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Self-Care Calendar Challenge for Survivors

By Jessica M. Corvo

‘Self-care. What’s that? You want me to stop what I’m doing to do something for me? No one else benefits? Something for my wellness. Mental wellness. Emotional wellness. Physical wellness. Spiritual wellness. This is a joke, right? I cannot possibly find time to look after myself. I don’t even know where to start! I have too many other things to do. Others need me. I have to do x, y, AND z before I can even think about self-care…’

Raise your hand if this internal dialogue sounds familiar. 

A few years ago, I used to cringe when others talked about self-care. To me, self-care felt elaborate, expensive and like something I was unable to attain because, in my head, self-care was defined as sitting on the beach, reading a book, or taking a hot bubble bath. I was not in a position to execute any of those things. My priority was to help others. I was conditioned to prioritize relationships with others before my relationship with myself. Truthfully, I didn’t know how to have a relationship with myself. Self-care was not part of my world or something I felt the need to learn. Self-care felt indulgent and selfish.  

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”

– Mandy Hale

The concept of self-care can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Goals are easier to accomplish when kept simple. In an effort to keep things as simple as possible, let’s talk about three things: time, effort and consistency.

Time: There are 1440 minutes in a day. Fourteen minutes is roughly one percent of your day. Can you find 14 minutes of each day to do something you enjoy? Seems easy enough, right? If you are anything like me, it was very difficult to find an unused 14 minutes of my day, so I started by saying NO to things. Eventually, I created space for 14 minutes throughout my day. Let’s find areas of our life where we can say NO to something. Saying NO to others is sometimes saying YES to ourselves. It’s a way to take back our power. Can you commit to 14 minutes/day? If yes, check out our Self-Care Challenge.

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”

– Etty Hillesum

Effort: Breaking cycles can be fun. Creating new habits can also be fun. Life can be so much fun. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship we will ever have. Embracing a self-care journey is going to feel awkward but we created a fun 30-day Self-Care Challenge to help you navigate the month. Can you make a daily commitment to something? If yes, check out our Self-Care Challenge.

“Small hinges swing big doors.”

– W Clement Stone

Consistency: Thirty days might seem like a very long time. Our challenge was created to make it fun, reflective and easy to execute. The secret ingredient to living our best life is consistency. Can you commit to something for 30 days? If yes, check out our Self-Care Challenge.

30-day Self-Care Challenge

Stage 1: Prep (complete the sentence)

Day 1: I define self-care as:

Day 2: Having a consistent self-care practice would make me feel __________ about myself.

Day 3: Reflecting on my current life, the habits/decisions/people; Doing _____________ makes me feel bad about myself. Doing _______________ makes me feel good about myself.

Day 4: Look in the mirror and declare: I AM WORTHY OF THE SAME LOVE I GIVE TO OTHERS.

Stage 2: Say NO

Day 5 – 14: Each day, for 10 days, I will say NO to one thing that makes me feel bad about myself. Need help? Here are 50 ways to say NO.

Day 15: I feel ________________ about saying NO.

Stage 3: Say YES

Day 16-25: Each day, for 10 days, I will say YES to one thing that makes me feel good about myself. Need help? My self-care secret: play my favorite song on repeat until I feel those good vibes flowing. Sometimes, my self-care say YES moment is simply me dedicating a song to myself, on repeat. Otherwise, feel free to check out this list from Tiny Buddha. 

Day 26: I feel _______________ about saying YES.

Stage 4: Reflect

Day 27: _____________ was the easiest part of the month. _____________ was the most challenging. Overall, this challenge was ____________ than I expected.

Day 28: Saying  NO / YES was easier because __________________________________. 

Day 29: I write a THANK YOU letter to myself. I address the letter to the person I was just before doing this challenge. I redefine my perspective on self-care. Let’s be honest, I’ve learned so much in the last few weeks. I thank myself for embracing the challenge.

Day 30: Look in the mirror and read the thank you letter.

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

– Jean Shinoda Bolen

Now that you have completed the 30-day Self-Care Challenge, are you ready to do it again for another 30 days? (PLEASE SAY YESSSSS)! We are cheering for you!

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.

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Share Your Story

Sharing our stories can be incredibly empowering while also helping others connect with survivors who have similar experiences.