19 Lists to Make in 2019 for Self-Compassion and Self-Care
Practicing self-compassion and self-care is one of the most beneficial ways we can heal from our past experiences, appreciate the present moment, and look to the future with open and curious eyes.
Here are 19 lists to make for self-compassion and self-care for 2019. Keep these lists together in a journal or folder for reference to help you get through times of struggle, and know that there are no right or wrong ways to be kind to yourself.
Lists for the POWER OF WORDS
“Be careful what you say to yourself because you’re always listening.”
Positive affirmations, such as “I am not defined by a number on a scale,” are words and phrases we can repeat to ourselves that serve as a way for us to change our perspective, and to challenge toxic cultural messages we are bombarded with that result in negative beliefs we hold about ourselves. Let this list serve as a way to ground yourself and as a kind reminder of your worth.
Similar to mantras, these are phrases you can come back to during times of difficulty, only they’re responses and kind actions you’ll have at the ready for when negative thoughts infiltrate your mind. For example, when a thought crosses your mind saying you aren’t good enough, you can respond by naming the thought and saying “Thank you for trying to protect me from feeling unlovable, but I know I am worthy just as I am.”
Ten Compliments You Have Received
We are often our own worst critic. Your list of nice things said about you can be anything from a compassionate response a loved one provided when you were in pain, to a compliment someone has given you about a quality you embody, such as your hard work, your sense of humor or your genuine smile. Let this list serve as a reminder that the world does not see us as we see ourselves.
One of my favorite quotes is “The real difficulty to overcome is how you think about yourself” by Maya Angelou because it serves as a reminder that much of the mental suffering we experience stems from negative self-perception. In addition to writing the list of quotes, write 3 that particularly resonate with you on sticky notes and place them on your bathroom mirror so you can see them every day.
Lists for GRATITUDE
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
-- Zig Ziglar
People and Things For Which You Are Thankful
List out the people in your life and things you are thankful for, like your older brother, your dog who loves you unconditionally, or the postal worker who waves to you every day. As you make the list, allow yourself to feel the gratitude fill your heart. This feeling may inspire you to let these people know that you really appreciate them.
Simple Pleasures That Fill Your Heart
Listing the simple pleasures in life not only reminds us to find joy in the small things, but it also reminds us that there is so much more to life than maintaining a certain weight or getting so many likes on your latest post on Instagram. Make a list of your 10 favorite simple pleasures in life, like the smell of rain or the sound of your niece’s laughter.
Awe-Inspiring Things You’ve Seen in Nature
The world around us is filled with an abundance of natural wonders and treasures. Take time to appreciate the unique beauty that surrounds you outside, such as the clear blue sky, morning dew, butterflies. If you have pictures, you can make an online photo album which you can look at anytime. Let the awe of nature fill your heart and connect you to the world around you.
Lists for SELF-CARE
"Taking care of yourself doesn't mean me first, it means me too."
-- L.R. Knost
Ways to Show Yourself Care
In times of pain, have this list of ways you can care for yourself on hand -- such as having a soothing cup of tea, spending time with your favorite furry friend, practicing loving kindness meditation or taking a walk around the park nearby. That way, you have an activity you can immediately access to care for yourself because you are in pain.
Your Close Connections
Whether this is a list of 2 people or 20, write down the people in your life you hold most dear and who are there to support you and love you no matter what you are going through. If you’d like, write a little note of why you are thankful for them and tell them the next time you speak to them.
Reasons Why 2019 is the Year of Your Recovery
2019 is your year. Claim it! Believe it! List reasons why you deserve to feel good about yourself and why you are going to make this the year of recovery from disordered eating or diet culture.
Songs That Make You Feel Good
Music has the power to shift our mood, decrease anxiety and link us to hope and healing. Write a list of your favorite songs and tunes that makes you feel good (Kindful Body’s go-to is Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”), and check out Recovery Warriors’ Spotify playlists of songs that will make you feel encouraged and powerful.
Books to Read in 2019
What kind of books do you like to read? Like music, reading can take your mind off any negativity you are experiencing and inspire you to make positive changes in your life. Make a list of the books you’d like to read this year and allow yourself to take time each week to enjoy them.
Lists for SELF-LOVE
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection”
What You Appreciate About Your Body and Yourself
It’s great to hear words of appreciation from others, but you can actually appreciate yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving yourself a compliment or acknowledging the things that make you wonderful. When making this list, try to send appreciation to those who helped cultivate these attributes or qualities in you such as your family members, teachers, coaches or even books you have read. And know that you do not have to embody these qualities all the time or be the best at them in order to appreciate them in yourself.
Like the list of things you appreciate about your body and self, there is absolutely nothing vain or self-indulgent about acknowledging or recognizing your strengths. Calling out your strengths can be a wonderful way to boost your confidence and stand a little taller during the day. Make a list of 10 strengths big and small, from your ability to make a mean cup of coffee to your excellent communication skills to your precise fine motor skills that allow for pristine eye shadow application.
Self-Love Dates Ideas
When we are romantically interested in another person, we go on dates with them to get to know them more, learn about your level of compatibility and ultimately come to love them. Going on dates with yourself can have the same benefit of helping you fall in love or stay in love with the person you are. Make a list of solo date ideas --- such as a hike in the woods, taking yourself to your favorite yoga class, or getting a manicure --- with the intention of allowing it to be time you spend getting to know your true self.
Acts of Self-Love List
Allow this list to serve to acknowledge that there is always something we can do to show ourselves more love, from giving ourselves a hug randomly through the day, to slowing down and eating mindfully so you can enjoy your food to reading yourself poetry. What are some small and big ways you can show yourself love?
Lists for REFLECTION
“Time and reflection change the sight little by little 'till we come to understand.”
-- Paul Cezanne
10 Happy Memories From Your Life
Big or small, allow yourself to explore the happy moments in your life. Times you’ve smiled. Times you’ve laughed with a friend. Times you felt the most free, even if it was when you were a child. Allow this list to serve you by recognizing that even if it seems like your days are filled with busyness, responsibilities and stress, you’ve also been blessed with positive moments as well.
Times You Knew You Were Enough
When, at any point in your life, did you feel like you were enough? Was it when your art teacher told you your painting of your family was beautiful? Or when you were able to help someone through a difficult time? Write down these experiences as a reminder that you have felt enough before and you are enough now.
When Things Went RIGHT
Sometimes when one bad thing happens during the day we label the entire 24 hours as “a bad day,” but it’s only because we’re focusing on what went wrong. What about everything that went right? Make a list. These can be big moments and even small ones. For example, have you ever been running late to an appointment or meeting but still managed to get there on time? Or have you ever had exactly the right amount of change when you were buying something? I encourage you to make a new list of times things went right at the end of every month to allow yourself to get in or continue the habit of finding little joys.
After you complete your lists, make the intention to look them over regularly and notice any shifts in the ways you are caring for yourself, especially during times of struggle. When we look at the positive changes and the things we are doing well (as opposed to dwelling on the negative), it gives us more motivation to practice self-compassion and self-care.