So far we have focused on maintenance self-care: the kinds of things one does regularly to reduce stress and maintain and enhance well-being. But planning out what you would do under extremely trying circumstances, even though they are rare, is also important. To do this, develop a framework using your Emergency Self-Care worksheet before you are faced with a crisis or feel overwhelmed. This is not to suggest that you will invariably face such a situation; the idea is to be prepared just in case.
Identify what you do now to manage the stress in your life. The Lifestyles Behaviors assessment can help you to identify the coping strategies you currently use and whether they are likely to be good (or not so good) for your well-being.
"Maintenance self-care" refers to the activities that you have identified as important to your well-being and that you have committed to engage in on a regular basis to take care of yourself. My Maintenance Self-Care Worksheet provides an opportunity for you to identify the activities you would like to add to your self-care practice in each self-care domain (“new practice”). It is also useful to identify possible barriers or obstacles that could get in the way of implementing and/or maintaining these new activities. Think about what you anticipate these barriers/obstacles to be (try to list at least 3 or 4 in the spaces provided), how you can address them, and how you can remind yourself to follow your plan. Write these solutions on the last page of the My Maintenance Self-Care Worksheet. If you have chosen to limit or eliminate a negative coping strategy that you currently use, note this as well.
The Self-Care Assessment will help you highlight the good things you are already doing for yourself and whether there is an imbalance in the areas in which you practice self-care. The items in this assessment can also give you some ideas for additional things you may want to do in the future to help prevent stress and burnout and to maintain and enhance your well-being. Make a note of the items that you would like to add (or add more of) to your self-care practice. In considering this, try to be sure that each domain of self-care is well represented. If you think of things that are not included in this list, just add them at the end.
Once you have developed your plan and made your commitment, remember that friends, family, peers, and/or colleagues may be good additional resources for exchanging new self-care ideas/strategies and to provide support and encouragement. Consider taking your commitment a step further by joining or starting a support or discussion group.