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Exploring Who You Are and What You Need

It’s vital to regularly to check in with ourselves. Because this is how we discover our needs and act on our dreams. This is how we’re able to care well for ourselves.

Self-reflection is also how we become better friends to ourselves, writes artist and author Lisa Currie in her powerful new illustrated journal, Notes to Self: A Journal for Self-CareIn it, she features a variety of insightful, nourishing prompts. I basically love all of them, but here’s a selection of favorites that I hope are helpful to you:

  • The parts of myself I want to protect and hold on to ….
  • The parts of myself I’m trying to nurture and grow ….
  • From Monday to Sunday, use the weather to describe your mood. Maybe sunshine represents cheerful and playful. Maybe a rain cloud represents sad and disappointed. Maybe wind represents distracted and bored. Maybe a rainbow represents hopeful and proud.
  • Lately, in what ways have I been making my life more complicated or difficult than it needs to be?
  • What can I do to make things a bit easier or simpler for myself this week?
  • What are the safe spaces I’ve found in my life? Where do I feel welcomed and accepted and find respite? Or what kind of safe space could I create for myself and invite others in to? What might that look like?
  • The activities/interactions that tend to drain me emotionally or mentally (even if I’ve had a nice time) ….
  • The activities/interactions that tend to fill me up—that energize me ….
  • If my body wants to sweat, I can do ….
  • If my body wants to stretch ….
  • If my body wants to relax ….
  • If my body wants to play ….
  • Moments when my body feels calm and free ….
  • Moments when my body feels capable and strong ….
  • What could I do today that future me will be thankful for?
  • Create an archive of soothing sounds.
  • When the sea of daily life feels rough and chaotic, what can I do to ride it out? In the past, what have I found to be most helpful or essential for keeping myself afloat?

Use these prompts to practice compassionate self-care, to name your needs, to better understand yourself, to honor who you are. Return to them regularly because your needs will change, and you will change.

As always, give yourself permission to write whatever arises, even if it doesn’t initially make sense, even if doesn’t seem like “you.” You can set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, and jot down the first thing that comes to mind. You can then give yourself more time to really think through the prompts.

You can make checking in with yourself part of your evening routine as you wind down, or part of your morning as you take your first sip of coffee. Or you can make it an essential part of your Sunday: brunch with a bit of self-reflection.

The key is to make it work for you and your life (like anything and everything). And the key is to then act on what you discover. To carve out the time to stretch your body, to play, or to work up a sweat. To prioritize processing your feelings and surrounding yourself with supportive people. To engage in activities that energize and rejuvenate you. To seek out safe, serene spaces that soothe and inspire you. To care for yourself in ways that are meaningful, compassionate, and fulfilling.

Yes, this is what you deserve.

Photo by Claudio Trigueros on Unsplash.

Exploring Who You Are and What You Need

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2019). Exploring Who You Are and What You Need. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Aug 2019
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