Change is created out of “optimal” anxiety. The purpose of this simple self-care inventory is to do just that — stimulate anxiety, but without immobilizing you. This is not an inventory that assesses every area of your life or who you are as a person. It is a simple inventory that will help you identify your current level of self-care in six key areas. It is meant to help you see any disparity between where you are and where you want to be in relation to self-care. It will help you focus on your needs and identify areas where change is called for.
The state of your self-care system varies at different times in your life. Sometimes you need to get lost in the forest in order to find a new path. Here are a few pointers to help you get the most from the inventory.
- Being honest with yourself is not easy, but to make changes in your life you need a clear inventory of where you are today. In some respects, this inventory will test how rigorously honest you are with yourself. We all lie to ourselves in one way or another as a way to survive. The more rigorously self-honest you are in answering these questions, the more you will gain from the experience. You don’t need to “look good” or impress anyone. There is no requirement to share your scores with anyone. It’s for you only.
- You may find yourself in conflict or getting anxious as you answer the questions. Remember that anxiety drives the engine of change. Respect the anxiety, and know there are no “right” answers or perfect scores (if you score high in every category maybe it means you need to lighten up and be less obsessive compulsive!) Hopefully the anxiety will inspire you to put yourself in the driver’s seat of change.
- Many people say they would answer many of the questions differently, depending on whether it is in relation to their work or in their personal life. If you feel there would be a big difference, you may want to take the test twice — once in the context of your work and once in the context of your personal life. This is okay, but if you see a large disparity between these two, there is an opportunity to reflect on what that means.
- Some of these questions will bring confusion and anxiety. Just as there are no perfect answers, this is not a perfect test. Even if it’s not clear, do the best you can.
- As you go through this inventory, you may see many areas in your current self-care system that could use a change. Rather than overhauling too much right now, focus on one or two areas that could use work in the next six to twelve months. Remember, it is better to be successful at one small change, than failing at trying to overhaul too many things!
- If you don’t know the answers to any of the questions below, count your score a zero on that point.
Questions 1-5: Physical health
This is where you examine the physical aspects of your life — how you are nurturing your body and taking care of your health.
Questions 6-10: Mental wellbeing
This area examines how your mind is supporting your self-care system, and some of the choices you make for having a strong mental attitude and firm mind in your life and work.
Questions 11-15: Managing demands and personal agency
This area deals with how you clarify the most important areas in your life that need attention, and how you manage the demands from others.
Questions 16-20: Spiritual health and inner wellbeing
Spiritual wellbeing is about tapping into a power beyond ourselves to give guidance, support, and clarity on the self-care journey. Spiritual health is about finding inner peace, independent of the roles, successes, and failures of life.
Questions 21-25: Supportive relationships
This area examines the quality of supportive relationships in your life, people that support you and hold you accountable to take care of yourself, and help guide you to your own truth.
Questions 26-30: Meaning
This area speaks to the level of satisfaction and fulfillment you are getting from your life and your work right now that makes the caring in your life meaningful.