It’s not every day that you have ample time to reflect on and check in with yourself. Between work, relationships and everything else that fills your daily agenda, personal time tends to be the first to go when your hours are precious.
On that note, it’s important to remember that your hours are precious, and that you should make time to check in with yourself every day. Over time, the effort will be less and less conscious and more something that you instinctively do. For now, the following five tips will help you to incorporate check-ins into your daily routine. No need to carve hours out of your schedule, either — you’ll see how far a simple, small effort to check in with yourself can go.
If you consider yourself to be highly stressed or time-pressed, this tip applies to you. Set an alarm on your phone or work computer that will remind you at least once a day to ask yourself, “How am I?” Simply knowing how you’re feeling when you’re feeling it is a great way to get in touch with yourself and, if necessary, do what you must to improve your mood and outlook.
By scheduling these regular check-ins, you’ll get into the rhythm of doing so regularly. Once the habit takes hold, you can probably turn off the alarm and let habit take over — instinct will tell you when you need to check in (more on that later).
Shooting out of bed in the morning might feel like a productive start, but it’s not a mindful one. Instead, start spending an extra 10 minutes in bed each morning. During this time, you can reflect on how you’re feeling, what you hope to accomplish during the day, what isn’t quite as pressing, etc. You could even grab for a journal and jot down your thoughts to relieve any stress that comes with your reflection on the upcoming day.
You can find time for a mental check-in while participating in physical pursuits. The first activity that probably comes to mind is yoga, and it’s true that the practice will inspire you to look inside of yourself throughout every session. Aside from the check-ins with your physical self — Can I go deeper into this stretch? Am I ready to try a harder iteration of this pose — you’ll have plenty of opportunities to check in mentally, too.
In fact, there are five personal practices written into the code of yoga, and the fourth code, Niyamas, deals with self-reflection. This yoga foundation implores practitioners to go within themselves, their feelings, their spiritual sides. There’s no right or wrong way to self-reflect, so long as you’re doing it, according to the code.
Of course, yoga isn’t the only way to physically check in with yourself. You could also try walks or runs, swimming, even biking solo — so long as you’re by yourself and free to think without headphones blaring, you’ll be doing more than just molding your body.
There’s no place like a coffee house if you want to provoke deep thoughts or personal productivity. Both of which come in handy if you need time to check in with yourself. Give yourself a half-hour or more to really enjoy the warm beverage of your choice while you simply sit back and think about yourself and your feelings. And, coffee is good for your brain, too, so regular cafe dates will only do you good.
Perhaps the most important reminder when it comes to checking in with yourself is to acknowledge your feelings and accept the fact that you need a breather. In today’s busy, go-go-go mindset, it seems difficult to take a step back and spend some time simply thinking, relaxing or reflecting.
To that end, you should also make a point to always trust your instinct, whether you’re deciding that it’s time for a personal check-in or deciding what to do with your life. In both situations, your gut will tell you what’s right and what you need to do. And, when it comes to self check-ins, there’s nothing better than walking away knowing that you’ve really listened to yourself.