May Maslow Self Care Practice

Hello lovely friends! I hope you all are staying safe and well in quarantine. Here in my house we are doing pretty well. It only took 5ish weeks of quarantine, but I was able to finally get into a pretty OK work from home routine. My husband is not working right now due to Covid-19 so he is helping me take care of the baby more during the day. That being said, I have attended more than a few conference calls on mute while Luca chatters or screams in the background. In fact yesterday I thought I had made it through a whole meeting without Luca having a meltdown and then literally in the last 5 minutes, he started screaming. So I was rocking and bouncing him while playing music and also trying to get the very last info from the call. To be honest, I was about to completely ghost and leave, hoping no one would notice.

One part of my work from home mom routine has been to go to bed early and wake up early. Currently our 6 month old goes to bed at 7 or 7:30pm and sleeps until 5:30am or sometimes 6:45am. We used sleep training since day 1 to achieve this long stretch of sleep and it was THE BEST decision ever. If you want to know more about our sleep training journey let me know. The first weeks of quarantine I would stay up until 11pm or 12am watching movies with my husband but now mama is tired. I like to go to bed at 9:30 or 10pm and set my alarm for 5am. Some mornings I hit snooze and wake up at 5:30 or 6am but I have been trying to stick to the 5am wake up because it gives me some quiet alone time in the morning to plan my day, drink coffee, and just sit in the beautiful silence.

This is the journal I am using to document my self care practice. It’s a bullet journal style I found at Michael’s for about $6 (plus they always have a 40% off coupon)

Two days ago I was sitting there at 5:22am filling in my wellness planner and thinking about my goals for May. The two words that stuck out to me were “self care”. Recently I have been struggling with maintaining a good self care routine. I’m not talking about the long baths while drinking wine kind of self care either. I’m talking about remembering to eat lunch and think about something other than work or baby kind of self care. This prompted me to pull up Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs pyramid.

Who Was Maslow?

Abraham Maslow was an American Psychologist who is most famous for his 1943 academic paper titled, “A Theory of Human Motivation” where he discussed his ideas on what humans need in order to live healthy and fulfilled lives. Maslow structured this pyramid of needs, ranking them in order of importance from bottom to top. As we see the physiological needs like air, water, and food take up the biggest chunk. This is part of homeostasis, meaning the basic things to keep you alive. The next level are things to keep your living body safe. In the middle is belongingness, intimate relationships, and friendship. The second to top is Esteem. This section is where you would find your career or main thing that motivates your life. The top level is one that has been highly debated. Some initially believes this section was for spirituality and transcendence. It has now evolved into Self-Actualization. This section focuses on things that you feel are helping you realize your life’s full potential. This can be where your biggest dreams are but also where side hustles and creative projects live too. Each person’s pyramid sections will be filled with different things based on personal goals and perception of life in general.

Self Care Practice (Challenge)

I have decided to work on my self care this month in a very realistic way. I want to invite anyone who would like, to participate along with me in this more dedicated self care practice this month. I am hesitant to use the word “challenge” for my May Maslow Self Care Practice because I have seen many wellness challenges in which the goals are frankly unattainable. Many challenges assume that we are all on the same level. They act as if pretending that everyone’s playing field is equal will make us feel better. The truth is we are absolutely not all on the same level. We are all dealing with different schedules, obligations, jobs, living situations, etc.

Embrace Where You Are

The very first step in this month’s self care journey is to evaluate where you are currently. Embrace it. Take a look at Maslow’s pyramid and identify which level most relates to what you need most right now in your self care routine. Start at the bottom and ask yourself, “Am I taking care of my physiological needs?” If the answer is no, then start there. You can absolutely work on the other levels during this month, but spend the majority of your efforts in the core need area.

Set Realistic Goals

Give yourself permission right now to not set a single goal that you know is unattainable. You can set a goal that will be challenging but if you know you absolutely do not have the time or resources to achieve the goal, you are setting yourself up for failure. Write down goals for the entire month, goals for each week, and then goals for each day. Remember there is no goal that is too small. When writing out goals make sure they are very specific. Vague goals are much harder to achieve. One of my daily goals is to remember to eat a nourishing lunch each day. I so often get caught up in work and before I know it, it’s 3pm and I haven’t given my body the fuel it needs. I am making my goal more specific by saying that I will each a lunch from the nutrition plan I follow and this will take place between 11:30am and 1pm each day. (Depending on the meetings I have that day)

Create Routines

Looking at the goals you have set, sketch out a daily routine that honors those goals. I highly suggest writing out this routine in a planner or notebook. Writing down your goals in detail is linked to success in completing them. I am using the green notebook pictured above to document this self care practice. You will also want to do the same for your weekly and monthly goals. If possible allot 5-10 minutes every day for documentation and journaling. If you don’t have 5 minutes, then even 2 minutes to jot down bullet points is just fine. The point is to document observations, achievements, ideas, insights, or any emotions related to this self care journey. This will be great to review at the end of the month.

Identify Barriers

We all have obstacles that can keep us from doing the things we need/want to do. Take some time to think about and document these barriers. It may be impossible to eliminate the barriers completely but think about ways you can work with or around them. Or, maybe this month you will just be acknowledging these barriers and the role they play in your everyday life.

Some of My Goals

In case it might be helpful to jumpstart your goal brainstorming, I’ll share some of the things I want to work on during this month.

  1. Create a more structured morning and evening routine
  2. Eat a nourishing lunch each day to fuel my brain for work
  3. Move my body every day in some way. (This could even be sneaking in some squats while baby naps)
  4. Drink 1 Gallon of water per day. I’m still breastfeeding so I need a lot of water.
  5. Remember my vitamins. I was doing so good about remembering them and then it just started to slip my mind so I need to get back on track.
  6. Read 1 book this month
  7. Set aside dedicated time for my husband and I each week
  8. Write weekly blog posts

Those are just a few and I’ll share more with you throughout this month. Many of my goals are in the Physiological level of the pyramid but I do have some for Love and Belongingness, Esteem, and Self- Actualization. Given the current health crisis I am (and we all should be) also focusing on the Safety level as well.

I am excited for the month ahead and I’m ready to be more dedicated to my self care. I owe it to myself, my body, and my mental health. I also owe it to my husband, son, friends, and family. If you want join me in the self care practice this month let me know! Connect with my on Instagram @courtney.val or via email at We can support each other. I hope this month brings you much health and happiness!

Be well.

FREE Printables:

Check out my other post where I give some free downloadable planning printables to help with your self care routine.

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