It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. – Mandy Hale
We all need self-care, right?! We are human and we are worth it!
Journaling is a form of self-care. It is holistic and mentally therapeutic.
Amongst the (way too many) positives to mention, journaling can help us control our moods, and to identify both negative and positive thoughts. Journal-keeping can also help us prioritize, work out fears, frustrations, and challenges.
“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” – Mina Murray
Five Types of Journaling
There are no set rules for journal writing. Here are five basic types of journaling:
Personal Journal – Journal as if you are having a conversation with yourself. Period.
Pick up your pen and write about your day, and don’t leave out your thoughts and feelings. Write freely and do not hinder yourself with grammar or spelling perfection. Do not be surprised if you end up with a 6-page entry for one day. It happens…and it is a good thing! Remember, this is self-talk and you will learn MUCH about YOU!
Personal journaling can be a great relationship tool. You may describe how you are irritated at a loved one or confused about a co-worker, for example, and suddenly in the midst of writing, you gain a fresh perspective of the relationship. Writing is a quiet deep-thinking way to sort out what can feel impossible.
A personal journal is also a wonderful meditation tool. As you empty out your random (or otherwise) thoughts onto paper, you may unlock things from your mind as the words flow. Scary? Not so much. Think of the peace and resolve you can experience.
Prayer Journal – Write your journal in prayer to God. Consider writing your entries as praise, followed by prayer for others, and then write your personal concerns and prayer requests. If you are a writer, you may find it easier to write out a prayer than to speak it. It is normal!
Gratitude Journal – End or start your day with a short gratitude post. What are you grateful for today? Write your items of gratitude out as a list, or as several sentences (or more) a day.
Health Journal – You can record a myriad of things in a health journal. What did you eat? What form and amount of exercise did you complete? What was your trigger food? When did you feel a boost of vitality (or fatigue)? Later, when you are happy with your results (or not) your journal can be a method for determining what worked and what did not.
Entrepreneur Journal – Record your observations after you meet with a client, after your day ends, or whenever your thoughts are rich with fresh ideas. Journaling is a great tool to help you analyze where you are at and where you want to go. Don’t forget to log your next action steps. This works, trust me, it does work.
Powerful Throughout the Day Journaling
Journaling is typically done once a day, but micro-journaling throughout the day adds a powerful punch to the results.
Imagine journaling prayer/gratitude/and celebration (of your accomplishments) into one short paragraph-length entry ‘as it happens,’ in real-time. It only takes a moment to jot the words onto paper, or on a virtual notepad on your phone.
Here is what it looks like (using Jane in this example):
12/9/20 He (God) has helped me to get the content for my new business published. I prayed for days because I did not know how to get this part of the business started, yet, I now realize that I accomplished what I thought was impossible, and I did it in His grace. It flowed out from me! I did all of this today…in just ONE morning!
So, in this example, Jane attributed her accomplishments to God. She noted that God had answered her prayers. She also gave herself a pat on the back for her achievements.
The sheer act of writing our achievements down is powerful, especially for someone that has trouble identifying these areas of celebration and accomplishment…which are important factors in awareness and self-worth!
Take away: Write it down before you forget it, write it down so you have words to celebrate your accomplishments by!
Sometimes, our accomplishments come to us as revelations, meaning, we learn something surprising about ourselves, or all at once we see what is on the horizon and feel empowered to take the next step. These are perfect moments to jot it down (journal throughout the day). It keeps us accountable and true to ourselves!
Journaling is Not Expensive
Even though there are many beautiful journals available in today’s marketplace, journal-keeping does not need to be expensive. Spiral notebooks are great for journaling. Imagine buying notebooks during back-to-school sales (I’ve paid as low as 10 cents a piece for spiral notebooks).
Do you journal?
Do you journal, or do you have plans to start journaling?
My New Year’s intentions are to continue micro-journaling throughout the day. It has grown to be a powerful tool in my life and business. We are busy people, which means we often forget our achievements, our fresh ideas, etc., and journaling is a way to keep it going.
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I started the new year with no “words” for the year, meaning, no specific words to guide me in any particular direction.
As I look up at my white and bulletin board, I see a collage of many words, sayings, and scripture that I cannot say are “from the past,” as these endeavors are virtuous attempts that I do not assign completed-by dates to. After all, we are always a work-in-progress.
