Ask A Counselor: What’s the self-care plan for 2017?

Hey friends, it’s January!

I don’t care about resolutions, but I do care about our self-care plans, because if we don’t think about our self-care plans now, the year will roll on, and we’ll be left gasping in the dust somewhere down the road.

Last January, I asked you this:  what would you do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly to care for yourself in 2016?

So, how did it go? 

  • Looking back, were you able to carry out the plans you made? 
  • Were your plans adequate? 
  • In other words, did your self-care do its job? 

Like I said last month, my self-care plans weren’t adequate for 2016.  By mid-year, several unexpected difficulties had arisen, and it was clear that I needed to adjust my self-care accordingly.

I adjusted in three areas, based on a biopsychosocial understanding of mental health care.

  • I took better care of my biological self through yoga and body work.
  • I took better care of my psychological self through emotional and spiritual work.
  • I took better care of my social self through boundary adjustments with work and rest.

Not only am I feeling much better now than I was back in the summer, but I can also touch my nose to my knee!  This may sound like small potatoes to you, but I’m pretty sure I was partially fossilized from general disuse before yoga got ahold of me, so it’s a nice accomplishment for me, and it means that I’ll be able to crawl around in the floor with my brand-new granddaughter when she gets to that stage in a few months.  Good self care, unexpected benefits!  I like it!

Here’s a quick checklist to evaluate your self-care of the last year:

How’s your body doing now, compared to a year ago?

  • Are you sleeping well?
  • Eating normally?
  • Exercising regularly?
  • Able to carry out the physical tasks of your day as needed?
  • If not, what adjustments can you make for the year ahead?

How’s your emotional/spiritual life today?

  • Are you able to enjoy life in general?
  • Are your close relationships nourishing and supportive to you?
  • Are you able to identify and process your emotions on a daily basis?
  • Are you noticing unusual levels of sadness, anxiety, anger, or numbness?
  • Are you feeling satisfied and connected in your relationship with God?
  • If there are trouble spots, where do you need to work in the year ahead?

How’s your boundary world right now?

  • Does your life reflect respect for you as an individual?
  • How’s your work-life balance?
  • What would your spouse and/or kids say about your work-life balance?
  • What did you do for fun this last year?
  • What helped you to rest and relax this last year?
  • If your boundaries are out of balance, how can you adjust this coming year?

My challenge to you this year is the same as last year:

What will you do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly to take care of this one life you’ve been given?

Think in terms of the biopsychosocial model, and make a plan that cares for the whole you.

I guarantee that life is going to happen to all of us again in 2017, just like it did in 2016.

We may have to adjust our self-care plans, just like I had to this last year.

It’s easier to adjust an already-existing self-care plan than to try to create one in a moment of crisis.

So, before too much of 2017 happens, what’s your self-care plan for the year ahead?

You are God’s beloved.  

Let your self-care demonstrate this reality.

Here are some resources you might find helpful:

Yoga with Adriene on YouTube

The Gottman Relationship Blog

Pray As You Go App

Journaling Prompts are everywhere online!

ALO Resources Tab

ALO Recommended Reading Tab

photo credit: Pixabay

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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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