Like most mothers, my life is full and busy with family and work, and often there’s little time left for me at the end of the day. But the one thing I make time for at least once a day is to check in with myself. I’ve learned that to feel my best mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I need to be in the habit of checking in with myself—which means that I need to think about myself for a few minutes every day. Here’s why.
The Benefits of Self Check-Ins
Self check-ins are really just a way of practicing mindfulness. And the benefits of doing a self check-in are too numerous to discount. There’s a lot of scientific evidence that mindfulness has some huge advantages:
- Lowers depression and stress
- A greater sense of well-being
- Less dramatic moods swings
- Improved self-esteem
- A feeling of better physical health
Perhaps the most important of these benefits for me is boosting my overall well-being. When I take those few minutes each day to check in with what I’m feeling and thinking, I start to feel better about my day. I’m able to feel more engaged in what’s going on around me rather than sinking into my thoughts and feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Check-ins give me the platform to put things into perspective and recognize the different areas of my life, so I can put them into manageable chunks that make sense.
Four Ways To Do A Daily Check-In
The best way of practicing mindfulness and checking in with yourself is different for everyone. And there is no right or wrong way. Do what feels right for you.
One of the most effective ways for me to check in with myself is through journaling. I like the process of putting pen to paper and writing down my questions and answers. I’m able to set goals and focus clearly on my inner self. The whole point is to tap into my feelings and use writing as part of the cathartic process. Here is a great printable page I’ve been using to tape into my usual journal.
Being quiet and still for even one or two minutes is another way to check in with yourself. You can do this almost anywhere—in the shower, stopped at a red light, or at your desk at work. On days when I feel the stress rising up, I add this check-in to my day. You can think of it as your mini check-in that lets you zone in just so you can be gentle and kind to yourself before carrying on with the rest of the day.
When I have a bit more time and my husband can get up with the kids, a good way to start my day is by meditating. I focus on my breathing and reflect on the coming day. What am I thankful for? What makes me happy? What do I love about myself? These are all questions that make me connect with my inner self and start the day off on a positive note.
Taking a Walk
Check-ins can be done when taking a walk. This is the perfect time to get exercise while thinking about some deeper questions. What am I scared of that’s holding me back? Is there any negativity in my life that I can get rid of?
When To Check In
When I first started making a mental note to check in with myself, I often forgot, letting days go by before I remembered that I wanted to make this a daily practice. A good way to make self-care a routine part of the day is by putting it into your daily planner or setting an alarm on your phone. Carve out a time that works best for you, maybe first thing in the morning before you start your day or on your break at work. For me, the ideal time is just before I go to bed. I sit quietly without the distraction of my phone or the television and go through my checklist of questions.
Questions for Self-Discovery and Mindfulness
Most of the thoughts and questions that I use to check in with myself aren’t big or life-changing. They’re questions that make me think and reflect for a few minutes about my life and what I can do to feel happier and more fulfilled. It’s my way of touching base with my inner self, allowing myself to be open and honest about some of the things I’m thinking and feeling.
These are some of my questions that you can use as a starting point for your own self check-in:
- What inspires me?
- Am I making enough time to be social with friends?
- What new things do I want to try?
- What am I feeling frustrated about?
- Can I be kinder to myself and my loved ones?
- How am I feeling about my relationship with my partner?
- Do I need more from my partner?
- What is making me feel stressed at work?
I don’t always have time to go through all the questions, but that’s okay. And my questions change with what’s going on in my life and the things I know I should be focusing on. There are no rules to self check-ins. They’re simply a starting point to connect and be mindful of your life.
QUESTION: What questions will you include in your self check-in? Come up with some questions of your own that speak to your inner self.
CHALLENGE: Set a timer and set aside a few minutes every day this week for your own self check-in. Try different methods—journaling, quiet time, meditating, or taking a walk. Or come up with your own way to use this mindfulness practice.
For more ideas about how to incorporate mindfulness into your busy life as a mother, check out this article Book Summary: Breathe Mama Breathe.
Edited by Sharon Brown and Nollie Haws