Six Easy Steps to a Self-Care Plan for the Holidays

Let’s face it – the holidays aren’t always bright and cheerful, especially if you are a caregiver. While some aspects of the holidays can bring comfort and connection to those who are caregiving, the holidays also require a lot of energy – something in short supply in a caregiver’s life. Holidays can also invoke memories of years past that clash with the reality of current caregiving situations.

If you are a caregiver, I encourage you to take extra good care of yourself during the holidays. I know – this can sound like more of a burden than something that is actually good for you. How in the world will you find time to take care of yourself? But coming up with a self-care plan can be like a flu shot. The shot isn’t exactly heaven, but it’s worth it when compared to the trauma encountered later when you actually catch the flu. Likewise, developing a plan to care for yourself now can prevent exhaustion and emotional difficulties later on.

© Hanna Zalbieska
© Hanna Zalbieska

Here are six easy steps to a self-care plan for the holidays:

  1. Take an index card or piece of notebook paper and with a pen or pencil, divide it into four sections.
  2. In the top left box, jot down a few things you can do to maintain your physical well-being during the holidays. For instance, you might write, “Walk for 20 minutes 3 times a week,” or “Lay off the alcohol!”
  3. In the top right box, note a few things that can help you maintain your emotional well-being. For example, you might write, “It’s okay to cry” (which it is) and “It’s okay to have fun” (which it is, even though caregivers might feel guilty about this).
  4. In the bottom left box, jot down something that nurtures your spiritual well-being. This might be a verse from a religious text, a poem, or a reminder to attend certain spiritual or religious events in your community.
  5. In the bottom right box, note some things that can help you maintain your social well-being, because it’s important not to become isolated. You might write down the details of any caregiver support groups meeting during the holidays, or you might make a vow to have coffee with a close friend.
  6. This is your holiday self-care plan. Put it in your purse, wallet, or any place you will see it regularly.

Having a tangible self-care plan increases your chances of taking better care of yourself during the holidays while still managing caregiving responsibilities. And that means enhanced well-being, both during the holidays and beyond.

If you try this, let me know how it goes. And please have a very blessed holiday season.


Leave a comment
  • I like your index card idea, I'll try to do the steps. By the way, I've used the name "Dr. Chill" before at bars around Chicago when introducing myself to women. Some really go for it.

  • In reply to gwill:


    Thanks so much for your comment. I hope you find the index card idea helpful! I can't say that I've used the name "Dr. Chill" in that way, but I'm glad you've had some fun with it. :) Have a great Thanksgiving!


  • That's really awesome creative idea of cards. I'll surely try this one. Holidays from home.
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  • In reply to alexkhrestsov:


    Thanks so much for your comment, and I hope that you find the strategy helpful! Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.


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