I feel like a straight up psychopath these days. This second COVID lockdown has been so much more difficult for me than the first one. On top of that, we're in the middle of predeployment/deployment transitions over here. I haven't talked about any of the deployments we've gone through in the past publicly. Usually, I feel so tough when it comes to deployments. I understand they're part of the job. I understand that they are unpredictable. But this deployment in the middle of a global pandemic during an election year where the world seems so incredibly divided is kind of crushing me. Between our restrictions constantly changing and putting my in person classes on hold I'm just straight up not having a good time. Not only am I basically standing on my hands in different parts of my apartment all day long (and watching wayyyy too much netflix), but soon I won't even have a husband to annoy in the evenings. I feel emotionally drained and exhausted. But I know I'll make it through this. I always do. I have a great support group, and I have excellent self care. (I honestly feel so much better already after simply writing this blog post!)
I wanted to talk about some of the ways I am trying to keep my sanity in tact. I try to mediate, practice yoga, exercise, cook, read, catch up on trash tv and take plenty of long baths. One thing I do everyday without fail, is journal. You may have noticed if you're following me on Instagram or Facebook that I sometimes give journaling prompts. Also, if you joined me for the Morning Manifestation Project you know that everyday there was a journaling prompt. I only really started journaling earlier this year while I was in India, so I am no expert. But, this self care practice has been so impactful for me.
Similarly to a lot of self care methods I talk about on social media, I get a lot of questions about journaling. Well, I get a lot of "I'd really like to journal, but I don't know where to start." I've had a few of my friends/students ask me for more journaling prompts because this is something they want to continue. In this blog post I'm going to talk about what you need to start journaling, different types of journaling, how to get started, and what to do if you fall off.
Journaling is an excellent self care practice. It can help you be aware of your thoughts and emotions, help you reach goals, lower anxiety and promote healthier sleep habits, improve your communication skills, and spark your creativity. As always, I am here for anything that gets you more in tune with your body, mind, and spirit. The more you're aware of yourself and your needs the better you can perform in the world.
What you need to start journaling:
You need a journal, a writing utensil, and time.
That's it. It's really simple. I've said it many times before, and I will say it again: there is some magic to putting pen to paper. When we physically write we change our thoughts into real tangible things that can be read. Letting thoughts escape from our minds and exist in reality (even if it is just a journal that no one will read except you). This is why journaling is a big part of manifestation.
Pick out a journal. It can be big or small or colorful or black and white. The choice is totally yours. I pick bright pink, shiny, colorful, and floral journals because of the person that I am. The happier it makes you the more likely you are to use it. (This is a rule I live by!)
Use the same guidelines for picking your writing utensil. You'd be surprised at home many people get excited over a nice pen. I have certain pens that I use for journaling, and I always use black in my journal. You can use whatever color floats your boat.
Lastly, time. This is what gets people. You can journal in the morning when you wake up, or before you go to bed, or in the middle of the day if you feel like it. I personally wake up, walk my dogs, make my coffee, then sit down to journal. I've already moved my body so I feel more awake, this is my time to get centered and think about the day ahead and reflect about the day I had yesterday. Some people learned during the MMP that the prefer to journal at night instead of the morning. I love this because sometimes you have to try something to find out it isn't a good fit for you. So play with when you want to journal.
Also, there is no right or wrong amount of time, so don't put any pressure on yourself. Some people find it hard to write so try setting a timer for a few minutes and simply write until the timer runs out. Maybe you set aside 5 minutes or 30 minutes. The choice is yours. I personally write until I fill one page entirely, then I'm finished for the day.
Different types of journaling:
Oh man, there are so many different types of journaling I'm only going to briefly explain a few. If I happen to leave off your favorite I do apologize.
- Gratitude Journal
These are great. I think gratitude is one of the most important components to our happiness. With this type of journal you simple write down one or a few things that you are grateful for and why. This can be as simple as a few words, a few paragraphs, or a few pages. I actually start off each of my daily journal entries with something I am grateful for.
