What Is a Self-Care Checkup?

The need for regular physical exams is generally well accepted, but when was the last time you thought about getting a check-up for your emotional well-being? Emotional health (if one can even argue it is a separate category) is just as important as physical health. Anxiety affects 40 million adults in the U.S. annually, while 14.8 million Americans are diagnosed with major depression. More than 20 million Americans have a substance use disorder. We have all seen the dangers of neglecting emotional health on both individual and mass scales.

As a therapist, I advocate for the use of “self-care checkups” to help individuals get perspective on their overall emotional health and coping. A self-care checkup can be conducted in a single or multiple sessions, and is an opportunity to receive feedback and guidance about strategies for improved emotional wellness. For example, a therapist may ask you to fill out a self-care inventory to get a holistic picture of your self-care strengths and weaknesses.

A therapist may recommend additional sessions for brief and targeted coaching in specific areas of emotional well-being, such as sleep and relaxation skillsrelationship counseling, or burnout prevention. When receiving any expert opinion, it is always up to you to decide what areas of self-care you are or are not ready to work on. A self-care checkup is great for people who are looking to get a targeted boost in their self-care regimen over the course of brief counseling, or those who are considering goals for longer term therapy.

If you could improve any one area of self-care in your life, what would it be?

Anna Lindberg Cedar, MPA, LCSW is a self-care and behavioral health expert. She offers counseling to adults and teens in Oakland, and writes about self-care on the Internet. Find out more: www.annacedar.com.

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