Checking in on yourself

Reading time: 3 mins

We’re collectively living through a very strange time at the moment. Sometimes it’s hard to answer the question “how are you?” honestly, because you don't actually know.

To help break this down, I’ve put together a series of prompts that you may find useful, whether for asking yourself as an individual or used in a different capacity, like in 1:1s with reports.

Getting a sense of how you are

Very often we don’t stop enough to take stock of how we’re really doing. If you’re responsible for other people in some capacity, as a parent, carer, or manager, you may also find yourself thinking more about the wellbeing of the people you’re looking after. If you can feel that you may be starting to feel less good but aren’t entirely sure why or how bad it is, here are some questions to think about.

Some of these are more focused on generally working out if you’re ok, and some are more to do with helping you pin down what factors may be affecting you. Adapt them for your situation.

🤔 What have you found difficult lately? How does this compare to what you normally find difficult?

🤔 In a week, how many days do you finish feeling positive (happy, satisfied, energised) vs not?

🤔 How do your patterns around food/water/sleep/hobbies/head space compare to normal?

🤔 What would you normally be doing to unwind? How does the current situation differ, and what’s the impact on you?

🤔 In normal times what gives you energy, and what drains you? How much of each are you getting at the moment?

🤔 When did you last take holiday, and how long for? How did this make you feel?

🤔 When did you last leave the house?

🤔 How much sunlight and vitamin D are you getting?

Practical ways forward

Hopefully you’ve decided you’re absolutely okay, but if not, let’s try to help with that! Some of the above prompts may guide you to understand not only how you are, but also point towards areas that could help you feel a bit better. On top of what you’ve already considered through those, try to ask the following.

🤔 If this was a physical injury would you still be working? *

🤔 There may not be any direct solutions, but what is within your control and will help make this situation easier, if not entirely better?

🤔 What can you change about your environment?

🤔 What about your routine?

🤔 What can you commit to doing tomorrow that’ll make it better than today?

🤔 What help can you ask for?

Everyone’s takeaways will be different. Maybe it’s little things like making ‘special’ tea in a teapot, starting late and having an extra hour in bed (if your life allows for that), or committing to actually doing a walk every day. Maybe it’s bigger, like signing up for an online counsellor, or asking to drop some responsibilities at work for a little bit.

The things that we do in “normal” times to make us feel happy, relaxed, or calm won’t necessarily work at the moment, either because we can’t do them, or because the world has changed too much. However it’s even more important than usual to check in, understand what we’re feeling and why, and to think about how we can develop new coping mechanisms to get through what’s an exceptionally challenging time for many.


*this question stolen from my colleagues Stephanie Richardson-Dreyer via Michael Hefferan!

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash