by Jen Perry
Do you ever notice how some days go smoothly and then very similar days can be so difficult? Sometimes the difference is obvious, like when we are getting through a workday with a cold or some other malady. But often, it is far more subtle. Checking in on ourselves is an important component of daily self-care. We are contextual beings and taking into consideration even just a few of the myriad influences affecting us from day to day can really make the difference in our self-care and self-support throughout the days and weeks. Just asking the question, “How am I?” and seeking your truth ~ the truth of yourself right now ~ with an intention of caring for yourself and taking into consideration the context of your life right now ~ can make a huge difference. We can practice self-compassion and self-care by attending to our needs of the moment instead of ignoring them and expecting ourselves to be a robot that operates the same way under any set of conditions.
How often do we override our basic needs? Push? Fail to take into consideration our stage in life, or the quality of our sleep, or the seasonal affects around us? Weeks filled with the business of end-of-school-year or the pre-event party planning tornado or the post event collapse after vacation ~ all of these may mean that our needs are different. Seeking your truth so that you can speak your truth to yourself and meet your needs is a simple and quick essential form of daily self-care. Find your style and what works for you. Here is an example of the steps I like to take (adapted from Jon Kabat-Zinn and Kristin Neff):
1. Simply asking, “How am I?” And really listening as you would a good friend or dear one. Perhaps you feel tired, rushed, sore. Or maybe it is a moment that you can celebrate and you feel good, content, happy.
2. Fully contact this present moment. Mindfully. The sweet spot here is to meet how you are without minimizing or exaggerating your experience. It is happening either way, meeting it with curiosity and kindness for yourself.
3. Connecting with Universality: Opening up and connecting in your heart and mind with all the other humans around you having a similar moment. Recognizing that no matter what you are experiencing, you’re guaranteed not to be the only one who is enjoying the pleasant weather, was up all night with a new baby, got bad news from a doctor, is thrilled with a new car, has a difficult conversation they need to have with someone, or whatever it may be … it is part of the human experience and you are not alone. Not at all.
4. A wish for us all to …. Fill in the the blank here ~ based on the last few steps, what do you wish for yourself and anyone and everyone in your similar situation? May we all take a deep breath and enjoy this moment… May we all find peace … May we all sleep better tonight and be gentle with ourselves today … May we all be safe, happy, at ease.
5. Based in the step above, is there a need that you can fulfill for yourself? A simple breath, a walk or stretch, a call to a friend. Now that you’ve found your truth, and spoken it to yourself, the answer to how to best support yourself in this moment should be much easier to find.
Jen Perry is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Peaceful Parenting Educator and Coach. Jen’s approach to her client’s mental health and wellbeing focuses on implementing mindful self-care and self-compassion practices. Jen can be reached at or 215-292-5056.