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Leaving a relationship in which you have been abused and going through the family court system are both very stressful.

Self-care during this time of your life is important and can have a positive impact on your healing process and energy as you move forward.
cup of hot cocoa with marshmallow

Create a self-care plan

Here are some tools to walk you through the process of developing your own self-care plan. This is a long-term plan for reducing your stress and honouring your mind, body and spirit.

What self-care strategies are you already following, want to try or have decided may not be for you?

You can use the list below as a guide to develop your self-care plan.

Self-care checklist

Emotional / Spiritual

Find ways to praise myself every day. Ask for help when I need it.

Build time for self-reflection into my day, even if it is just five minutes.

Let myself cry.

Find a reason to smile or laugh every day.

Make sure to have some quiet time every day.

Listen to the kind thoughts I tell myself and believe what I hear.

Be creative – draw, paint, write or cook.

Spend time in nature.

Explore my spirituality.

Read inspirational books.


Go for a walk.

Go to the gym or join a fitness group  (e.g., walking or running club or class at the gym).

Go dancing.

Take a bath.

Get a massage

Eat three meals a day.

Avoid over- or under-eating as a coping mechanism.

Focus on healthy foods.

Cook meals for my family as much as possible.

Limit the habits that do not make me feel good over  the long term (e.g., alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, certain foods).

Set a regular time to go to bed and to get up.

Engage in calming activities at bedtime (self-reflection, non-caffeinated beverage, reading, meditation, stretching).

Sleep in my own bed (as opposed to falling asleep  on the couch while watching TV).

Turn screens off half an hour before bedtime.

Take time to breathe deeply and calm my body when I am overwhelmed.

Use a stone, a picture or another small object to focus on or hold when I am overwhelmed.


Make new friends with people who value me for who I am and who make me feel good about who I am.

Build a small group of friends with whom I feel safe sharing my story.

Know how to say no and set boundaries.

Find new interests that let me meet new people.

Do something every week that I feel passionate about and that brings me joy.

Volunteer or join a cause.


Set up my own bank account at a different financial institution from where my ex-partner banks.

Get a credit card in my name only.

Establish a budget for my family’s regular expenses.

Put money every week/month into a “treat” fund, even if it is only a few dollars at a time.

Workplace / Work at home

Find purpose and meaning in my work.

Maintain work-life balance.

Have positive relationships with co-workers.

Use boundaries to protect myself.


Understand that grieving is a healthy part of the journey I am on.

Give myself permission to feel angry.

Get professional help when I need it.

Build balance into my life.

Actively work to reduce stress in my life.

Learn about woman abuse and how to heal.

Attend counselling or a women’s group  to help with my healing.

Focus on what I am grateful for.

Write in a journal.

When the children are with their father

Book extra shifts at work.

Take the time to visit my family.

Invite friends over.

Cook a complicated meal.

Cook meals ahead and put them in the freezer.

Go to the movies, with friends or alone.

Visit out-of-town friends.

Clean out some closets.

Organize all my old photos.

Spend a whole day reading a book.

Do something I have always wanted to do.

When I have a court date

Find a quiet space to breathe.

Find a something to focus on to help me tune out negativity (a picture, a nice pair of shoes, a stone, etc.).

Access support (counselling, friends, family).

Plan some self-care activities when court is over.

See what your self-care plan could look like