I am a Professional griever. When I was 16 months old, my biological father left me and my 24-year-old mother for the day, took his small aircraft up over our family ranch, crashed and was killed. From that day on my life was forever altered. I spent my entire childhood and young adulthood grieving, healing, questioning, grieving, and healing some more. Along the way, I lost more loved ones who hit me quite harder. I was blessed to receive counseling and support from my family and friends. In my early 40’s I realized that I would be a lifelong griever. It’s not always the stabbing, sharp pain of grief, but it’s a void that cannot be filled. This experience led me to start an organization that bridges the gap between what we need and what is provided through our insurance. My hope is that Together We Heal Community will reach far beyond the greater Sacramento region and touch the lives of those who need to find help and hope after loss.
Are you okay?
How many times have you been asked this question? If you’re a griever, chances are it’s more than you’d like. But when you answer this question, are you really telling the truth? You don’t have to raise your hand, but eventually you will need to ask yourself this exact question be honest with yourself. I know I often answer this question with the obligatory, “Fine, thanks, how are you?” Even when I’m not fine, it seems to be what I blurt out of my own mouth. We must be more intentional with our honest answer, but first we need to really ask ourselves the right questions… maybe this starts with some more focused questions.
Just like physical health, it’s important to regularly assess and nurture your emotional well-being. self-guided check-in that can help you gauge your emotional state and take steps towards a healthier, more balanced life.
Here are some questions to help you gauge your own emotional wellness, so you can assess if you’re really OK.
1. How Am I Feeling Right Now?
Start by acknowledging your current emotional state. Are you feeling content, stressed, anxious, happy, or perhaps a mix of emotions? Identifying your feelings is the first step towards understanding and addressing them.
2. What Are My Stress Levels?
Consider the level of stress you’re experiencing. Are there specific triggers causing stress? Recognizing stressors allows you to take proactive steps to manage them.
3. Am I Practicing Self-Care?
Evaluate whether you’re prioritizing self-care. This includes activities like exercise, adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. (Taking time for walks, eating and drinking water regularly, allowing yourself plenty of rest time.)
6. Am I setting realistic goals for myself?
Are you being to hard on yourself? Are the goals you have attainable, or are they causing unnecessary pressure? Adjusting your goals to your current situation are a necessary part of your healing.
7. Am I being present in my own life?
Evaluate whether you’re living in the present moment or if your mind is frequently dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness practices can help ground you and reduce stress.
8. Am I doing things that bring me joy? Are they working?
Identify activities, hobbies, or interests that bring you genuine happiness. Make time for these things, as they play a crucial role in your emotional well-being.
9. Am I Allowing Myself to Feel and Process Emotions?
Acknowledge that it’s normal to experience a range of emotions. Avoiding or suppressing them can lead to emotional strain. Allow yourself to feel and process these emotions in a healthy way. As my friend Julia Nicholson says, “You have to feel in order to heal.”
9. Do I Need Professional Support?
If you find that your emotional well-being is consistently low, or if you’re struggling to cope with certain issues, consider seeking professional support. Therapists and counselors can offer valuable guidance and techniques.
10. Do I push away the people that want to help me?
Isolation, in times of grief often seems like the easier route, but we are not meant to do life alone. Reach out to your support system and seek out those healthy people in your life that want to help. You might not know what you need, but surrounding yourself with love and support will help guide your next steps and make like more bearable.
Regularly checking in with yourself is a powerful tool for maintaining emotional wellness. You can use this self-check guide or create one that feels right to you and then start each week by assessing yourself. Remember, prioritizing your emotional well-being is an investment in your overall health and happiness. Take the time to nurture yourself, and that means starting with paying attention to your physical and emotional wellness.