For many, the concept of self-care seems out of reach amidst the overwhelming stress of life, work, school, and relationships. When self-care routines fall short of our expectations or don’t seem to balance the heavy load of stress we carry, it’s natural to feel defeated and even ashamed.

But self-care is necessary if you want to maintain your well-being and navigate life’s challenges with resilience and strength.

I’m Chase Manke, a marriage and family therapist at Cedar Tree Counseling, and in this article, I’ll show you how making a self care menu can help you stay motivated and stay realistic every single day.


Step 1: Start with what you know


What things do you already do that make you feel happy? Rested? At peace? Grounded? Energized? Brain dump ALL of those things onto a blank piece of paper.


Step 2: Organize, but give yourself options!


On a blank piece of paper make three columns: each column represents “how full your cup” is on a given day. At the top of the page, label the first column “full cup”, the second column “half cup”, and the final column “empty cup”. Then, try to list at least five self care activities according to each column.

With a full cup, you can do anything! Maybe you will do a cross fit workout or facetime with a friend. With a half cup, you might be lacking energy or motivation, so you just go for a walk, text a friend or choose to cry it out.

Finally, with an empty cup, you may be struggling to make it through the day, so you listen to music that matches your feelings, you brush your hair or you think of someone you’re grateful to know. Even on an empty cup day, you know there is still something you can do to care for yourself. You can still take a little bite out of your self care menu, no matter how small.

Another way to organize your menu is based on how much time you have available. Instead of three columns, organize self care activities into four boxes. One box lists self care activities that require at least an hour to achieve. Another box lists activities that take 30 mins or less. The third box lists activities that take 15 mins or less and the final box lists self care activities that take less than 5 minutes.

Everyone has 5 minutes to care for themselves each day.


Step 3: Use it!

Keep your self care menu somewhere you can regularly see it — in your journal, at your desk, in your bathroom mirror or on your fridge. Turn to it whenever you feel hungry for self care, but need options that are achievable for you.

If you know you need to care for yourself more, but aren’t sure how, please reach out to us at Cedar Tree and schedule an appointment today.

Chase Manke

Chase Manke

Couples, Adolescents, & Young Adults

When I work with clients, I help them explore their most impactful relationships and provide them with tools to try out new ways of relating that foster confidence, healthy connection with others and self-awareness.

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Cedar Tree's Mission: 

There are a lot of broken families who struggle to do life well together. 

That’s why we help families create an environment where deeper connection & healing can happen.


(630) 937-3027

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(630) 797-9872 Ext. 1

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Geneva, IL 60134

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(630) 797-9872

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