Have you checked-in with yourself recently?  

Yup, I mean a self-check-in, when you see how you are doing – physically, mentally, emotionally. Times have been challenging lately. We are all aware of the harsh realities around us. All of this is taking a toll on all of us in more ways than we can imagine. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our daily lives, especially now when we are juggling many roles all at once, something we have simply labeled as “the new normal”.  

I very well understand this constant juggle day in and day out. While being a full-time mother of two young kids (ages 5 and 2), I am also a full-time doctoral student at OISE, University of Toronto and I have been managing my teaching and research responsibilities since the Pandemic was announced in March this year. It all happened so fast that we got sucked into this new situation, in which we are constantly working while caring for our families and repeat. Back in March, I remember wishing naïvely that all this would last for just a short while and we will be able to go back to our “normal” lives soon enough. But before we knew, days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and now we have come to realize that “the new normal” is here to stay for much longer than we anticipated or wished for. In all this, I somehow forgot to perform my regular self-check-ins, something I used to do regularly and frequently before all this started. My self-check-in had many faces, a coffee with a friend or an hour at my favourite yoga studio or going out for a romantic dinner with my husband or relaxing in a hot bath with my favourite essential oils. All these activities were just taken away from me (from all of us actually) in the name of physical distancing and rightfully so. We needed to flatten the curve. But while the frontline workers, the government officials and everyone else involved has been working tirelessly to flatten the curve, we “the work from home folks” have been paying our share with our sanity and somehow the self-check-in time got completely thrown out of the window. But something small but powerful happened to me and brought me back to my self-check-ins and reminded me how important they are to me.  

About a month ago, a friend of mine invited me to join a meditation program called 21 days of Abundance, developed and curated by Deepak Chopra. The daily tasks and meditation were delivered via WhatsApp. It required 30 minutes of my time every day, it seemed simple enough to follow, so I said yes. After I completed the task and meditation for Day 1, I had to type in the WhatsApp group “Day 1 done”. Once I did that on Day 1, I felt this sense of calm, ease, proud and above all self-love. I hadn’t felt like this in days, it was truly something I did for myself. I stole mere 30 minutes from my own day to perform a self-check-in. During this half hour, I journaled, I meditated, and I felt truly amazing. I couldn’t wait for the task and meditation for Day 2 to be posted and then Day 3, Day 4 and so on. I completed the 21 days beautifully, with each day bringing in a new realization for me. The clarity I felt in those 30 minutes stayed with me and vibrated my entire day with high frequency. I started to sleep better, I had more self-control when it came to screen time, I had way more patience towards my kids. This simple daily task was starting to bring out the better version of me, even in these stressful times. In all honestly, I had attempted to stay mindful before I started this program as well but something about the regularity of this program and the accountability of posting “Day # done” gave me the much-needed push to perform my daily self-check-ins. The program brought so much beauty in my everyday life that I went on to create my own WhatsApp group and led the same program for 15 more participants. It felt great that I was able to multiply it further. 15 friends had now started to perform their self-check-ins. Currently, I am doing another 21 days meditation program, this one focussing on hope and relationships but still the same idea for me – I take a break from everything and I check-in on myself.  

I couldn’t speak enough about the importance of these check-ins. In my case, it was journaling and meditation, it can be something else for you – like going for a run, having a coffee, doing a virtual yoga class, listening to music, dancing to your favourite song, taking a bath but, hey, remember to take a break, stop what you are doing and see how you are doing.  

And while you are at it, remember to check-in on those you love and care for. Remind them to avail their super-power of being able to self-love.  

Just checking in – hope you are well. 

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