Bullet journals are amazing because they can look and be whatever you want. These are the journals These are typically for people that like to be very organized and creative. You can create lists, track your mood and habits, set and review goals. These are usually the amazingly stunning journals you see people creating on instagram. I am a big ole organized unorganized mess. My life is always a little bit chaotic, but it is also a bit under control. I find that I have too much freedom in creating bullet journals and I never make it more than a few pages into the planning before I've given up. Maybe this is the right type of journal for you to express your creativity.
-Free Writing Dairy Journal
Okay, okay, I just made that title up. This is how I describe the type of journaling I do. I start all of my journal entries with a gratitude and an intention, but then I just write about whatever I feel like. Sometimes how my morning started, or what I have planned for the day, or what big things happened yesterday or things I have coming up for the week. I talk about my emotions and my plans. I like this type of freedom in my writing. I can also use journaling prompts whenever I want.
This is an amazing type of journaling for beginners. These are journals that have prompts built right into them. Authors have written these prompts typically in a specific order to get you thinking or take you down a certain self awareness path. If you want to start journaling, but don't know what to write about these are a great way to break into journaling.
Okay, so I have one of these too. I break my own rule with this one, I keep my dream journal on my phone. I typically don't remember my dreams. I wouldn't say I don't dream, but I don't usually remember them. They are also b-a-n-a-n-a-s! As soon as I wake up from a crazy dream I grab my phone and write it down so I can remember and analyze it later.
- Art Journal
This one is so good! I've seen one drawing a day journals and I love them. Being creative is so important. I also believe our society has programed us to think that if we aren't really good at something we shouldn't do it. That, my friends, is straight up garbage. Doodle, draw, paint, no one said it has to be good. If it makes you happy then doooooo ittttt. We can never fully be who we are if we're too afraid to create crappy art that makes us happy.
How to get started:
This one is like jumping into the cold pool early summer. You're just going to have to jump right in. Of course, you can dip your toe and and say "oh man, that's cold" and sit on the side instead. However, you're not going to get the full benefits of swimming. Swimming is a great full body exercise that is easy on the joints and it's a lot of fun. Journaling can be the same type of self care exercise for you mentally. I truly believe this is a practical and easy way for everyone to get my in tune with themselves. We are constantly bombarded with workouts and "in just 20 minutes a day" you can be ripped. (Don't get me started on impossible beauty standards and dieting!) It is so important to take care of your physical body. Not just to look good in a swimsuit, but to feel better and be healthier. But it is equally important to take care of ourselves mentally. A little bit of self care goes a long way, even 5 minutes a day. So does talking to a counselor. I don't suggest that journaling is a means to avoid seeking professional help. I simply suggest it as an easy means of self care to incorporate into your daily life.
So jump in, and keep jumping in. Start today. Try journaling right now or tonight before you go to bed. I saw a meme that said "my diet always starts on the same day: tomorrow". Don't let that be your journaling practice. Start now!
What to do if you fall off:
You're going to laugh at this one. If you fall out of practice journaling, just start again. It sounds so simple, and yet it is so difficult. I spent my first two years in Okinawa taking Japanese lessons. Then I stopped before I went to India. Then COVID happened and I can't take classes anymore. And I kept putting off starting my offline classes. Before I knew it I had been 6 months since I took a Japanese lesson. I also haven't been visiting bars or restaurants and practicing my Japanese either. The longer we are away from something the harder it seems to go back. I just started lessons again this week. I also did the same with my yoga practice. I stopped teaching for an entire year. I stopped practicing for most of that year as well. Then when I finally hit my mat I was shocked at what I could still do, and what had fallen away from a year of neglect. The thing is, if I let myself get wrapped up in the "it's been too long" I never would have started again. I never would have rekindled the passion of something I love. So don't give up. Even if it has been a while, or if you forget for a few days or weeks. Pick it back up, reintroduce yourself, practice what fell off, and honor what is still there.
So that's it
There is my little bit about journaling and my personal share about my life and deployments. Thanks for listening and I hoped this helped. I am always so happy to talk about any of these things!
Love and Light,