How to do mental health check-ins with this love letter to yourself

Stretch your arms on either side and gently wrap them around your body.

Harper's Bazaar India

Dear you, 

It’s you vs you.
“Learn to go with the flow. Take each day as it comes. Slow down and listen. Accept your thoughts. Let them come and go. Take back your power. Pursue your passions. Step out of your comfort zone and into who you’re becoming. Express loudly. Bloom wildly. Live boldly. Get out of your damn way. It’s you vs you.”

This snippet by Alysha Waghorn has been an anchor for me when it all seems too much. So, I write to you, hoping you’re doing okay. I hope, in this fast-paced, monotonous, and often stress-inducing world, you’ve been able to take a breather, pause, and reflect. I hope you’re not too harsh on yourself or beating yourself up for inconsequential errors and mistakes. I also hope you allow yourself to be soft and kind to yourself, just as you are with others around you.

Image Credit: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Prioritising your mental health can be challenging. It may sometimes seem futile to navigate amid the din of daily life, a myriad of social obligations, and the overarching feeling of guilt for choosing yourself over others. The truth is, no matter how much you try to pull yourself together or strive to make sure everyone around you is comfortable and happy, there will be moments of frustration, exhaustion, and anxiety. If left unchecked, these tiny moments will turn into larger ones until you break down. It may, then, be best to squeeze in some time for a mental health check-in. 

In this love letter, you will find a list of questions you can answer either by yourself, in a journal or even with your person. Use these as mental health check-ins at regular intervals to understand how you’re feeling and working towards your own emotional well-being. Remember, as Charlie Mackesy says, “We often wait for kindness…but being kind to yourself can start now.” 

How are you feeling today? 

We’d urge you to answer this as honestly as you can. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts, feelings, and emotions—no one’s judging you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. If you often suppress your emotions, now is the time to open up and feel them, recognise them, understand why you’re feeling a certain way, and work towards growing out of it. 

Have you experienced something that is upsetting you lately? 
If you constantly feel low or emotionally drained, it may be time to identify the trigger. It could be an experience at work, a conflict with your partner or something that’s been eating you up from within. Retrace your thoughts and experiences and try to understand how they make you feel. Once you have a clearer idea about what is making you feel that way, you can begin to resolve it. 

Have you been sleeping well?
Sleep is an important indicator of physical and emotional well-being. Not getting enough or quality sleep increases the risk of diseases and disorders. Good sleep reduces stress, improves your mood, and enables you to think more clearly. Try to understand if your mind and body are getting the rest they need. If you aren’t getting the sleep you need, try to pin point a reason or seek professional help to navigate the situation. 

When was the last time you prioritised your own needs? 

We live in a society that has conditioned us into believing that self-care must take a backseat when it comes to other relationships, work or anything else. Today, however, self-care is getting the attention it deserves. Think about the last time you went for a meal alone or took out some time for a solo date to the spa or spent your morning reading instead of doing the hundred chores that you usually do. Unless and until you don’t prioritise your physical and mental health, chances are you may not be able to bring out the best version of yourself towards others either. Take this as your cue to do that morning workout, five-minute meditation or anything else you’ve wanted to. 

Who can you reach out to whenever you need? 
Different factors trigger issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress in people’s lives. Having a strong support system, however, can make it a tad easier to deal with these situations. These are people you can wholeheartedly trust—may be parents, best friend, sibling or even your partner. Answering this question will give you the reassurance and reminder that you’re not alone—you’re important, are loved, and bring to the world things no one else can, and, most importantly, have many people who want nothing but the best for you.