Many of us are fairly good at check-ups and basic maintenance. For example, we have the oil changed in our cars when it’s due and our teeth cleaned every 6 months. Perhaps we even change the air filter in the furnace and replace the batteries in the smoke detectors once a year. All of these tasks keep things running smoothly and prevent problems. What regular practices might improve our emotional health? We’re not born with “warning lights” that tell us when some part of us is overheated or broken, nor calendars that tell us when our next vacation is (over)due. Instead, we need to develop an intentional “emotional check-up from the neck up” – – a practice of checking in with ourselves to evaluate how we are doing and feeling.
Sample Questions for an Emotional Check-Up
- How regularly are you sleeping? How many hours each night? Do you sleep soundly or not?
- Are you eating enough, or eating too little? Open your cupboards and refrigerator – do the contents look like you want them to in variety and freshness?
- Are you making time for exercise, reflection, meditation in your life?
- Are your finances and chores up to date, or are some tasks slipping behind you?
- Do you engage enough in activities that make you feel good, such as whimsy, hobbies, volunteering, spiritual activities, visiting with special persons?
Conduct an emotional check-up with these questions and some of your own to evaluate how you are doing. If you find that you are off on a number of the answers, it’s time to slow down and evaluate your priorities. Can someone help you get realigned? What responsibilities can you delegate to someone else or eliminate altogether? What priorities need to shift in rank?
Monitoring our behaviors, thoughts and feelings on a regular basis helps us identify problem areas so we can get a tune-up. Try an “emotional check-up from the neck up” on a weekly basis and see what you find out about yourself!