Blog Short #12: It’s time for a check-in with yourself.

Welcome to Monday Blog Shorts – ideas to make even Monday a good day! Every Monday I share a short article with you about a strategy you can use, or new facts or info that informs you, or a new idea that inspires you . My wish is to give you something to think about in the week ahead. Let’s dig in!

Well, we’ve finally reached 2021! Does it seem different yet? Likely not, but maybe you’re feeling the stirrings of momentum as I am. I hope so!

As part of any starting point, there’s an exercise I like to use. It’s helpful when you want to reset emotionally and see if you need a shift in perspective, or uncover something you need to attend to or consider.

I call it a “check-in with self.” Basically it’s taking some time to reflect on how you are, where you are, and where you’re going.

Here’s how to do it.

You’ll need a free hour. At least one hour and more if you like, but not less.

You’ll need to be alone without distraction.

This means being far enough away from everyone so you can’t get interrupted, or hear what anyone else is doing or saying. The optimum situation is to be completely alone, however, you could be sitting outside or in a public place where there’s little in the way of distracting noise. You have to be able to attend to your own thoughts without any disruption. That’s the criteria.

The second rule is absolutely no technology. No phone. No computer. No music. No outside input of any kind. Just you.

Once you have the place and environment nailed down, you can proceed with the exercise. Ask yourself these questions, and really think about them.

  1. How am I emotionally? Get specific. What’s your overriding feeling? Likely you’ll have a variety of feelings that come up, but try to reflect on your primary emotional state. What’s the overall tone? Positive? Negative? Hopeful? Helpless? Anxious? Happy? Content? Bland? Push down until you can identify how you really are.
  2. How are my relationships? What needs attention, and what kind of attention? What do I need to let go of? What do I need to address? What needs improvement? What’s good already, and what am I grateful for?
  3. How am I feeling about my life in general? Do I have a sense of control over the direction? Do I have a direction at all? Am I focused on what’s important to me? Do I have baggage I need to resolve?
  4. Do I have a strong sense of who I am, and does my life reflect that? If not, what needs change? If so, how do I continue and what’s next?

If you’re not in the habit of spending quiet time with yourself and checking in this way, you might find this exercise uncomfortable. It’s easy to stay so busy that you avoid dealing with your emotional life, and when you slow down and turn your attention inward, it’s a bit overwhelming.

On the other hand, it can feel good to take the time to commune with yourself, and get an overview of where you are as well as clarify what needs attention. It’s sort of like a personal reboot, and gives you a fresh perspective to both identify where you’re stuck, and appreciate who you are and what you already have.

What if I can’t sit for an hour with myself?

If you do this exercise, yet find that sitting quietly for one hour is extremely difficult, start by sitting as long as you can and work at it every week until you can sit for an entire hour comfortably and be alone with yourself.

You might find the first couple of times, that you’re flooded with feelings and thoughts you normally aren’t aware of, or keep at a distance. Just stay with it. Eventually, you’ll settle in and feel the benefits of short periods of solitude and self-reflection.

How often?

I like to do this once a month. It’s like a retreat, and I look forward to it. I have a shorter meeting with myself weekly to monitor progress on goals and habits, but this hour is more about reflection, not goal setting.

Try it out and see what it brings. I think you’ll find it helpful and relieving. If you find that the emotions coming up are too disturbing, then think about some counseling.

I’m finishing up an article on the value of counseling that includes what to look for in a therapist. It should be up later this month if therapy is something that appeals to you.

For now, enjoy your hour of reflection, and may it bring you some new insights and provide some direction as you start this year.

See you next week!

All my best,

Barbara

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