Checking In On Yourself

”If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

Confucius

I’ve been focusing in on the importance of self-care and self-awareness lately, and one of the essential components of it is to know what you need and when you need it.

And it can be as complex as an elaborate checklist detailing all your physical and emotional parts (think something like a vehicle inspection), or it could be as simple as asking yourself “how is your heart?

As usual, I am writing this post as much for myself as I am writing it for you. I feel like our home and possessions are out of balance these days, so I need to take a moment to evaluate the root cause of that (I’m guessing that it’s overwhelming busyness).

Let’s take a look at what a middle-of-the-road self check-in might look like.

Check In On Yourself

Give yourself space

Commutes and random time spent waiting at a coffee shop for a friend are good times to do a quick alignment check, but to really dive in you should give yourself the time and space you need.

Grab a notebook (even if you don’t use it – am I the only one who thinks better when I have a notebook nearby?) and a beverage and set up camp in a comfortable space. Allow yourself the pleasure of an uninterrupted span of time (I’m going to go with 30 minutes).

A 3-point check up

You might want to add more or only focus on one of these at a time, but here’s a good place to start.

Emotional

This is where you ask yourself about the state of your heart. Are you feeling full and whole? Do you feel balanced, or are there things nagging at your gut that you haven’t fully addressed? Get in the habit of digging deeper to find what is truly at the heart of the matter.

Here is also the place to ask yourself about your relationships – with yourself and with others. Are you connecting in the way that you want to? Do you need another friend to fill a space you currently are missing, or do you need to say goodbye to someone who is detracting from your happiness?

Physical

This is the one I’ve been focusing on lately. It’s a different way of approaching your gut!

Is the beautiful machine that is your body functioning as it should? Are you aching or stiff from sitting all day? Are you pushing yourself too hard?

Many of us are too tough on our bodies, so approach this check-in with a lot of love and kindness for yourself. Don’t make it an opportunity for harsh self-criticism, focus on positive ways you can serve that already miraculous body of yours so it can serve you back.

Mental

Allowing yourself to stagnate is easy once you’re out of the structure of a school. Here is where you ask yourself what you’ve learned lately. What are you excited about learning? Do you currently have projects that you are passionate about and motivated to work on?

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

Henry Ford

Now is also the time to ask yourself about your current goals. What is guiding you right now? Is it a solid guiding principal or is it a vague direction? Whatever your answer to that question should be followed up with this: is that how I want it to be?

Ask yourself why

After each check-in, ask yourself why you feel that way. Filtering your grievances through a few layers of “whys” will help you discover the values behind them. Maybe the real reason your are frustrated with clutter in your home is that you don’t find your space inspiring.

From there, evaluate if there’s a way to address the issue. Search for other spaces that you feel are more inspiring, or seek out ways to create a truly inspiring home from what you already have.

This is the most important part – if you’ve had headaches lately, don’t just stop at that. Find out if it’s caffeine or sugar or stress and then actively seek answers.

A quick gratitude warm-down

Warm downs are important when you’re exercising, and I don’t see this as any different. Bring yourself back from the check-in by listing five things you are grateful for right now.

Just like with each check-in, ask yourself why you are grateful for these things. Reflecting on what you are grateful for (and, in my opinion, why you are) makes for a happy brain.

Simple living and intentional living are one and the same: you can’t have a simple life without knowing yourself and knowing the intentions that drive you.

So what do you need to check in on today?

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Practicing Gratitude Even When Times are Tough

The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them. -Unknown

To all of my friends, coworkers, acquaintances who are going through a rough time: it does, undoubtedly, get better. Although it seems counter-intuitive, now more than ever you should seek to be grateful for something.

Be grateful for your loved ones, your pets, your health, whatever it takes–and you’ll make it through. I think that focusing on moving forward is the best thing you can possibly do. Don’t dwell. I had a massive reality check a couple of months ago:

Rory and Niels

Rorschach and Niels (the black bunny), who is now almost 100% recovered

I was sitting in the waiting room at the vet, preparing to hear the news about Niels, my little mini lop bunny. He’d been having trouble walking for a few weeks, and a few hours after I dropped him off at the vet, they called and gave me a quick update: my sweet, precious, fluffy, beautiful boy had a broken back. I was devastated, and unprepared to say goodbye.

As I waited to see him, a woman came in to drop off her dogs to be boarded for the week. She explained to the receptionist (who knew her and her dogs well) that she was in a hurry to catch a plane. The woman said a tearful goodbye to her dogs, who clearly meant the world to her. She turned to the receptionist and said:

“I have to go to Florida to say goodbye to my dad. We’re taking him off life support this weekend. He’s dying.”

I was crushed. Here I was worried about a small rabbit. I begin to think about how irreplaceable my father is. I took a few deep breaths and told my boyfriend, it could be worse. My human family is alive and well.

When times are tough, it may be hard to focus on the positives. But find one thing, anything that will help you keep your head held high.

*As a note, Niels was prescribed rest since his spinal cord was not harmed. Now, a little over two months later, he is hopping and playing almost at his normal capacity. I couldn’t be more proud of my little miracle bunny.