Checking In to Avoid Checking Out

Someone standing in front of a sunrise with their arms outstretched

We do a lot of checking in with other people throughout the course of our days.

We check in with our co-workers to see how we can help them and to make sure that they’re content and on-track. We check in with our spouses and family members to see how their days went and where their head is at.

How often, though, do we forget to check in with ourselves? When was the last time you took some time to yourself and asked, “How am I feeling today?”

Today, I want to talk about the importance of having regular self check-ins. They’re so important for taking care of your own well-being and can also help you avoid negative outcomes of stress, like burnout and disengagement.

What Does it Mean to Check In With Yourself?

Checking in with yourself means setting aside time each day to know how you are. It’s not unlike checking in with your co-worker or spouse, really.

You may find it helpful to ask yourself a few questions. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • How was my day today? What could have made it better or worse?
  • How am I feeling about [enter situation]?
  • Am I content with where my life is at the moment?
  • What are my future goals? What steps am I taking toward those goals?
  • What am I grateful for today?
  • And the 4 questions:
    • What worked today?
    • What’s not working?
    • What did I learn?
    • What needs to change?

As you ask and answer these questions, you may find it helpful to journal about them, or ask and answer them out loud as you look in a mirror.

You may even incorporate them into a meditation practice and allow the answers to come to you as you focus on your breathing and let your mind be at rest.

There’s no right or wrong way to practice checking in with yourself. The important thing is that you make an effort to do so in the first place.

The Necessity of Checking In

Just as checking in with others helps you maintain a happy and healthy relationship with those people, checking in with yourself gives you the opportunity to maintain a happy and healthy relationship internally.

If you aren’t taking the time to regularly check in, you’re essentially pushing your stressors, fears, and even joys of the day to the side. You aren’t allowing yourself to fully process your own emotions, which can have major consequences in the long run.

Burnout as a Result of Stress

HelpGuide defines burnout as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

Something that can help in the prevention of burnout is regularly checking in to see how you’re managing stress, how you’re actively giving yourself permission to take the stress off of your shoulders, and when it’s time to seek help or take a break.

If you feel like you can’t do the jobs being asked of you, you might consider adding some positive self-talk to your daily check-ins. Sometimes, all we need is a boost to get the job done. Otherwise, you may come to evaluate that you need to take a step back from some responsibilities and come to understand what you need to learn to do the job. 

Disengagement as a Result of Stress

Sometimes, we have to disengage from our work or our responsibilities as a way of managing our stress and mental health.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t getting certain tasks done. It means that we’re more passive or distant from the work and the people around us.

Regular check-ins can help you realize when you’re checked out, particularly if you’re using it as a coping mechanism. It can help you answer questions about why you feel the need to disengage. Then, you can start conversations (either with yourself, a friend, a coach, or a therapist) about how to re-engage with your life.

Supporting Someone Who Has Checked Out

Sometimes, you may notice that the person who has checked out isn’t yourself. It may be a co-worker that’s struggling, but doesn’t know how to make their voice heard. Or, it’s a family member that just feels lost right about now.

If that’s the case, you may consider mindfully and respectfully approaching them about what they’re going through.

They may not be ready to talk to you when you approach them, but don’t be afraid to let them know that you’re there for them if and when they are ready to talk about it.

And if they do open up to you, be ready to practice active listening and empathy. What they need is for their voice to be heard and validated. You can help them with that by listening attentively and letting them know that they’re not alone, no matter what they’re going through.

It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. Make sure to remind them of that fact.

Putting It All Together

Regularly checking in which yourself is an essential part of maintaining your overall well-being. If you haven’t done so already, I would highly recommend making it a part of your daily routine. You’ll find yourself more content and better in-tune with your own needs.

Are you feeling confused about how to incorporate self check-ins into your life? Do you feel like you’ve already checked out and aren’t sure how to check back in? I’m here to help you. Let’s start a conversation about your well-being in life. Get in touch with me to schedule an appointment.

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