"How are you doing today?

It’s funny, I feel as though not enough people take a minute to pause and think about their wellness. Most consider their physical health, but it seems as though many do not associate their mental health as a factor in their overall wellbeing. I was raised in a household where no one really spoke of their wellness. Because it was something my family never spoke about, I assumed this was the norm for everyone. It took me a long time to realize I often need to pause to check-in with myself and ask “How am I today?”

For a period of time, I was asked this question daily, and at first my responses were usually the same: “fine,” or “ok,”. Until I finally grounded myself I realized I actually did feel different every day. Maybe it depended on how I slept, or what happened the day before, but there was a shift in emotion every day.What I have witnessed and also fallen prey to is systematic routine. Wake up, make coffee, go to work, come home, work out, cook dinner, pack lunch for tomorrow, shower, then go to bed to do it all again the following day. What I struggled with in particular, was moving to a town not knowing anyone, and not much distraction from this monotonous routine. It is a routine that most know, but what became apparent for me very quickly was I had lost my purpose, things that helped me to grow and to stay grounded. I had stopped asking myself “How am I today?”, I had stopped doing things that excited me, and helped for me to reach where I want to be in my life. It was a jarring realization, that first day I woke up and the only thing that popped into my head was “I do not feel fulfilled”.

The routine I had fallen in to did not give me space to stay grounded. I needed to take the time to reassess, and think about what does make me feel whole. I feel whole when I’m surrounded by those who care about me, when I take care of myself by sleeping a lot, drinking heaps of water, cooking, exercising, meditating, writing, exploring outside, and traveling. I feel whole when I am vulnerable or intimate with another person.

We all have our own responsibilities that we need to attend to, kids, jobs, spouses, chores, errands, but when do the needs of everyone or everything else begin to diminish your own emotions and needs? I believe there is a great strength in putting your own needs first. Putting yourself first can at first feel selfish, but there is no shame in putting your needs before others, and grounding yourself by doing the things that help keep you whole.

The next question to ask yourself: What makes you whole?