other areas of our life, but for now, these activities fulfill intellectual stimulation. You can read more about intellectual stimulation in my post “10 Tips to Improve Memory.”
- We have an internal need for self discovery: to understand ourselves and have others understand us. Journalling, personality tests, support groups, and self help classes are all ways for us to explore what makes us “us” as individuals. Find work or a career that allows you to express your talents and passions. If you aren’t sure how to approach this, try taking a career assessment or personality test to uncover your passions. I have compiled a list of free tests in the blog post Self Care Personality Assessment
- Studies show that too much time on social media increases risk for depression, so use it in moderation! Take time to put your phone away, ignore texts and emails, and just enjoy living in the moment.
- Setting goals keeps us on track with designing our lives! This can be things like learning a new skill for a job, learning to be assertive, or even learning how to survive on your own after a divorce. Breaking those larger goals into small milestones will help to insure success!
- Meditation is a way to strengthen resiliency, bring focus, decrease stress, and improve mental health. Mediation is nothing more than detaching yourself completely from your surroundings. And it is a simple as sitting and breathing for 10-20 minutes a day.
Try Something New
- How many times have you heard of people doing drastic things, such as skydiving, to feel the “thrill of living”? This is because we have a basic emotional need to focus on the experiences & feelings of being human. You don’t need drastic experiences to fulfill that need. You can create these moments, set distractions aside, and experience the joy of being alive when you try something new.
- Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. This is a great way to change your mindset and focus on achieving your goals.
Social Habits for Self Care
Time with Friends
- Receiving recognition, respect, appreciation, and love from our social group is a powerful influence on our self esteem. And although it is important to develop our own sense of confidence, we have an innate need to want to be loved and accepted by our peers. This is why it is essential for you to be careful about who you surround yourself with. Our peers can influence and affect us both positively and negatively as a result of this.
Time with Family
- Family can mean different things to each of us: whether it’s a biological network, an adopted network, or close group of friends that provide a family surrogate. But family relationships need to be cultivated since we tend to rely heavily on them in times of need.
- Feeling loved and connected with your significant other is important. But it takes work! Scheduling time together is an important way to stay connected and focussing on each other.
Random Acts of Kindness
- ROAK releases endorphins and actually benefits the person DOING the kindness just as much as the recipient! It’s a great way to get a serotonin-surge.
- Taking a break from social media is important but if it is something you love to do, use it to stay connected with friends and family! This is an easy habit to track which ensures balance in using social media.
- Organized sports or even attending events are a great way to stay active, build camaraderie, and just have fun! This is a great habit to track since it combines so many Self Care aspects!
- Mindfulness is really just enjoying the moment! Make a conscious effort to listen, be thankful for, and appreciate your surroundings and the people you share them with.
Health Habits for Self Care
- Vitamins & Supplements are a great way to support your health, if they are used correctly! Knowing why you are taking them helps to keep you tracking this habit, so make sure to do your research and discuss this with your health care provider.
- Are you trying to clean-up your eating habits? Try a “no-sugar” week and track how this change affects your mood, cravings, and energy levels.
- Caffeine can help you get started in the morning and provide that afternoon “pick me up!” But try tracking how often you use caffeine and make sure it is not masking an underlying medical condition.
- Medication is most effective when taken daily as prescribed! This is a great habit to track for your overall health and wellness!
- A diet rich in whole foods and vegetables has been shown to provide more energy and better health! I love the recipe book Mostly Plants which has excellent recipes for clean eating that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes!
- Make sure to get your regular health and wellness check ups! It is easier to identify diseases early (such as elevated blood pressure and diabetes) and treat them with lifestyle modification, rather than wait until you have severe symptoms or illness.
Hygiene and Grooming
- Hygiene & Grooming refers to the basic need for hygiene. This can be different from culture to culture, but basically by maintaining cleanliness of our bodies, we are preventing disease. Washing our hands has shown to decrease disease transmission to other people. Showering prevents skin breakdown and skin infections. Brushing our teeth and maintaining gum health has been shown to decrease heart disease. It spills into other areas of our lives as well, including social interaction! (No one wants to sit next to the “smelly kid.”)
Routine Habits to Track for Self Care
Routines are great ways to design our lives to take control over our own time. It also decreases the decision fatigue throughout our normal days! Routines help us to prevent forgetfulness, to avoid wasted time, and to focus on self care. I have created articles about developing a Self Care Routine and Implementing Routines that Stick.
Some of my favorite routines to track include:
- Morning Routine
- Evening Routine
- Skin Care Routine
- Meal Planning