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Hi there, How are you today?

How are you holding up?

On a scale from 1 to 10 - how are you really?

Sometimes just checking in and asking ourselves, and others, can make a world of difference at the moment. Putting in that call can be the welcome relief someone needs.

Between the day to day stressors, the on-going loom of covid, the experience of loss and acceptance of change, financial hardship, political movements - the list is near endless as to the worries and concerns we have. It has been a particularly challenging time for most if not everyone to some degree.

It’s fair to say that a great many of us are nowhere near “fine” if we have to answer how we are doing.

So how can we check in on each other in more meaningful ways?

How can we feel like we are heard…

For starters, we can change the way we ask… that in itself can have a profound effect on the outcome. Asking with the intention to listen to the outcome the game changer. According to psychotherapist K Devos: “The slight modifications signal to us that it’s OK to shift a bit away from the standard ‘good’ or ‘fine’ answers, and acknowledge, perhaps, that we are not ‘good’ or ‘fine’ in general right now.”

Here are some alternatives to the usual how are you…

- I’ve been thinking about you lately. How are you doing?

- How are you holding up?

- Are you anxious about anything?

- Are you feeling down at all?

- Is there any type of support you need right now?

People not only need to feel that the other person truly wants to know how they are doing, but they also need to know that confiding in someone else will not scare them away.

Telling someone they have been on your mind shows you care, which may make them feel more comfortable in sharing what is going on in their life and more open to communicating.

Acknowledges that things are hard right now, can help to imply that you don’t expect the other person to say they’ve been well and pretend if in fact they aren’t.

Asking specific questions can assist in suggesting you are available to help in what way you can or encourage someone to speak up.

Also sharing your own insecurities or showing vulnerability about your own mental or emotional state, can prompt the person you care about to open up.

Sometimes all we need is someone to listen to us, non judgmentally, while we process something, talking it out loud helps.

Other times, we actually need support in figuring out a strategy, a way forward or advise in how to cope and what best coping mechanisms there are to assist.

At the end of the day checking in can bring relief and joy. It can help to lighten the load and if nothing else, make someone smile knowing that someone else simply cares.

That in itself brings meaning.

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