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Self-Care Vision Board

(Adapted from Hugo Alberts PhD)

Self-care activities are those things we do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Countless research findings demonstrate the importance of one’s ability to attend to and meet personal needs.

For instance, self-care has been found to increase empathy, immunologic functioning, and has been associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression (Schure, Christopher, & Christopher, 2008).

Self-care is sometimes mistaken for selfishness, however, according to Mills, Wand, and Fraser (2015), self-care allows people to take better care of others. These authors argue that it is a lack of self-care during times of distress that has a negative effect on one’s ability to provide care and compassion to others. Because self-care ensures that we have taken care of our needs, we operate from a state of inner balance, which renders us better equipped to meet others’ needs.

While self-care may sound simple enough, it is often difficult to execute. One of the most common reasons for people not engaging in regular self-care is that they “don’t have time”.

Fortunately, there are many different self-care practices one can do, and none of them are especially time-consuming or require a lot of planning. Once self-care becomes a part of everyday life, it is likely that people will become more and more protective of that time and wonder how they ever managed without it.

Doing kind and caring things for ourselves, particularly when we are struggling, can help us to cope and move through difficult emotional experiences.

Self-care activities can be sensory, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social. The idea with initiating self-care and integrating it into everyday life is to find out what feels good to you—something that you genuinely enjoy doing, and that fits with your lifestyle and your values.

This exercise involves creating a self-care vision board. A vision board is a visual representation of a particular concept using images, illustrations and/or words. The aim of the exercise is to help you increase self-care and self-compassion in a creative way.

  • You will need: Pen, paper, scissors, pictures, texts, magazines, glue; Use apps, like Bloom ( or Corkulous Pro (; Use Powerpoint or Keynote to build a presentation with images, photos, and text.
  • Exposure to the vision board can serve as a prime or reminder. Therefore, place the vision board in a visible spot (e.g., on the refrigerator or office desk).
  • When creating the vision board, it is important to enjoy the process and work intuitively. Rather than creating the vision board in a rational mode (a lot of thinking and internally debating), it often works best to just go with the flow: select images or texts that feel good or appropriate, without overthinking it. Prioritizing can always be done afterward.

Step 1: Brainstorm self-care activities

Step 2: Collect images for your vision board

Step 3: Collect words for your vision board

Step 4: Put your vision board together

  • After creating your vision board, discuss the vision board with a loved one or your psychologist. Explain what it is? How was it to create this board? What did you experience while making it? What did you learn from this exercise? What kind of goals can be formulated based on your vision board? Which self-care activity would you like to initiate first?
  • The vision board can serve as a reminder for staying on course or as a buffer against relapse.


Emotional Self-Care

  • Learn to say “no.”

  • Intentionally schedule “me time” on your calendar or planner.
  • Reward yourself for completing small tasks.
  • Use online tutorials to learn something new.
  • Develop a relaxing evening ritual.
  • Allow yourself to feel and express all of your feelings (in a safe and appropriate environment).
  • Try some mindful exercises to help bring you into the present moment.
  • Try some adult coloring as a form of anxiety and/or stress release.
  • Remind yourself of the good stuff in life by writing a list of things you’re grateful to have.
  • Take a moment to allow your feelings to be present without judging them.
  • Stop being your harshest critic. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

Physical Self-Care

  • Do some stretching exercises.
  • Take a walk.
  • Drink more water.
  • Exhaust yourself physically. Do whatever helps you feel fatigued.
  • Get a massage.
  • Go out and spend 10 minutes under the sun.
  • Go for a bike ride to nowhere in particular.
  • Go hiking, camping, or backpacking and spend some time in nature.
  • Go to bed early.

Social self-Care

  • Avoid toxic people.
  • Ask for help. Let people know you need some help.
  • Call a trusted friend or family member and talk things out.
  • Choose who you spend your time with today. Spend time with people who are enthusiastic and positive.
  • Intentionally reconnect with someone you’ve lost touch with or have unresolved conflict with.
  • Join a support group for people who are going through what you’re going through
  • Schedule a regular date night with your significant other.
  • Take a road trip with your siblings.

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Make time for meditation in your day.
  • Do a 10-minute body scan technique to check in with each part of your body.
  • Do something nice for someone in secret.
  • Donate money to a charity of your choosing.
  • Help someone in some way.
  • Find an opportunity to use your strengths, the things that energize you, more often.
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