the self-care shopping list

Self-care is essential care, it isn’t indulgent and we know in the depths of our being, that we absolutely must carve out some time for it, but how do we actually DO self-care?

I’m a self-professed planner, a list maker and so I’ve headed down the “over-planned and over-complicated” self-care rabbit hole more than once. Years ago I needed an easy way to get self-care into my life or it either never happened or just became yet another thing to put on my to-do list that I could beat myself up over NOT doing.

Enter the self-care shopping list concept. The self-care shopping list is the simplest thing in the world, so simple you can even build it into the busiest work day – IF you want to.

step 1

Think of things that could constitute self-care for you. Be open-minded and remember self-care isn’t just bubble baths – you are just looking for things that make you FEEL good and things that you NEED. It could be anything from an hour long massage to 5 minutes to enjoy the best coffee ever in blissful peace. It could be having an uninterrupted hour to finally make those phone calls, or it could be to dance like nobody’s watching in the kitchen. You do you!

step 2

Create a self-care shopping list consisting of sources of self-care that you could do in 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or more (or whatever time spans appeal to you - but keep it doable). If like most of us you’re a little addicted to your smartphone (even if you’d rather not admit it), use it to help you with this and keep your self-care list in the notes app of your choice (or in your journal or a bit of paper - it matters not).

step 3

Start off by making a commitment to yourself to one self-care thing a day from your list. The time length is up to you and might well depend on your day, but COMMIT to do one thing as a minimum. Now here is the really important thing: this is NOT a tick box exercise, it is an exercise in flexibility and listening to your mind and body.

As early in the morning as you are “with it”, maybe after you’ve meditated or had that first cup of coffee, take 2 minutes to tune into yourself. Close your eyes and check in with how you’re feeling today. How’s your heart? How’s your head? What do you need? How do you want to feel as you head into the day.

Now have a look at your list. Is there anything on there that would really push your buttons today and feel like you’d take good care of yourself, with the time and energy that you have? If not, can you think of something else you really need or crave today.

Make doing that thing your top priority today. Start small, but do start.

steps 4, 5, 6…

Add new things to your list as you think of them or as they come up. There is no need to make this a mammoth task and create a list with 100 items on it on Day One – just add them in as they come to mind or you notice in your life the things that make you feel good.


  • Have a scan though your list first thing in the morning and let what you think might feel good or work on that specific day percolate in the background while you wake up. Remember not all days are the same!

  • Be flexible – you are a human not a robot so try to pay attention to your body and your emotions and what they need to help you feel good. Simplicity is everything - all you type 1s out there, you are no allowed to overcomplicate it!

  • Noticing is everything – keep a notepad on your bedside table and find 1 thing each night that you did to take care of yourself that day. Notice what made you feel good, then add it to your list.

  • If in doubt – head into nature and plant your feet in the grass for 5 minutes – you’ll be amazed how effective that is.

Please use the self-care shopping list for your own personal development tool. If you would like help with any aspect of the tool, including strategies for working with the insights you uncover, get in touch and book a free clarity call with me, I’d be delighted to help (no strings and no sales pitch at all).


Like to know more about working with me?

I’m a Life & Leadership Coach that helps folks to belong to themselves. What that means is that I work with the 4 Pillars of Belonging to support my clients to build a home within themselves, and to live, love & lead, their way. Find out more below.