As we do our part to stay home and help flatten the curve of COVID-19, we can take this time to check in with ourselves as part of our daily routine to reduce stress and promote well-being within our households. If we are not at our best mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, how can we expect ourselves to function as we are meant to? A great dip into self care is to simply get into the habit of checking in with yourself. Take note of how you’re really feeling. Take the time to think about you!
“Your mind and body are the only places you live in, despite whatever changes around you,” says Entrepreneur Jordan Madison, creator of Therapy Is My JAM. “Checking in with yourself and assessing your needs helps you to pour into yourself so that you can pour into others. Oftentimes, we check on those around us but neglect ourselves. It’s beneficial because it can improve your mood, your energy, your relationships with others, and your productivity,” said Madison (thethirty.whowhatwear.com).
Many times we put our jobs, school, friends, family, and even pets in front of our own health and well-being. There’s time for all of it, but you absolutely must make time for yourself. According to a mindfulness blog, in one week alone, there are many habits you can practice to gauge your emotional state. For example, you can ask yourself throughout the day how you’re feeling and acknowledge your emotions. Set an alarm on your phone if you need to, to remind yourself to ask how you’re doing today. Try getting in touch with your body and see how you really feel. Be present to the signs that your body is telling you; it is always spot on. We are intuitive beings that have learned to silence our inner voices to simply listen to what our brains tell us. Start listening to your intuition when making decisions in life and see where you end up. And, above all, treating yourself with kindness is the best way to practice wellfullness (peacefulmindpeacefullife.org).
The beauty of this practice is that there are so many ways to do it. You just have to find the right method that works for you. Here are some more ideas to try. Identify triggers and internal cues. Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Frame Sage Grazer, a new mental-health platform providing free resources and therapist-matching technology, said identifying these things can help prompt you to take some time to yourself. “External triggers can be situational or environmental, so knowing what types of situations tend to trigger/activate your emotion gives you the opportunity to check in with yourself before you become distressed,” she explained. “Internal cues are the sensations that you experience inside your own body and can give you insight into what you may be needing, emotionally or physically. For example, hunger is an internal cue that you need food, and tension in your shoulders may be an internal cue that you’re needing some time to relax and take deep, releasing breaths,” said Grazer (thethirty.whowhatwear.com).
“Keeping a personal journal, a daily in-depth analysis and evaluation of your experiences is a high-leverage activity that increases self-awareness and enhances all the endowments and the synergy among them,” says Stephen Covey an American educator and keynote speaker. Journaling has so many mental-health benefits, so it’s not surprising that it’s a way to check in with yourself. “It is almost as powerful as talking to a mental-health professional,” Covey says. “We can let things out, share, and read what we write as a third person. This practice allows us to process and find solutions to some problems,” explains Covey. As part of your morning creative burst, use your journal to review your daily to-do list. Review and hone your life vision and big-picture goals. As you read and re-write your goals daily, they’ll become forged into your subconscious mind. Eventually, your dreams and vision will consume your inner world and may quickly become your physical reality (medium.com).
Meditation is another great way to check in with yourself. Meditation is the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration. People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as like a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline and healthy sleep patterns (mayoclinic.org). “I love meditation. I meditate every morning right when I wake up; it helps me clear out all that emotional baggage from yesterday and allows me to feel fully refreshed to start my day! I recommend that anyone who is looking for a new coping mechanism needs to give meditation a shot,” said Senior Alyson Dominguez.
Okay, you now know how to check in with yourself — now what? It can feel a bit awkward at the beginning since you’re not quite sure what to think about or ask yourself in order to get to the bottom of your thoughts and feelings. You can use some of these questions to help guide you: What do I need at this moment? What’s taking up most of my headspace right now? Do I feel physically and emotionally safe? What am I doing today to feel good? What went well this week? How can I improve? What/when was my last meal? How much sleep did I get last night? Did I move my body today? What are my hobbies? What can I let go of that’s getting in the way of my health and well-being? How would it help me if I contacted a professional who could help me feel better? Answering these questions can help guide you to what you need (thethirty.whowhatwear.com).
Self-care is really up to you. Once you check in with yourself, do whatever you feel you need in the moment. Maybe that’s journaling, yoga, going for a walk, having a good cry, taking a hot shower, or whatever else comes to mind. And, most importantly, if you feel you’re unable to cope with some of these feelings or issues, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Therapy can help us in so many different ways. It is essential to remind ourselves that asking for help is not a weakness but a strength. Ultimately, just remember there’s no right or wrong way to check in. Something that works for one person might not work for another. Just do what makes you happy!