It’s safe to say that today most of us are craving simplicity in our lives. We yearn for ease and comfort in a world that feels like the complete opposite.
Recently, I’ve been sharing simple ways we can practice self-care. Because even when everything feels shaky and shocking, we can still meet our needs. And, of course, this is when we need self-care the most.
One simple way we can practice self-care is to check in with ourselves throughout the day. For example, set an alarm for every hour or few hours, and do a 1-minute check-in when it dings. That’s it.
Start by closing your eyes and putting your hands over your heart. Then ask yourself these three questions:
- How am I doing?
- How is my body feeling?
- What thoughts are running through my head?
Asking ourselves these questions is critical because so often we have no clue what’s going on inside our own brain or body.
We don’t realize the cruel or anxious commentary that’s dictating our actions. I should be more productive! I should be learning something new right now. I should be using that exercise bike. I should be taking more walks! I’m so lazy. This isn’t a vacation. I need to tackle those projects. What if the shelter-in-place order lasts 2 more months?! What will life even look like in the fall?
We snap at our kids. We’re constantly on edge. We wake up annoyed. We walk around feeling disconnected and confused.
We know we’re in a crummy mood. But we can’t pinpoint what’s really going on. And part of that is because we simply haven’t looked and listened. Which is understandable, because there is A LOT going on right now.
But, again, even a single minute can help you to feel connected to yourself.
You can even dedicate a small notebook (or the notes app in your phone) to jotting down your responses. Over time, you might spot patterns and triggers: Maybe you feel the same way during a certain part of the day; maybe you feel the same way after a Zoom meeting with your supervisor.
Doing regular check-ins helps you to act in more intentional, more positive ways. It’s also the starting point in meeting your needs.
Once you know your nerves are frayed, you can seek calm—or at least communicate to your family that you need some space or why you’ve been short.
Once you know you have tension in your neck and hands, you can focus on easing it.
Once you know the evenings feel especially overwhelming, you can focus on small ways to reduce your stress: Play classical music, make simpler meals, let your kids watch a movie.
Of course, it’s not always so straightforward. Sometimes, your feelings are complicated. There are layers of grief, loss, heartbreak, and loneliness. But we can at least open the door to these feelings and start peeling back a layer or two. We can at least say, “Hmm, there’s a lot here,” and make a virtual appointment with a therapist.
If you have kids, you can also teach them to practice this quick check-in throughout the day (tailoring it, so it’s age appropriate).
When life feels complicated, caring for ourselves can, too. So distill self-care into its smallest and barest form by getting quiet and asking: How are you right now?