The Self-Care Plan


A self-care to-do list. Last year was a challenging year for me. My mental health hit rock bottom.

By the end of the year, I desperately needed help. I was unsuccessfully looking for a job that I would find joy in. There was a particular day when I struggled to do the basic everyday tasks without breaking down in tears. Surprisingly it is very difficult to find a mental health professional. Luckily, I found one.

I wanted to improve my mental health, and I thought I deserved it. With the help of my husband and an internet search, I started to put together a self-care plan.

It became evident that I had neglected myself for far too long. I no longer recognized my dreams or ambitions. Through therapy and a mindful self-search, I realized that I never put myself first. I didn’t treat myself as my own person. I did not recognize myself as anything more than a wife and a mom. That realization hit hard. I love being a wife and a mom more than anything. But who am I outside of those two wonderful roles? Where am I? Do I even exist?

I was there. I was buried deep under the rubble, and I let myself go uncared for.

I enjoy going out on dates with my husband, and I enjoy doing fun activities with my kids, but other than that, my social life doesn’t exist. Part of my desire to return to work was creating my long-gone social life. But it didn’t really work. I lost my touch. 

So, I had to dig deep when I sat down to write my self-care plan. What am I really passionate about? What would I like to accomplish for myself? What might bring me joy? The answers seemed farfetched. I like unconventional stuff. On the top of my list was archaeology, which I went to school for, and my lifelong passion. But getting back into the field seemed very unlikely. 

Another thing from my younger years that I loved was drumming. I had given it up to create more space in the house to put my kids’ piano or my husband’s treadmill instead. Am I going to start again now? Is it too late? I believe there is no such thing as being too late to do anything you want; at least, that’s what I always tell my kids. So why doesn’t this apply to me?

But, this time felt like a lifeline. I had to do something about it. I felt that it was the right time. I thought, “I will take drumming lessons and set up my drum set. I will create a space for it and myself.”

It worked out! I love going to my lesson every week and practicing new skills. It gave my life a new purpose. I also picked up an old hobby and started knitting again. I enjoy creating new things out of yarn. I’m working on an oversized fuzzy scarf for my younger child. I know it’s not exactly in my plan to do things for others. After all, that’s what I always do anyways. But it brings me joy to still use my time doing something I like.

I also went to meditation circles and started meditating again, something that brought me peace and joy in the past, something that I had missed for years. 

With my self-care plan, my mental health improved immensely once I started doing things for myself regularly. I knew I wasn’t neglecting myself. I was taking care of myself. And it felt so good! No more guilt, no more putting my dreams on the back burner, no matter how big or small they are.

And I might have found my dream job! Still testing the waters.

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Donia is a stay-at-home Egyptian archaeologist who majored in Egyptology. Egyptology had always been her passion since childhood. But family is her biggest passion. She lives in Mount Kisco with her husband Ayman, their daughters Dania (2005) and Mirette (2012), their cats Tiger and Drogo, and their German Shepherd Max. She is also a stepmom to two girls Nada (1991) and Malak (1995). When she is not busy taking care of her big family, she enjoys anything Sci-Fi and fantasy, watching cooking and baking competition shows, playing the drums, playing tennis with her husband, video games, and DIY projects. According to her girls, she particularly enjoys event and travel planning for her family and always goes all-out and prepares too much for an event. She is excited to join Westchester County Mom to share her experience as an expat and mom.