Too often, we get so busy and caught up in ‘doing life’ that we forget to practice a little self-care and look after our most important relationship – the one with ourselves! That’s especially true now in the midst of the novel coronavirus. Now more than ever, maintaining our mental health is important. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Or as the airlines tell us, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help someone else. You get it.
The benefits of checking in with you
The action of checking in with yourself can in fact have tremendous health benefits – and it’s not just hearsay. One review of studies published by the NIH found that regular self-check ins and other mental health activities like meditation resulted in several favorable psychological effects. These included fewer mood swings, better control over emotions, and an improved sense of well-being. A self care routine that includes a check-in with yourself is really all about becoming more aware and able to recognize triggers and warning signs before things potentially start to go south. Not so sure what checking in on yourself even looks like?
How to check in with yourself
Conducting a check-in with yourself is as simple as taking a short moment or two to be mindful, paying attention to the present moment ,and recognizing how and what you’re feeling. It doesn’t have to be anything too methodical. The goal of check-in questions is to allow your emotions to inform you – not overwhelm you.
They may tell you that you’re anxious or unfulfilled, or they may tell you that you’re simply A-OK. You won’t know unless you ask. It’s recommended to try and carve out time for a daily check in with yourself. Perhaps this happens before you get out of bed or maybe it’s right before you turn the lights out each night. Regardless of when you do it, here are some actionable ways to incorporate check-ins into your self care routine:
Take a deep breath
It’s going to be impossible to have a successful emotional check-in if you can’t relax and turn off your (probably) racing thoughts. Easier said than done, we know.
Try your best by taking several slow, deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This can help to ease your mind and reduce distractions, making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
Tune into your body
Understand that your body is always communicating. It often sends physical cues about how you’re feeling long before your emotions begin to actually register.
So, when checking in with you, don’t ignore that nagging headache, increased irritability, or the sweaty palms you’ve suddenly started experiencing. There’s something for you to learn from it, and it’s probably one of the easiest ways to catch that something may be “off”.
Ask check-in questions
Don’t be shy. Ask yourself lots of questions – even the hard ones. “Self-compassion involves self-kindness and self-awareness. This means recognizing and accepting negative feelings as well as positive ones,” says Kristin Neff, Ph.D.
A place to start with check-in questions is to keep them simple but try and be specific to ensure you get deep enough for some real insight. It might even be helpful to ask them out loud to physically direct your own attention. While something like this may feel silly, it’s about figuring out how you can effectively connect with yourself.
Here are a few check-in questions to consider asking:
Do I feel physically well?
Am I feeling anxious, stressed or worried? If so, about what?
Do I feel loved and appreciated?
Do I feel like I’m growing? If so, in what ways?
What am I grateful for?
Who do I need to forgive?
How can I be more kind to myself?
Practice self care and be kind to yourself
It can be tough to do all of this and possibly acknowledge difficult emotions. However, the importance of self care can’t be overlooked. And, again, checking in is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.
Conducting a check-in with you may take some effort and practice at first, but just embrace the awkwardness and discomfort that may arise. You’ll grow from it.
Resources for a check-in with yourself
If you need a little help with reminding yourself to do these daily check ins as a part of your self care routine, consider setting an alarm on your phone or downloading one of these really awesome apps. If you want to learn more about the importance of self care, give this Ted Talk a listen or pick up one of these books for a quick read.
We’d also like to note here that taking care of your body through diet and exercise is a great way to not only boost physical health but mental health as well. Consider adding Dose wellness shots to your regimen to incorporate lots of nutrient dense superfoods and powerful adaptogens. Dose shots are based on function not fad and they contain potent, always-organic ingredients like Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Dandelion, Milk Thistle, and more. Convenient and tasty, they make for an easy way to show yourself some love. Incorporate one of these into your self care routine and let it serve as the perfect complement to that emotional check in!