Self-awareness is the foundation of self-care. Without understanding your feelings, emotions and thoughts, you won’t know what you need for being at your best or even prevent a breakdown. These days, you can empower yourself with self-care worksheets to carve out the right routine for your needs.
Gone are the days when you naturally wake up with the sun or a cockerel crowing and amble out into the jungle or forest to pick berries and other fruit. Others from your tribe might go off hunting or fishing while women and children bathe in the river. The community might then regather for a large meal followed by a long afternoon siesta.
Such communal tribal life is something most of us have never experienced. Instead, we live in a fast-paced world governed by the need for achievement and status. Of course, there are many wonderful things we’ve created through this model but they come with increased stress and depression.
It’s now up to each of us to find balance through self-care to avoid burnout and other mental issues. Traditionally, self-care was something you did, such as going for a walk, but today it also encompasses the state of being.
As mindfulness and meditation became mainstream, a whole new aspect of self-care came to light and as a therapist or counselor, you’ll need to know all the nuances to best help your clients. For example, you can now leverage self-care worksheets so that your clients have a daily tracker and reminder to support them in creating a continuous flow of self-care.
Furthermore, platforms like Quenza have devised a multitude of exercises to add depth to those worksheets. In this article, we’ll show you how they can boost your self-care coaching or counseling program both for yourself and for your clients.
First, what is self-care? As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), “self-care is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider” .
One of the main misconceptions about self-care is that it’s a form of indulgence. Most of us pick up the habit of being hard on ourselves. Sometimes this is even further exacerbated by perfectionism. Both those habits tend to discount self-care and yet, people with those habits need them more than most.
An HBR article on the pros and cons of perfectionism summarizes some research that shows that while perfectionism can have some benefits, overall, it’s generally a greater weakness than most people realize . A powerful way to counteract those weaknesses is through self-care.
Befriending the Inner Critic
The International Self-Care Foundation defines 7 pillars of self-care as shown in their schematic as copied below for reference :
Each of those pillars covers several themes and will have a multitude of self-care worksheets to cover each area. The overall aim is to promote health and well-being so that each of us can better navigate life’s challenges.
So, why is self-care important? Essentially, without it, life’s struggles and problems can throw us off-kilter. We then become governed by those struggles and we have no way out.
Instead, someone with a strong self-care routine with daily self-care worksheets nurtures their resilience and self-esteem. They also have the physical health to cope with whatever life throws at them.
As you can see from the diagram above, self-care covers healthy eating and physical activity. As most of us now know, numerous studies have shown that the right food, along with good exercise, improves mood, boosts the immune system and reduces anxiety.
Finding the right routine for mental well-being is perhaps less obvious for people which is why counselors and coaches need to guide them. Another useful framework that overlaps with the above schematic is neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel’s Mind Platter .
According to Siegel, in order to have a healthy mind, we also need focus time, connecting time and time-in, as well as sleep, physical time, play time and downtime. If you remember back to our tribal ancestors, we need connecting time to ensure we have a sense of belonging and support. This also boosts our resilience.
All of Siegel’s themes reduce stress because they give the mind time to relax and to focus on other less stressful things. Moreover, it encourages a more balanced approach to productivity and relaxation by encouraging both focus time and down time. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as we give our bodies time to wind down back to our normal level.
In short, self-care is all about getting the right balance both for body and mind. So, how can you as a coach or counselor guide your clients to get the right balance?
The Private Garden: A Visualization for Stress Reduction
Why not start with this visualization meditation worksheet from Quenza’s extensive library? From there, you can choose from multiple worksheets to continue guiding your client now that they are more balanced.
The Concept of Self-Care Worksheets
Self-care worksheets cover tools from various psychology fields including, for example, Quenza’s exercise to allow clients to explore how to create flow experiences, as inspired by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Exploring Flow Experiences
Another example from Quenza’s library, but this time from CBT, is the exercise where clients explore their unhelpful beliefs as a first step to reframing them.
Identifying Unhelpful Beliefs About Emotions
Other self-care worksheets might include tracking mood or simply assessing the current self-care routine as a starting point. The self-care promise exercise from Quenza is another wonderful way to get clients started.
So, what is self-care and why are self-care worksheets important? We all know that we need self-care to stay healthy but worksheets allow clients to stay on track. The exercises also raise awareness and make self-evaluation easier and more tangible. They are therefore more likely to follow through with the changes they need to integrate self-care into their lives.
Coaches, counselors and therapists all know that we have to make things easy for clients, otherwise, they’re unlikely to adopt new habits. One way to do this is by handing out self-care worksheets in pdf format. Clients can then simply write notes as they wish while also having multiple copies as needed.
As we all know, clients don’t always follow through with their self-care worksheets so how can we help them? Quenza offers a platform with a friendly look and feel that makes those exercises appealing. With the images and ease of clicks, clients are drawn to them.
Furthermore, it’s up to the professional to guide clients through putting together a self-care plan. One way to do this is by creating a pathway on the Quenza platform. This is essentially a journey through different exercises from Quenza’s library.
So, you could, for example, start with raising awareness around needs, followed by the wheel of life to get a sense of which areas your client wants to focus on first. Depending on the outcome, you can include various Quenza worksheets including Initiating Physical Activity, Brief Needs Check-in Meditation, Planning Pleasurable Activities Spending Time in Nature and Gratitude Letter.
Printable Self-Care Worksheets
Whether your clients are dealing with low self-esteem, anxiety or even depression, printable self-care worksheets can be a huge benefit for them. For example, you can choose to give your clients any from this list of 6 Top Self-Esteem Worksheets. They can then print and pin them up in visible places to remind them of their positive affirmations, for example. For those suffering from depression, they might just be filling in their mood chart posted on the fridge, for instance.
