In my recent blog post about the January Blues I gave some ideas to help you avoid them (which you can read here). But the reality is some people might not realise they have them. It’s important that in our often busy and hectic lives that we take a moment to check in with ourselves to see how we are really doing – not just the “yeah, good” we say to someone at work when they ask.
Often our mind or bodies will tell us if something is wrong but we do not always hear it. If you have a sense of dread when going to bed on a Sunday before heading back to work on Monday that is something you need to deal with. Let’s take a look at some ways we can check in with ourselves and potential solutions to problems we may encounter. As we look through these remember you need to be honest with yourself to get any kind of results here. Also, it’s perfectly fine to not have much wrong in your life at some points. Doing a self-check in can still be of use, however, in heading off any potential problems down the line.
Before we begin a quick reminder that I am not a trained professional and the views and ideas represented here should not be treated as coming from such an individual.
There is a small process you can work through to see how you are doing which can be repeated weekly, monthly, or quarterly to see if there are any problems or issues and to check if there is any potential progression and improvement. It starts with asking yourself “What things are worrying me at the moment?” Don’t shy away from answering with whatever pops into your head. Got a deadline coming up you aren’t sure you can meet? That’s valid. Has your partner not been in touch since they left yours earlier? That’s valid. Financial troubles now or on the horizon? That’s valid. The point I’m trying to make is whatever it is that is worrying you is valid.
Secondly you should also identify what is going well in your life at the moment. Things like having just paid off some debt, nailing a presentation at work, and completing a difficult conversation with someone all count, amongst others. But these achievements don’t need to be so grand either. Managed to keep eye-contact when talking to someone today? Ate three square meals? Actually left your house for the gym? Put that down because that is valid if it makes you feel good.
The next step is rereading both lists you have made (make them as long as you can) and picking a number between 1 and 6 – with 1 representing feeling awful and 6 representing feeling amazing – to signal how you are doing at the moment. I won’t lie, picking a number on a scale is rather arbitrary in nature. However, doing so allows you to strongly visualise how you feel on this “wellness” scale. That way you can take the appropriate action depending on where you fall on it. The lower you are the broader and more sweeping the action will need to be to improve. Whereas if you are a number 5 on the wellness scale it’s a matter of looking at what things could you change to bump you up to a 6.
So now that we know where you fall on the scale and you’ve identified points of contention, what can be done to help? You might be unsurprised that I cannot give a definitive answer to this as I do not know what issues you have in particular. Everyone has many different problems that need to be addressed and I neither know all the answers nor am I qualified to give them. That being said there are some tips you can observe in order to work through some of the issues you might be having.
1) Communicate your feelings with those you care about.
I find that often both the source and solution to the problems which are sometimes faced by those around me is that they do not give voice to their concerns and feelings to those that matter to them. Communication isn’t just important in romantic relationships but in all of them. If the issue you are having involves a particular person then try talking to them about that problem. In reality most people don’t want to see other people, particularly those that they are close to, suffer and will be happy to work through any problems you are having in the relationship.
Even if the issue you are having doesn’t directly concern them it is still worth talking to them (and indeed others, separately or as a group) so they can act as a sounding board for what you need to express. They may be able to offer you advice or aid, or might just be an ear to listen. Regardless it is an effective way to better understand your problem and how you might counter it, and you just might feel a bit better after talking about it to someone. It is important for me to stress just how significant communication is in dealing with problems and issues you may have.
2) Write a journal, or blog.
Writing down your feelings is another great way of expressing yourself and you can do it without the worry of anyone else finding out about it. Writing about any issues you have can help you work through them and if you do post anything you do publically (like on a blog) you may find support from strangers in the form of a kind comment or two. Visualising your problem on paper or screen is only the beginning, however. It is important to take steps to ensure whatever the issue is stops being a problem for you. Don’t just leave it to fate.
3) Seek trained professional help.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to speak to a trained professional about problems you are having. Whilst not all situations will require one, any recurring themes or issues, or problems that just won’t go away need to be addressed with the aid of someone who knows more than you. There is sometimes a stigma attached with seeking such help but there shouldn’t be. It is not an admission of weakness or failure, just of self-care. Do not think that all problems need to be massive in order to go and see a professional either. Even if the problem only takes a few weeks or even a single session to resolve it is still worth it. Nothing should be put ahead of your mental well-being.
4) Find and take steps to resolve the problem.
Whilst identifying the problem can be half the battle sometimes, it is important that we do not rest simply because we have an understanding of what the problem is. Take steps to address the issue. This will naturally vary depending on the situation but most people will find relatively easy solutions to issues that are getting to them. For the most part this will involve some form of communication with someone else, whether a loved one, superior at work, colleague, or doctor. Once you know what you have to do, take action!
Whilst what I have written here focuses mostly on mental problems, once you get the hang of doing a couple of self-check ins it is worth adding a little more to the process. Namely, how any of your current goals are progressing. This one can be important to ensure we are moving forward with our lives. Often we set ourselves goals (such as New Year’s resolutions which you can read about here) but fail to properly follow them up. Take the opportunity during a self-check in to look at your goals, what progress you have made, and most importantly if you need to change any of them. There is nothing wrong with having to make a change to your goal in order to keep it either relevant or possible. Without this change, you might fail to meet the goal altogether.
I hope you all find this helpful. I will write more on the subject as time goes on as making sure you are right within yourself is something I feel strongly about. Have you ever come across something like a self-check in before? What are your experiences with them? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,