Check Your Self-Care List

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Most of us realize the importance of making and checking lists. We may make packing lists, lists of items we need to take along and lists of people we have been meaning to connect with. Some more organized people even have lists of lists! But many of us neglect to consult the most vital list of all – our self-care list. We are complex beings and must attend to ourselves – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and environmentally.

Life is stressful.

We are always on the go and trying to meet the needs of others while balancing the often-difficult demands of our personal lives. We may find ourselves away from our homes and loved ones at times, eating airport snacks, sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings, lacking opportunities to exercise and dealing with delays, plan changes and set backs.

Before you head out the door pack a self-care checklist to review on the plane or in the hotel. Attending to your needs on all levels will ensure consistent health and balance. You will look better, feel better and radiate higher energy all day long! Following is my personal checklist.


I ask myself, have I been eating well, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, sugar and simple carbohydrates as often as possible and eating good amounts of protein every few hours? Have I packed healthy snacks to take along, like cheese, nuts and fruit? Do I have my I-pod and earphones for music and my neck pillow for my comfort? Am I well hydrated, drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water each day? Have I been keeping regular bedtime hours, getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep? Am I keeping moderate exercise a priority in my life?


Have I been attending to my feelings and expressing myself appropriately; not holding in feelings or stuffing them down with unhealthy foods? Have I really been taking time to nurture myself? When was the last time I truly relaxed? I bring a journal along with me. This provides a place to vent or explore my feelings. Writing down how I feel can be very helpful. Clearing myself emotionally means I can better attend to the tasks at hand. I am less distracted or preoccupied. I also carry a bottle of the Bach Flower Remedy Elm with me. When I begin to feel overwhelmed I take a few drops and they help me to calm myself and return to emotional balance.


Have I been spending time with positive people that I enjoy being with? Am I having fun? Am I paying enough attention to my relationships? Do I stay well connected so I don’t find myself isolated and lonely? Do I apportion my time with others with the alone time I need to stay balanced? Do I make my friends and supports a priority so I’m not functioning in isolation?


Have I been taking quiet time for myself? Do I spend time every day praying, meditating or just sitting and quietly breathing? Do I remind myself often to stay in the present rather than worry about the future or hang on to difficulties from the past?


Have I brought what I need to set up a comfortable environment in my hotel room (perhaps a favorite photo, bath oil, small scented candle or incense)? I bring along my down pillow that I put into a compression sack. This fits easily into my suitcase and ensures that I will get a good night’s sleep.

Whether on or off the road, it is essential to take gentle care of yourself. Attention to your own needs must be your top priority. I wish you happy travels and radiant health!

Contributor Info:

Denise Lamothe is an emotional eating expert, international professional speaker, psychologist and doctor of holistic health. She is the author of The Taming of the Chew: A Holistic Guide to Stopping Compulsive Eating (Penguin 2002) and has been noted in many publications, including “O” the Oprah Magazine. She has appeared widely on television and radio and has spoken across the country and in Canada. Dr. Denise is the emotional eating expert for Ann Louise Gittleman, The First Lady of Nutrition and is the professional, celebrity spokesperson for the renowned Bach Flower Remedies, Nelsons USA. She is located in Exeter NH and can be reached at 603-778-4814 or 603-493-6043 or

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