Ask A Counselor: How’s my self-care plan holding up?

Hey friends, I usually write a self-care post in January, but I just wanted to run through a quick self-care check-up with you this month, and give a few ideas if you find yourself needing a little pick-me-up.

I like to use the Biopsychosocial model as a guide to make sure that we’re covering all our self-care bases.  We need to be caring for ourselves:

  • biologically (our physical selves)
  • psychologically (our emotional/spiritual selves)
  • socially (our relational selves, in the reality of today)

Here are some evaluation points for our biological selves:

  • How am I sleeping?
  • How is my appetite?
  • Am I getting regular exercise?
  • Am I fairly healthy, or am I experiencing repeated physical illnesses?
  • When I scan my body, are there areas of persistent physical tension?
  • Am I able to physically relax?
  • Am I experiencing panic or anxiety attacks?

If we are experiencing any disturbances in this area, we might:

  • See a doctor to explore issues of sleep, appetite, illness.
  • Find regular exercise routines that work in our setting.
  • Explore yoga as a way to care for the physical self.
  • Learn alternate nostril breathing as a calming technique.
  • Explore contemplative prayer as a way to connect our embodied selves with God.
  • Use a simple app like Calm as a breathing, meditation, or sleep coach.

Here are some evaluation points for our psychological (spiritual/emotional) selves:

  • How are my moods?
  • Am I especially irritable, angry, sad, anxious?
  • Am I acting out in undesirable ways?
  • When I sit quietly with myself, what emotions arise?
  • Am I feeling spiritually dry, distant, disconnected?

If we’re experiencing disturbances in this area, we might:

  • Journal 20 minutes daily.
  • Read good books–some suggested below.
  • Listen to uplifting music.
  • Find a good podcast.
  • Talk to a counselor.  (Check our resource tab!)
  • Join a supportive online group.

Here are some evaluation points for our social selves:

  • How are my closest relationships these days?
  • Can I easily access friends, family, supportive community?
  • What’s my work environment like right now?
  • Does life feel “fair” to me, or do I feel overworked and underappreciated?
  • Are there any particularly stressful or painful circumstances right now?
  • When’s the last time I really had fun?
  • When is my next holiday?

If we’re experiencing disturbances in this area, we might:

  • Make an effort to reach out to those closest to us, and explore any disconnect.
  • Consider what healthy boundaries would look like for me and my family.
  • Consider what healthy boundaries would look like for my work environment.
  • Take into account any particularly stressful circumstances the might require boundary adjustments.
  • Look for ways to have fun, relax, and nourish myself on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.





The pattern of your life should reflect your infinite value and worth.

You are not the source and supply for every person on earth–not even if they think you are.

You are fully loved and safe and chosen, just as you are.




Resources to explore

The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk

Boundaries, Henry Cloud and John Townsend

How God Changes Your Brain, Andrew Newberg

The Anxiety Cure, Archibald Hart

The Inner Voice of Love, Henri Nouwen

Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor

Falling Upward, Richard Rohr

photo credit


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Kay Bruner

Kay Bruner was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in Brazil, Nigeria, and the wilds of Kentucky. She and her husband have raised their four children in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and currently reside in the great state of Texas. Kay is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and divides her work days between counseling and writing. She is the author of As Soon As I Fell and blogs at She is available for counseling at her office in Dallas or via skype for a reduced rate to clients overseas. For more information go to:

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