Other self-care worksheets might include deep relaxation or breathing exercises with images. Again, these can be posted around clients’ workspace or home environments as a motivational nudge.
To continue to make things easy for your clients, gauge what type of technology they’re comfortable with. For example, with Quenza, you can post self-care worksheets in your client space or send them through the chat room.
Of course, you can also email them out but often emails get missed. The more you can help your clients engage with online platforms such as Quenza, the more they will feel supported 24/7. In essence, they’ll have their personal self-care space away from the clutter and stress of email.
All Quenza’s worksheets are printable so it’s up to you and your client to decide how to work with them together.
Before-You-Die Bucket List
Self-Care Worksheets for Students
A 2012 study shows that psychology graduate students significantly benefited from self-care habits. More specifically, sleep hygiene, social support and emotion regulation were the most impactful factors .
Self-care worksheets for students need to be practical and accessible. That way they can quickly and efficiently incorporate them into their busy schedules. As such, providing self-care worksheets in pdf formats is useful so that they can print them and refer to them while on the go.
The right self-care worksheets include encouraging students to develop a balanced lifestyle to specifically manage their stress while also expressing their feelings. Coursework deadlines and exams are all significant sources of stress and can cause students to shut down and even drop out.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress Management Emergency Plan
Self-Care Worksheet Guidelines
Every therapist, counselor and coach has their preferred way of using self-care worksheets. Nevertheless, it’s also important to keep your worksheets up-to-date and fresh. With Quenza, you can easily modify them according to client needs and changing philosophies.
Moreover, it’s important for clients to feel safe and valued. They can then be as honest as possible when completing printable self-care worksheets. These 9 Most Useful Therapy Worksheets For Supporting Clients also give you examples of worksheets for teens and couples.
As a practitioner, you might want to set out some self-care worksheet guidelines in order to demystify them. The more clients understand that these are their working documents for them to own and organize their life, the more likely they’ll feel empowered. Through such self-control and self-reliance, they can more successfully optimize their health and well-being.
Furthermore, a 2021 study shows the importance of self-care as a nursing evaluation. In summary, self-care is becoming a major factor in decreasing the effects of disease and injury, as well as helping us deal with a stressful life. As such, self-care worksheet guidelines should include a point to explain just how big of an impact self-care really has.
It’s worth mentioning the difference between self-care worksheets for adults and for students. The overall aim is to ensure a healthy and optimal life stays the same. Nevertheless, adults tend to need more support with relationship management.
Another aspect is that students might be more tech-savvy and prefer gaming options for their self-care planning. Various apps are now available online but as a practitioner, you can also get creative with printable self-care worksheets.
The Costs and Benefits of Changing Behavior
I think, therefore I feel
Benefits and Limitations of Self-Care Worksheets
As explained, self-care worksheets are valuable for therapists, counselors and coaches alike. They add another tangible dimension to the healing process while giving clients ownership. There’s also the motivational aspect because these worksheets are fun to fill out. Of course, everyone is different and some will need more support than others.
A 2019 study further shows that writing about painful experiences allows us to activate the part of the brain linked to processing negative emotion: the mid-cingulate cortex (MCC). With printable worksheets, practitioners are also encouraging their clients to slow down and write about their emotions, further enhancing the healing process .
Naturally, therapy and coaching aren’t just about filling in worksheets. In fact, practitioners use a range of tools and methodologies to ensure a tailored journey for clients. There are also more severe cases, including those who need hospitalization such as suicidal patients. They would need a lot more specific care than filling out worksheets.
Self-care is the building block from which the majority of therapy or healing work can start. Without the fundamentals in place, clients will most likely be too resistant or demotivated.
Now that self-care is increasingly at the forefront of everything we do, practitioners need a straightforward and effective tool to support them.
Quenza doesn’t just offer hundreds of self-care worksheets that cover everything from ACT to CBT and Positive Psychology, and more. It also offers an easily customizable platform along with the ability to create specific journeys.
Together, with your clients, you’ll be able to make their self-care plan visible, tangible and uniquely engaging.
Why not see for yourself just how many worksheets there are by signing up for a free full-access one-month trial for only $1? You’ll have more worksheets and ideas than you can possibly imagine. No client will ever get stuck again.
- ^ World Health Organization. (2019). WHO consolidated guideline on self-care interventions for health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544164/.
- ^ Breidenthal, A. P., Harari, D., Steed, L. B., & Swider, B. (2018, December 27). The pros and cons of perfectionism, according to research. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-pros-and-cons-of-perfectionism-according-to-research.
- ^ International Self-Care Foundation. (n.d.). What is self-care? https://isfglobal.org/what-is-self-care/.
- ^ Siegel, D. J. (n.d.). The healthy mind platter. https://drdansiegel.com/healthy-mind-platter/.
- ^ Popick, V., Sweeney, A. C., Virtue, S. M., & Wesley, K. M. (2012). Self-care practices and perceived stress levels among psychology graduate students. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254734813_Self-Care_Practices_and_Perceived_Stress_Levels_Among_Psychology_Graduate_Students.
- ^ Popick, V., Sweeney, A. C., Virtue, S. M., & Wesley, K. M. (2012). Self-care practices and perceived stress levels among psychology graduate students. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 6, 55-66. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026534.
- ^ Calero, P., Connelly, C. D., Martinez, N., & Perez, A. (2021). Self-care: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 8(4), 418–425. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnss.2021.08.007.