I like fixing things. I like changing the light bulbs, and putting new screws in a loose door, and I like being able to fix myself when I’m not feeling great either.
Sometimes though it can be difficult to improve a situation if you don’t know what’s wrong. Like today, when I woke up with anxiety. I knew I was having unsettling dreams but what were they about? Why did my body feel stiff? Why did I go back to sleep for 2 hours when I was awake when I initially woke up?
These are all valid questions, and ones I would like the answer to, but they’re also vague. I need more direction to be able to figure out, if not why I’m feeling this way, then how I can help it. And this is where the Check-In List comes in.
It’s exactly what it sounds like, I check in with myself. I ask sometimes simple, but over-looked questions to try and figure out the things I can do to make myself feel better.
- HAVE I EATEN?
- AM I HYDRATED?
- WHEN DID I LAST HAVE CAFFEINE?
- HOW MUCH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY HAVE I HAD?
- IS THERE ANY FAMILY/WORK TENSION?
- HOW IS MY FINANCIAL SITUATION?
- IS MY SPACE CLEAN/TIDY?
- DO I OWE SOMEONE AN APOLOGY?
- AM I PUTTING SOMETHING OFF?
- AM I WAITING FOR SOMETHING?
- WHEN DID I LAST DO SOMETHING CREATIVE?
- AM I WEARING SOMETHING COMFORTABLE?
- AM I PHYSICALLY OK/COMFORTABLE?
- DO I LIKE WHAT I AM DOING?
- DO I LIKE WHAT I AM LISTENING TO?
- DID I GET A PROPER SLEEP?
- HAVE I BEEN DRINKING/SMOKING?
- DO I HAVE ANY LOOSE ENDS?
- WHEN DID I LAST LAUGH/SMILE?
- HOW MUCH TIME HAVE I SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
- HOW AM I THINKING ABOUT THINGS?
- WHEN DID I LAST PAMPER MYSELF?
- HAVE I EATEN ENOUGH FRUIT/VEG?
- HAVE I RECENTLY CALLED MY MOM/GRANDMA/BEST FRIEND?
- HAS SOMETHING BIG (GOOD OR BAD) HAPPENED RECENTLY THAT I AM PROCESSING?
- WHEN DID I LAST GO OUTSIDE?
Usually there are at least a few things I can check off. My basics like hydration, hunger, and physical comfort are things I often over look because I’ve gotten to comfortable ignoring them. When I force myself to be aware that these things are affecting me negatively, though, something wonderful happens.
I fix them. I eat, I drink water, I make a to-do list of little projects I would like to get done (like sewing the strap back on my favourite dress). I’ll take the 15 minutes to do a yoga sequence. I’ll make sure I take my iron and moisturize and wear my favourite PJ pants even though they may be unflattering. And soon I feel better. Sometimes it’s not these specific things that have improved my circumstances, but the knowledge that I am trying is what makes the difference.
Sometimes there are bigger things at hand that aren’t as easy to deal with. This is where recognition is important. Acknowledge that something is happening that y0u don’t have the tools to deal with right now, or that it’s not just a quick easy fix. And then stop focusing on it. Know it’s there, know that there is only so much you can do, and then don’t stress about what you can’t do. Move on to other things. Get a cup of coffee, go for a walk, call your person, take deep breaths, listen to your favourite music.
These processes aren’t linear. You don’t get direct results. You can’t drink a litre of water and suddenly become hydrated. An apology – given or received – isn’t a switch to make you feel better. But little steps go a long way, so give yourself the knowledge of which direction you’re going. Make yourself a check-in list.
Written by Forest Greenwell