A significant part of self-care is cultivating self-awareness. It is getting to know ourselves. It is knowing how we’re doing and how we’re feeling. It is pausing and listening to our bodies, hearts and souls. It is checking in regularly.
After all, in order to meet our needs, we have to first identify them.
A powerful, effective way to check in with ourselves is to journal. For instance, you might simply ask yourself: How am I feeling? What’s been on my mind lately? What am I yearning for? What am I missing right now or from my days?
Another helpful option is to respond to different prompts. Artist Mia Nolting includes a variety of thoughtful, supportive prompts in her new journal Instant Journal: Chart Your Life One Week at a Time.
Below are 20 of my favorites:
- Something that surprised me
- Someone I need to practice boundaries with
- Something I’m obsessing over
- A list of admirable qualities I’m currently cultivating or already have
- Something I’m worried about and how I’m fixing it
- Something or someone I find totally exhausting
- What happened today, in 5 words
- A list of things I’ve deprived myself of for no good reason
- The best sensory experience I had all week
- How connected do I feel to my body?
- The first thing I remember noticing this morning
- Something I’m confused about
- A time I was completely content
- Something I do when I’m angry that I wish I didn’t do
- Something I read that has stuck with me
- Something I’m looking forward to
- Something I feel optimistic about
- How much of my days are taken up by things I enjoy doing?
- A thought that has been consuming most of the week
- Something I did that I didn’t think I could do
Figure out your own favorite prompts, and reflect on them in your journal. You might do this every night or every week or every month. Make this into a small but sweet ritual, where you light a candle, play some music, meditate for several minutes and reconnect to yourself. Make it into a ritual you look forward to, a ritual that soothes, uplifts, supports and inspires you. Be intentional about what you include.
In fact, being intentional is the foundation of a self-care practice. So consider what you really need. Consider what you really want this ritual (and any other rituals) to look like. Use your senses to dictate the practices you turn to: What do you want to smell, see, touch, taste and feel?
And consider asking your loved ones to respond to your favorite prompts the next time you are together— which will certainly help you get to know them on a deeper, more meaningful level. Which, of course, is another significant part of self-care: connecting with the special people in our lives.