Coaching Options
Healing Perfectionism Group
Free Webinar

The #1 Self-Care Habit to Cultivate in the New Year

mindset negative emotions positive emotions self-care wellness Dec 24, 2022
The sun rises above a rocky coast by Strikers of Pixabay

*In this article, I talk about noticing and connecting with emotions and physical sensations in your body. If you have trauma responses, or you dissociate from your body because of trauma, please connect with a trauma-informed practitioner, rather than proceeding alone.*


Being on the cusp of a New Year is a common time for us to commit to new goals. Whether you are a traditional resolution-maker, or just someone looking to grow, this step is the best next step you can take. Are you ready?

Commit to checking in with yourself, on a regular cadence, and responding to your own needs.


If you are a Physician, or a Caring Professional or a parent, chances are good that you are very skilled at ignoring your own needs and likely suppressing your own emotions from years of training and service. You may have experience pulling 36 hour shifts (or more), going without food, and “holding it” for far longer than reasonable human bodies should.

I’ll spare you the lecture about what happens when we do that for many years (ahem, chronic headaches and incontinence, ahem).

Instead, let’s think about what it would be like to commit to simply checking in with your body, every day, perhaps even several times per day, as a critical self-care habit. If you have spent years feeling disconnected from your body and your emotions, this is not a natural task. And yet, it is also a natural task; the work of re-claiming our own humanness. Reclaiming awareness of and concern for our emotions as legitimate. Coming home to our bodies, and their animal needs for sleep, play, food, peeing, and movement.

To start, make a list of steps you might take IN RESPONSE to emotions and physical sensations that you start to identify. For example, eating when you feel the physical sensation of hunger (even if it inconveniences other humans). Another example, when you feel anxious, you will pick a calming activity, such as a walk, a bath, journaling, or a minute of calming breath.

What does your day feel like when you pause occasionally, on purpose, to identify what you need? Even if it’s only at “the edges” of the day, waking up and stretching or journaling, depending on what feels helpful; winding down for the day and deciding whether a bath or some yoga would feel better.

How does that contrast with your days now?

Myself, I spent many years undereating and overeating. If I didn’t eat in the car on my commute, then I generally wouldn’t eat until I was driving home for the day, whether mid-afternoon on a short day or 6 or 7 PM on a long day. It didn’t matter if there was food sitting there, or in the fridge; outside of maybe some candy, I often wouldn’t pause to eat because it felt too indulgent against the mountain of things sitting in my inbox before, in-between, and after patient visits. I’d be so hungry at the end of the day that I would rapidly inhale a lot of food, more than was needed, on the drive home, before eating some dinner as well. My eating was about time and convenience, and not about hunger.

Similarly, many Physicians get home, slog through the evening responsibilities (dinner, dishes, play with the kids, walk the dog, kids to bed, etc), and then collapse on the couch, numbing out with Social Media or Netflix or snacks or booze, or possibly all of these. After a full day of putting others first, we “treat ourselves,” but really we are often just numbing away feelings further, exhausted and unwilling to process the emotions of the day.

If this is you, consider what it would mean to start to check in, and respond to your needs. Rather than committing to a new fitness program, or a new diet or a journaling practice that you will do every day, what would it be like to simply start to notice yourself again, check in on your body and your mind and supply it with what it needs?

Food when you are hungry.

Bathroom when your bladder is full.

Comfort when you feel sad.

How radical is that?

Need some help doing this? Set up your free call with me today HERE.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

Schedule your free 1:1 call today

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join my mailing list to receive helpful tips and insights to your mailbox each week, as well as updates about my latest coaching offerings.

Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

I hate SPAM (all kinds really, don't come at me). I will never sell your information, for any reason.