The Self-Care Check-In:
Welcome to the first installment of my Self-Care Sunday check-in series in which I provide questions to help you understand your self-care needs. It’s so important to set aside time and assess your needs so you can live to thrive another day!
Why do a self-care check-in?
Being the heroine of your story can be tiring work (by the way, you’re doing amazing sweetie!). Every once in a while, you need to do an “all systems check” to keep yourself in thriving shape. Life can get really busy and the responsibilities can feel like they weigh a ton on your shoulders. The world will not fall apart if you hang up your cape and tend to yourself. I promise.
That said, I’m proud to introduce you to the next weapon in your self-care arsenal! These self-care check-in questions are designed (from personal experience) to identify potential pain points early on. Fair warning, we’re about to get real and to make the most of this questionnaire, you’re going to have to be very honest with yourself. You don’t have to address every question on this list right away but it’s helpful to know where you stand. Some changes are simple to address and will only require a small change to your daily routine. Others are a little deeper and could take some extra work. Try to use this guide to identify and meet your immediate needs.
First, we’ll start with the most obvious but most often neglected, physical self-care check-in. You only get one body in this lifetime, so caring for it has to be high on the priority list. We often neglect ourselves and put our poor bodies through the wringer for the sake of productivity. If you’re feeling especially physically tired or ill ask yourself these self-care questions:
- Have you consistently slept at least 6-8 hours in the last two weeks? If so, was it good sleep?
- Do you feel tension, aches, or pains in your body from stress?
- Have you been drinking at least a liter of water per day?
- Have you taken the necessary vitamins or prescription regularly?
- When was the last time you ate a serving of fruits and vegetables?
- Have you recently eaten an excess of fast food?
- Have you been able to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight?
- Have you been regularly clean and hygienic?
This one can be triggering but it’s very necessary. So much of our time is spent on autopilot trying to finish our never-ending to-do list. For some (myself included) this can serve as a defense mechanism against things we’re not ready to address. It’s important to remember that nothing good ever came out of ignoring pain or discomfort. If you feel emotionally tired, angry, hurt, or especially sensitive/ triggered, ask yourself:
- Have you thought a lot about the things you do not have or cannot control?
- Have you been anxious due to past decisions, mistakes, or regrets?
- Have you had a personal experience or trauma re-emerge?
- Is there a recent experience that was emotionally significant?
- Have you compared yourself to your peers?
- Have you been fighting intrusive thoughts?
- When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably?
- Has there been a recent change that has caused you discomfort or stress?
Next, we’ll check in on your inner circle. Though we’re naturally social creatures, not everyone needs the same amount of interaction to get their fill. I, personally, need a lot of alone time to feel fulfilled. Being around people for long periods of time makes me anxious and my social battery only has so much charge. Someone more extroverted may feel deprived if they don’t interact with other people for a long period of time. If you feel lonely/disconnected or irritated/ overstimulated, ask yourself:
- Have you spent any quality time with another person, be it in person or virtually?
- Have you spent longer than average on social media sites? How has it made you feel?
- Have you been overwhelmed with tasks important to other people?
- Have you experienced tension with a friend or family member?
- Have you felt you’ve had too much or too little social time?
- Have you had enough time to yourself?
Now we’ll do a quick spiritual check-in. Feeling connected to something bigger than yourself can help you feel purposeful in your daily life. If you experience long stretches of time where you’re just going through the motions with no clear reason, it can start to get old and ultimately land you in a funk. If you feel spiritually drained or if you find yourself wondering a lot about your purpose, ask yourself:
- Have you taken the time to pray, worship, or meditate?
- Have you felt that time is passing you by very quickly?
- In the last two weeks, have you felt present and in the moment?
- Have you been able to practice gratitude?
- Have you been able to be optimistic or say positive affirmations?
- Have you poured positivity into someone else?
Moving right along, we’ll go over your creative self-care. If self-care is our shield, then creativity is the sword we use to slay the dragons. Self-expression can be rewarding and soothing and if we don’t get time to wind down and do something we enjoy, it can feel like all we ever do is work. If you’re feeling like you need something to make you smile or if you’ve had all work and no play, ask yourself:
- Have you had enough “Me Time” to focus on hobbies and things you like?
- Have you been able to express yourself creatively?
- Have you made time to do something that brings you joy?
- Have you felt bored or like you need to shake things up?
- Have you been properly stimulated and challenged?
- Have you used any of your natural talents or skills?
- Have you made any new goals or decided on a direction for your life?
- Have you felt discouraged or unmotivated by current goals?
Of course, we can’t neglect the importance of a clean space. I’ve always been the “my room’s a mess but I know where everything is” type, but since I’ve moved into my own space, I really value a clean and organized space. Having a neat space makes it easier to think and makes me feel safe. If you’re feeling discomfort in your haven, ask yourself:
- Does your space feel cluttered or disorganized?
- Does your space feel crowded?
- Is your space sanitary?
- Does your space contain things that make you feel happy and motivated?
- Does your space feel safe and comfortable?
- Does your home feel like it’s your own?
Next, we’ll tackle the dreaded topic of finance! You can’t always control your financial situation but you can control how you react to it. Learning to manage this part of your life can help you reduce stress and anxiety, especially if you can pinpoint the reason for your uneasiness. This will allow you to take small steps toward relief. If you’re feeling especially worried, ask yourself:
- Have you felt overwhelmed with bills and responsibilities?
- Have you felt anxiety over your financial stability?
- Have you felt frustrated about not being able to splurge on yourself?
- Have you felt guilty about splurging too much?
- Have you been able to put yourself at ease with a strong budget?
- Do you feel that you put too much value on monetary things?
- What will cost you nothing but make you smile?
Finally, we’ll check in on your professional wellbeing. It’s tempting to fall into workaholism and forget ourselves for the sake of productivity. Our work lives are such a huge part of our daily routines and we often don’t think about how they affect us. So it’s important to check in every once in a while and ask yourself:
- Have you worked an excess amount of hours?
- Have you felt overwhelmed or pressure because you’ve taken on more responsibilities in your current role?
- Are you experiencing anxiety about your job performance or a promotion?
- Have you been fearful of job instability?
- Have you been able to take time off when you need to?
- Have you had to deal with conflict or discomfort at your job?
- Is your workspace distraction-free and organized? Is it sanitary and personalized?
- Is your inbox cleared and up to date?
The next time you feel overwhelmed, moody, anxious, or stressed I encourage you to do a self-care check-in. Remember, your needs are important and you deserve to prioritize your needs. I hope this was helpful! If so, share it with a friend! And for more self-care tips, be sure to check out my other posts!