You Should Be Asking Yourself These Questions on a Regular Basis

You Should Be Asking Yourself These Questions on a Regular Basis
Photo: SNeG17, Shutterstock

Even the healthiest, fittest, happiest, and most optimistic people feel physically and/or mentally rundown from time to time. For the rest of us, it’s more of a daily occurrence. Either way, when you’re feeling a bit off, the sooner you can pinpoint the root cause(s), the sooner you can attempt to address them.

And while it can be easy to look at a friend or family member going through a rough patch and have thoughts on how they got there, it’s much harder to do the same for ourselves. That’s when a self-check-in can come in handy. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself regularly, to help you identify the aspects of your life that may need attention (from a health perspective).

How checking in with yourself can help

Think about your last physical. In addition to the usual parts of the check-up — blood tests, having your blood pressure taken, the knee-hammer reflex test — a healthcare provider probably asked you a lot of really personal questions. They weren’t being nosy: The idea was to gather information on things like your habits, behaviours, and family history that may offer clues on your overall health.

But there’s more. “The mere act of addressing certain topics, such as diet and exercise habits or frequency of alcohol or tobacco use, often creates a deeper conversation with more focused discussion regarding approaches to improvement in overall health,” Michael Barber, MD, PhD, a board-certified internist and cardiologist recently told Real Simple.

Although a self-check-in should never be considered a replacement for a physical or seeking medical attention in general, asking yourself a few questions regularly can help you stay on top of your health.

Questions to ask yourself when assessing your health

Instead of waiting until your next physical, get in the habit of asking yourself questions on a routine basis — and whenever you can’t figure out what’s making you feel so crappy.

There are multiple self-assessments out there, with various lists of questions — including one from Real Simple, as well as others from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Princeton University, and IDONTMIND — some more detailed than others. To help get you started, here are 10 of the questions that come up most often:

  1. How are you feeling today, physically? (i.e. Any aches/pains, difficulty breathing, digestive issues, etc.)
  2. How are you feeling today, mentally? (i.e. Current mood, overall mental state, are any changes circumstantial, etc.)
  3. How are your energy levels? (i.e. Unusually high or low, normal, etc.)
  4. What are your eating habits like? (i.e. How many times a day you eat, types of foods you eat, how you feel after a meal, etc.)
  5. How are you sleeping? (i.e. Not enough, too much, plenty of hours but none of it is restful, etc.)
  6. Taking a nonjudgemental approach, what are some of your behaviours or habits that could impact your health in a positive, negative, or neutral way? (i.e. Those related to eating, sleeping, exercise/movement, relationships, substance use, financial matters, etc.)
  7. Are there any adjustments to the behaviours and habits you just identified that could better serve your health? (i.e. Reducing stressors, improved nutrition, more rest, etc.)
  8. What role does your job/career play in your life? (i.e. It’s just a paycheck and that’s fine, a toxic work environment that’s affecting your overall mental health, it’s a living but not fulfilling, etc)
  9. Do you feel mentally/intellectually engaged and stimulated on a regular basis? (i.e. At work, through your hobbies, with your social circle or community, etc.)
  10. What is something you’re looking forward to? (i.e. Is there a way of incorporating more of this into your life in a health way?)

Once you have a better grasp of what could potentially be impacted your health, come up with a plan of how to address your biggest challenges. If there’s anything you’re particularly concerned about, make an appointment to discuss them with a healthcare provider.

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