Checking in: Mental health check-in tips and when to see a specialist
The last couple of years have been draining on everyone. We have all gone through a pandemic, life readjustments and navigated unprecedented circumstances. It’s only natural to sometimes feel like you’re overwhelmed or out of control. There are few things in this life that we have control over but it is so important that you check in on yourself.
We easily think of asking our loved ones how they’re doing and if they’re okay but we rarely check in on ourselves and our own mental health. This is a mini check-in guide to show you how to do daily check-ins with yourself and we’ll highlight if it may be a better idea to seek some professional advice.
What is a mental health check-in?
Have you ever been worried about a friend and decided to give them a call to see how they’re doing?
Well, a mental health check-in works the same but you’re asking yourself how you’re doing. It’s all about taking a moment in every day to reflect on how you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. There are various ways to do a mental health check-in and it’s best to find what works for you. Some people prefer to sit back with a cup of coffee while sitting outside and taking a moment to themselves while others prefer to sit with a journal and write everything out.
We’ve outlined a few things you can do to check in on yourself.
Mental health check-in tips
Important questions to ask yourself
When you’re doing a mental health check-in, it is ideal to find some time in your day where you can be completely mindful and have enough time to truly reflect.
You could spare a few minutes on your lunch break or on your way home, any time where you are on your own and can concentrate on your own needs. Once you have found the time, think about what you would like to ask yourself. Here are a few of our suggestions;
- How am I feeling today, really? Both physically and mentally.
- What’s taking up most of my headspace right now?
- What was my last full meal, and have I been drinking enough water?
- How have I been sleeping?
- Have I been doing any physical activities lately?
- What did I do today that made me feel good?
- What’s something I can do today that would be good for me?
- What’s something I’m looking forward to in the next few days?
- What am I grateful for right now?
There are many other questions you can ask yourself but these questions will give you a sense of how you are doing. Are you stressed? Have you been looking after yourself physically? All of this contributes to your mental health and by asking and answering these questions honestly, you will be more cognisant of how you’re actually managing.
For some more tips on how to be truly present, give this article a read.
Keep a journal
If asking yourself these questions doesn’t really work for you then try writing it down in a personal journal. You can set aside some time in the morning where you write down your daily affirmations (these are positive thoughts about yourself and your life), your goals and what you’re grateful for.
Keeping a daily journal will help you set your intentions for the day and help you start the day on a positive note. You can also use the journal to outline your feelings or challenges you faced that day with possible solutions to help you the next day.
Look at your feelings and behaviours
Has anything changed lately? Have you become impatient and snappy when you’re usually calm and reasonable? Take a look at if your feelings and behaviours that you perceive to be normal for you have changed.
This goes hand-in-hand with asking yourself how you’re feeling but it’s important to take note of if anything has fundamentally changed with you and then you need to ask yourself why.
Assess your physical health
Have you been sleeping enough? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting in any physical activity?
Your physical health impacts your mental health tremendously and if you have found that you aren’t feeling great mentally but you aren’t sure why, try assessing if you have let your physical health slip.
A healthy body will help keep a healthy mind.
Don’t wait until things are really bad
Mental health isn’t always easy to talk about and more often than not, we’re quite hard on ourselves where we will say “You’re fine, it’s just a bad day” or “I need to just get over it”. Thinking you’re fine and trying to push how you’re truly feeling to the side can be dangerous to your overall mental health.
Treat yourself the same way you’d treat a close friend. When someone you love is having a very hard time, you wouldn’t tell them to get over it, you’d offer advice or tell them to get help. So, why wouldn’t you do the same for yourself?
When to seek professional assistance
Everyone has days where they feel low or depressed or even out of control. So much is happening in our lives every single day, it is normal to not feel 100% all of the time. This then begs the question, “how do I know if I need to see a specialist then?”
Well, a good rule of thumb is, if your “low” or depressed mood lasts longer than a week or two or if you’re struggling to function at work, with your family or in your social life and if daily tasks seem unbearable, it would be in your best interest to seek out some help.
Remember though, getting professional help does not make you weak, it takes a really strong person to admit that they need help.