Journaling in Difficult Times
I really hope this blog post finds you well. It's such a strange and difficult time isn't it. I've never been more thankful for my journals, to help me process my thoughts and make some notes about what's been happening each day. In this blog post, I'm going to share with you the journal pages that I've found most beneficial, in the hope that they may be of help to you too.
My daily journal has stayed a consistent part of my evening routine. I take five minutes to jot down a few lines about what has happened during the day. At the weekend, I usually decorate the right-hand page and spend a little time getting creative.
I find it really helps to get the thoughts and concerns out of my head. Reading back through my journal entries a few weeks or months later also allows me to remember how far we've come and to have hope for the future.
I also use my journal to write positive messages to myself and play with watercolour paint, stickers and washi tape. Even looking back through these journal entries now, I am surprised at how quickly I have forgotten things. I mean, how could I already have forgotten about watching Tiger King? Maybe I was trying to block it from my mind!
If you are looking for more space to write about your feelings, then you might find that a free-flow journal works really well for you. I started off by adding a little decoration to my pages, though this is a completely optional step. I then just write every thought that pops into my head. You can write as many lines as you like and even carry on for pages if this helps to make you feel a little lighter.
I feel instantly better once I've unclogged my mind. Whenever I feel that my thoughts are stuck in an uphelpful loop, or I feel blocked in some way, I start writing. It seems to bring me a sense of perspective that wasn't there before.
"Journaling is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time." Mina Murray.
I've kept a gratitude journal for a long time, but it feels even more valuable now than before. I'm really taking time to focus on and document the good things. I've found that now lots of things have been temporarily removed from our lives, the little things mean even more. I really enjoy watering the plants, feeling the sunshine on my skin, hearing the birds sing and finding plenty of food at our local supermarket.
Writing in my gratitude journal helps to centre me and move my focus onto the good things, rather than all the troubling events being reported on the news and social media. I make sure that I write at least one line in here every evening.
Recognising your own Achievements
In a similar way to my Gratitude Journal, I write a line in my Reasons to be Proud page too. At the moment, even the smallest tasks can feel like walking through treacle at times. On some days, I find that I struggle to focus properly, which is particuarly difficult when my workload is so high. I think it's really important to recognise your own achievements, no matter how small. One of my entries simply reads "Surviving the day and finding a way to laugh". On that particular day, it was a huge accomplisment.
Giving myself some praise, rather than being self-critical, is much more likely to spur me on to do even better the next day. Sometimes, just recognising that I need to take some time to relax is more than enough. Each day and set of emotions can be very unpredictable, so I try not to set unrealistic expectations for myself.
During this period of huge change, I have spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on what life will be like when things start to settle down. Whilst some of it will be outside of our conrol, I also think it's the perfect time to think about what we want to change. Life has a funny habit of sweeping us along, but maybe we don't want to take all of our past behaviours, habits, tasks and relationships into the future? It's been on my mind a lot.
This "Life Review page" was my attempt to bring a little structure to my thoughts and start planning the changes that I want to bring about. I will no doubt come back to these pages in a few weeks' time, but it's been a really helpful starting point for now.
If you're struggling to process your thoughts and words are escaping you, perhaps a sketchbook journal could help? One evening, I was finding it hard to articulate my thoughts and I had an urge to paint. This abstract page expressed my emotions perfectly and enabled me to empty my mind in a completely different way.
It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else. If playing with watercolour, spreading paint on a page with your fingers, or creating a collage feels right, then just go with it. Getting creative can be such a big release.
I really hope this blog post has given you some ideas to help with your journaling through these difficult times. I think it's important to express your thoughts, in whatever way makes the best sense to you.
For information on the journals I use, you can find all of the details here.
If you are interested in taking my online journaling workshops, the details are available here.
My journaling book is available here.
My journaling product range is available here.
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