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  • Writer's pictureHolly Mills

SELF CARE IS UGLY: The Bare Minimum List

In my first article about self care, I wrote about how self care is ugly and I hope that this is an idea that more people start to talk about. In this post, I'll be talking about practical idea that I use in my life as part of my ugly self care. It's the Bare Minimum List.

What is a Bare Minimum List?

The Bare Minimum List is a list of around 5 tasks that you need to complete in order to have a good day. Anything on top of that is a bonus. Sometimes our body and mind are moving so quickly we forget to appreciate all the things we actually get done in a day. We neglect to see all the good choices we've made for ourselves.

The tasks on the Bare Minimum List are not big or crazy, most of them will be habit, but they're the tasks that you might struggle with when times get tough and that's okay.

The things on the Bare Minimum List are types of ugly self care. It's the things that you wouldn't necessarily find on someone's Instagram. They're not glamorous but they are necessities. This list should be personal to you as your bad days will look different to mine. That's normal and also okay. But it means you have to individually think about your Bare Minimum List and there isn't just a prescriptive list available.

I find that it's best to think about your Bare Minimum List when you don't need it. Because when the time comes that you need it, you'll be thankful that it exists.

How to make your Bare Minimum List

  1. Create a list of 5 things that you need to do in order to have a good day.

  2. The tasks should be things that you do as a given on a good day, but you might miss on a bad day.

  3. They should be personal to you.

The idea is, if you get the Bare Minimum List done, you've taken care of yourself for that day. That's ugly self care. It's the taking care of yourself when you don't want to take care of yourself.

An example of my Bare Minimum List is:

  1. Get out of bed

  2. Get dressed out of your pyjamas

  3. Leave the house at least once

  4. Eat 2-3 substantial meals

  5. Think at least one positive thing about myself (bonus points if I say it aloud).

As you can see these tasks are not tricky. They're givens for me on a good day. But on a bad day, that's a different story. What I do know, is that if I do all 5 of these tasks, I'll at least feel a little bit better about myself and my day will get better. They give me a focus for the day. Even if this is all I do all day, it's a good day. I still did five things.

Here's a PDF template of a Bare Minimum Checklist if you want to use it. It has 7 spaces to fill out, but please don't feel like you need to fill them all. Alternatively, a piece of paper or the notes in your phone work just fine as well.

Bare minimum checklist template
Download PDF • 79KB

Remember, self care is ugly, pass it on.

This is the second article in my Self Care Is Ugly series.

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