How are you feeling today?
Recently, have you felt like you’ve gotten to the end of the day and not even remembered what happened hours before or what you ate for breakfast? Nowadays working from home and seemingly being “available” at all hours of the day has taken a toll on our ability to stay present and focus on our well being.
Your personal wellness goals
Some of you may have started out quarantine by setting personal daily wellness goals and find yourselves six months later having fallen off the train to self-improvement town. If that’s you, that’s OK! You may not be far off from getting back on track. However, it will take at least five minutes a day reflecting and asking yourself a few of these important questions below.
Asking yourself the right questions may allow opportunity to organize your thoughts, feelings, and understand your behaviors or patterns in a new way (a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy technique).
We need to be especially mindful of our own mental health during times of social isolation and quarantine when feelings can fluctuate or cycle rapidly. Focusing on our wellness requires us to be intentional about our own resilience and does not only include how we can stay happy and safe, but also impacts how healthy we keep ourselves and our immune systems.
10 Daily Questions to Ask Yourself During a Global Pandemic
1. What am I grateful for today?
Eckhart Tolle once said: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” During a time when grief is all around, making sure to take an extra minute to acknowledge the goodness in your life is crucial.
2. What did I learn today?
Ask yourself what new knowledge was received and how you want to implement that into your life. Learning helps the brain feel stimulated and can prevent those slumps of depression and isolation blues.
3. What motivated me today?
Often times we forget what drives us, especially if we subtract socialization breaks from our daily work routines. Thinking outside of the box on how to keep the motivation game strong, is key.
4. Did I move my body or go outside today?
Getting outside or moving your body everyday increases the production of Serotonin in the brain which in turns improves your mood, reduces feelings of stress or anger, helps you take time out and feel more relaxed, increases bilateral brain stimulation (positive brain processing of information and memories), improves your confidence and self-esteem, and can even help you make new connections or maintain your community from a socially distanced perspective.
If you didn’t get the chance to go outside today, make an extra effort tomorrow now knowing all the benefits that movement and fresh air can provide. If getting outside seems impossible, then start small (e.g., walk around the block, ask a friend to join, etc.).
5. How did I take care of my mind today?
During challenging and demanding times, it is important to curb the self-criticism that comes up with learning something new, like living through a pandemic or working from home with children doing distance learning in the next room. One of the best cures for self-criticism is self-compassion.
This means treating yourself kindly — the way you’d treat someone you care about. Also, acknowledging how you actually feel is crucial in taking care of your mind. Remember you are the controller of your mind, so be mindful what you feed it.
6. What simple things brought me pleasure today?
Maybe it was the extra five minutes your got to sip your coffee while your colleague was late to the Zoom meeting or the friendly delivery person, whatever made you feel good, celebrate it because you deserved it.
7. Did I make the right choices for me today?
This is an important question not only to ask yourself during a pandemic, but also regularly. Having awareness of our patterns can greatly impact how we feel on a daily basis.
8. What reality can I accept instead of fight against it?
Your life could probably be a whole lot easier if you just accepted certain truths instead of fighting against them. Too often, we waste time on problems which we can’t influence anyway.
Accepting harsh truths isn’t easy, but it can be a relief. This can be especially difficult during such unprecedented times AND you are still capable of controlling your mind and thoughts.
9. Have I been the kind of person I want to be?
You’re not working on yourself if you’re constantly comparing your results to someone else’s. Being better can mean taking five more minutes to sip your morning coffee in calmness instead of rushing to Zoom in the morning.
It can also mean practicing a 10-minute stretching or meditation routine. Or calling someone you love. Here is how Brené Brown has influenced her circle.
10. What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
This might be the second important question you ask yourself every day, as it often is what drives us to wake up and do it all over again. Having things to look forward to keeps us motivated, happy, and sane. During times when “looking forward” to things looks a lot different, try practicing the same lens you used in question one and six.
At the end of the day, some of these questions might seem easier or harder to answer.
That is why including your family, partner, or friends in the conversation can also increase connection and shared meaning in your life during this global pandemic.
Here are some deeper questions to ask yourself or your partner after or even before the pandemic ends.
We can incorporate simple behaviors into our daily practices that can enhance our ability to be strong and to overcome the negative thoughts and feelings. These are questions which many of us ask ourselves instinctively. But doing so in a more mindful and intentional way will help us feel their impact more deeply. And if you find yourself having a hard day, reflecting back on these questions may very well help you bounce back.
About the Author
Nathalie Olson-Studeler is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) at Well Clinic in San Francisco. In her words:
“Seeking support can be difficult, but often is the key to reclaiming more of your wholeness in order to peel back the layers and understand what is motivating your behavior and choices.”