How to Create a Self-Care Checklist That Works

How much of today did you spend taking care of yourself? Was it enough to be at your best?

If you’re like me, probably not.

I struggle with doing what’s best for myself when there are a million other things to be done. And I don’t believe I’m alone in this. It’s tough to choose yourself over other priorities.

Whether it’s truly important or not, we feel we should always be doing something. It makes us feel productive. BUT, that can be dangerous too. It’s why we need a self-care checklist.

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Women, especially, are notorious for putting everyone else before themselves. There’s a constant dialogue in our heads making sure the meals are made, the work is done, and that to-do list gets at least a few items checked off.

Yet, simultaneously we neglect our bodies and souls, putting our self-care off until some unforeseen time.

Truly, the tasks will go on forever if we let them. And so we have to make a stand. A small one that adds to big results over time.

The Self Care Checklist

I realized when I was pregnant with my last child that I will not slow down unless I have a plan.

So, I created a self-care checklist with 10 actions to be healthy, happy, and impactful. This list is tailored to a mom of small children, but I believe that it can be tweaked for anyone, at any stage of life.


1. Start Basic

My self care checklist has ten items, but if that’s too much, start with two. Find some momentum and then, build as you go. The benefits are felt over time, so don’t short-change yourself by doing too much too soon.

2. Do a Self Check-In

Once a week, check-in with yourself to see how you’re doing. Is the checklist working? Do you need to modify or change something? How can you be more consistent with certain actions?

3. Consider Your Schedule

Now, take your daily schedule and routine into consideration. Do you have more free time in the early morning? Or late night?

Pre-plan time beforehand to do the actions on the checklist. Obviously, your planned times may not always work out, but you’ll be more likely to do them if you have an intended time of day.

Find a free block schedule template HERE to help!

4. Understand How Habits Work

daily self-care checklist

Honestly, I decided to make the plan into a checklist for a reason. I followed the proven rules of habit formation.

One of the rules is to make your new habit satisfying. In my opinion, there are few things more satisfying than checking things off of a list! Man, it feels amazing!

It’s also important to make habits easy, so most of my tasks are small and very easy to accomplish. Yours should be too.

Finally, make it obvious. I put mine in a page protector on a clipboard and check it off every day with a dry erase marker. Every morning I wipe it clean and start again.

I leave it on the kitchen desk as a visual reminder when I walk by.

Related Post: How to Build Better Habits; From the Expert

5. Multitask When it Works

I know, I know. There’s a lot out there about focusing on one task at a time. And it’s true. But I’m also a mom, and at times SOMETHING is better than NOTHING. So here are a few ways I multitask…

  • I can easily get in a podcast when I exercise. Occasionally, I even get an outside connection if I walk with a neighbor.
  • I write three things I’m grateful for while I help my kids in the morning. Sometimes, they even give me input!

Don’t be afraid to multitask when it’s beneficial.

Now, without further adu…


Sign up at the end of this post for FREE self care checklist printables!

1. Eat a Whole Foods Breakfast

daily self care checklist

No junk food or processed food to start the day! This is the chance to set the tone for how the rest of the day will go, and it helps tremendously to begin on a healthy note. I love these smoothies >>

2. Take Vitamins

Get those extra nutrients in. If they aren’t included on the checklist, I just don’t remember!

3. Write Down Goals

Get clear about where I’m going and write it down daily. This is about living with purpose and intention.

Related Post: Why You Should Write Down Your Goals

4. Meditate

Breathe deeply, pray, or meditate intentionally. Spend a few minutes in silence with my thoughts. Often, all I can get in is a few breaths, but it counts!

5. Write In The Gratitude Journal

For me, this looks like writing three things I’m grateful for. I’m loving my 5-minute journal these days! It’s a super easy guide all in one place!

Related Post: How to Start Journaling to Improve Your Life

6. Exercise

Walk, run, jump. MOVE in some way! I try to aim for 30 minutes of anything.

Related Post: Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy

7. Get Some Positive Input

daily self care checklist

Read a few pages from a personal growth book, listen to a podcast, or watch an inspirational video. Get motivated to take on the day!

Related Posts:

8. Give a Gift, or Send an Appreciation/Thank You

This is simply being there for someone else on purpose. Can I leave a note under my kids’ pillow? Can I text “I love you” to my husband, or bring a friend a treat?

I can always do something small for others, but I need a constant reminder to get me moving.

What would you do for this?

9. Sleep – make 8 hours a priority!

It is so important to be well-rested! It’s possibly the most crucial one on this list, and as a parent, I HAVE to have it on there!

Related Posts:

10. Connect With Someone

Have a real conversation with someone. Face to face or by phone works wonders, and texting does not count!

Want more ideas for your checklist?

Check these out!

  • Walk in nature
  • Write 3 things you love about yourself
  • Light a candle
  • Take pretty photos
  • Diffuse essential oils
  • Hug someone
  • Drink more water
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Say morning affirmations
  • Drink tea

*Check out: 50 Self Care Ideas or hop over to Psychology Today for 12 Great Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself for more!

Something to Consider

Now, am I perfect with my checklist? Of course not!

But I can honestly say that I’m MUCH more consistent when using my daily self-care checklist printable. As in, I actually take care of myself.

A checklist is the only reason I’ve been able to stick to these self-care habits so much better than in the past. It is a built-in way for me to take care of myself without having to give it much thought.

Also, a few of the items will evolve as my kids grow and life changes. Just as yours should be what’s right for you in the moment.

SIGN UP to get the free checklist, sent straight to your inbox!

self care sign up

What is it about completing a checklist that feels so darn good?

Finally, what should be on your daily self-care checklist to be healthy, happy, and impactful?

Don’t let another day go by without taking care of yourself!

“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”

Katie Reed


My new basic daily self care checklist has been edited slightly! Here’s what I have right now!

  1. Vitamins
  2. Make Bed
  3. Journaling, goals
  4. Smoothie, salad
  5. Look my best – I tend to want to not shower and wear yoga pants all the time! This is to help with that! 🙂
  6. Upbeat Music – from the Simple Habits to Create Happiness post
  7. Read or podcast
  8. Gift, thank you, appreciation
  9. Exercise
  10. Declutter/pick up 15 minutes – our house is a wreck lately!

The beauty of the self-care checklist is that you can make it whatever you want it to be!



Truly, these are all great reads, and they all contributed to my daily self-care checklist. 

Other wellness and personal growth posts…

A Daily Self Care Checklist