#SelfCareSunday: Journaling-A Daily Exercise in Self-Care
I write every single day, several times a day. Running two websites/blogs keeps my pen in constant motion. However, I have found that the most important writing I will ever do, is the writing I do just for me. They are the words I write in my journal. I’ve kept journals since I was a teen but it wasn’t until I was an adult in my 20s that I realized the value in writing for myself every day. I journal every night before I go to bed and during the day sometimes on the weekend. Journaling gives me the necessary time and space to be alone with my thoughts and feelings and put them down on paper. I am a firm believer in the power of the written word and the healing power of journaling.
Notebooks, Journals, Diaries…whatever you want to call them. I call them my therapy books. I journal every night as a way of purging my thoughts and clearing my mind for the day. Journaling involves the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. There are ten ways journaling is an exercise of self-care and part of my wellness routine.
1. Process the day’s events
Some days I just like to recap my day. There are days where my kids say something hilarious or where a friend has given me some words of wisdom. I like those moments in my life to be documented.
2. Clarify my thoughts
Somedays I need to understand some things, and I’ve always expressed myself better through my writing. Journaling my thoughts brings them into focus, and things become clearer.
3. Understand my feelings and emotions
I am a person who feels intensely. My feelings and emotions can overwhelm me. Journaling helps me express what it is I’m feeling inside. Even when what I feel is confusing and conflicting, I can express that in my writing.
4. Connect with my spirit
I journal daily because it allows me to purge my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Journaling is a spiritual detox for me. I get to release it all before I go to bed. It keeps me healthy emotionally and mentally.
5. Document my life’s journey
When my grandmother passed, she left behind little notes in random places around her home. As we were cleaning the house and packing things up, we would find these little letters from her to us. I cherish those notes so much. Journaling is my life’s story wrapped up in little books that one day may be read by my children and grandchildren. I want them to know me. I want them to know my story at a time when they will be old enough to see me as a woman, not just mommy.
6. Healing/Self Awareness
Journaling is the sermon I speak to myself. My journals are my therapy sessions, my prayer, and mediation sessions. My journals are safe spaces where I’m free to work out anything I’m dealing with freely. The daily act of journaling is so important because it allows me to release what I feel and experience. I’m a firm believer in not holding things inside, they eventually fester and manifest itself in different, potentially negative ways.
7. An Act of Love
I journal positive affirmations to myself all the time. I speak life, love, abundance and good health over my life in my journal writing. Sometimes you just must encourage yourself through some things. In my journals, I’ll brag on myself and tell myself how dope I think I am. On the days when you aren’t feeling so fantastic, you can look back and remember the essence of who you are.
8. Shows my progress
I kept a journal during my marriage. My marriage was very volatile and negative. I would journal my experience daily. Once I left that relationship, I looked through those journals and cried. I went through so much yet here I was happy and smiling again. Here I was living again and feeling excited about the future. My journals are a reminder of what I’ve been through. They remind me of my strength and triumphs through adversity. They serve as notes to myself when I want to quit. My journals remind me to keep pushing on!
9. Reduces stress and anxiety
There are studies that show journaling can reduce stress and anxiety. The act of writing is calming and relaxing. When I’m stressed or anxious about anything writing about in my journal often calms me down and allows me to release myself from worry.
10. Sparks creativity
Some of my best ideas for poems, books, blogs and new songs come from journaling. When I’m writing some of my most random thoughts, ideas come. According to Psychcentral, the act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time journaling. 15-20 minutes a day is a great start for beginners. I suggest grabbing a beautiful journal and a nice pen just for your journals and get started. They don’t have to be perfectly written, grammatically correct or even spell checked. Just go with the flow and allow your mind and heart to release. There is power in pen. Here are few of my favorite journaling prompts. They can be a great start as you begin to tell your story!
Journaling Challenge: I challenge you to journal for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, tell me what you learned? How did journaling affect your daily life? All subscribers to the blog will get weekly journaling prompts to keep you motivated for the challenge!
Until next time,
Take care of yourself and one another