A week or so ago, the words “In the Present” lifted me up and nudged at my heart.
So, what does in the present mean to me? These three words tell me to live fully in the present moment, and this is a list of what I pledge to ensure it happens (in no order of importance):
- I will pick up books and frequently read. I will read the books that I already own and I will purchase new books as the year progresses.
- I will not overthink tomorrow. There is a difference between planning and worry.
- I will breathe (relax) and just be where I am planted right now. Have you ever focused on your breathing and noticed that your heart rate goes down? I do this frequently on my FitBit.
- I will work in God’s grace, meaning, I will not work at my own pace and with God’s strength—not mine.
- I will enjoy every color, scent, or design in my environment as if I am looking at life through the eyes of a child.
- I will laugh often. We forget to laugh, and laughter is an incredible and healing blessing. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)
- I will not look back at the past (except to be joyous in what I have learned).
- I will continue to rid my home of unneeded items (purge, live simply, declutter).
- I will forgive (immediately) and hold no past grudges.
- I will place no idols above God.
I am sure I have missed some promises-to-self in this short list, but that is okay because I am very much aware of my assignment, to live fully IN the present.
The last pledge, “I will place no idols above God,” deserves some explanation. When I think about idols my mind quickly forms images of statues and other material things that are a part of particular religions or spiritual practices. Idols can indeed be material things, but I describe idols as anything that we worship. This includes whatever frequently takes me away from my walk or time with God. For example, I caught myself watching a plethora of YouTube videos on a particular Christian-based topic, but this went beyond worship or celebration (of God). I became nearly obsessive with learning about a group that is considered false teachers. I spent enough time researching the group that it became obvious to me that it was dragging me away from my bible study and prayer time. It definitely did not come from God. My interest became an idol. I repented and moved on.
I think about the Scripture, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatevever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)
There is a reason we’ve been told to not worry. I believe part is the reason is to protect our own mental and physical well-being. What good are we if we wear ourselves out into a state of illness? As I say after I don’t get a full restful night of sleep, “I don’t function well.” We must function well. Our lives, and how we serve others, depends on it.
Have you made any pledges for the new year? Did you start the year with “word(s) for the year”?
Fear, as intangible as it is…we cannot lasso it with a rope and pull it in, yet it can affect our moment, day, or weeks if we allow it.
So, why allow fear to take control?
Fear is an emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous.
Fear stifles us into either not moving forward or retracting from where we are in the present.
The next time fear holds you in its grasp, face down the falsity of this evil emotion, and embrace the reality that unless you are suddenly faced with something dangerous that you cannot change—you can always get away from the lie. Kick this four-letter “F” word—fear—out of your ballpark…and don’t sell tickets to its return!
I love hobbies. Hobbies are uplifting because we do what we love without adding any perfection or time pressures. Hobbies are a positive slice in the balance of our lives.
The wonderful thing about hobbies is that they can turn into businesses, doing what we enjoy and making money at it. Win-win.
Today, I am focusing on the benefits of hobbies, not so much the business end (when the hobby becomes work).
A hobby is defined (by Webster’s) as “doing something we love in our spare time.” Meaning:
- We aren’t getting paid for our hobbies.
- Hobbies help to relieve stress.
- Hobbies are an excellent way to vanish burnout.
If you do not have any hobbies, but feel you need one, here are several ways to seek a hobby out:
Dig into your past. What did you enjoy doing that you might want to do today? What do others do that you might want to do?
Visit places you do not normally frequent, and be mindful of your interests:
- Antique store
- Hobby store or show
- Second hand store
- Flea market
- Farmer’s market
- Tool store
- Music store (instruments and recorded music)
Read DIY books. Either purchase the books or visit the library. You Tube is also a great way to discover interests.
Finding a hobby that fits your personality is important. If you have little patience, you might not want to select a hobby that requires weeks, or months, to see the end results. If you lack in patience, pick up a project that can be finished quickly.
I believe hobbies are important to us in life. Our hobby may be as simple as collecting books or music, or collecting beads for jewelry, but this is time that is invested in us, which invokes creativity, and eases stress out of our core.
What hobbies do you partake in? These are some of mine: jewelry making (wire earrings and bracelets), aromatherapy (certified, but enjoy delving in just for me), sewing (aprons, yes, I lack in patience but love this hobby), reading (How many books are you currently reading? Depends upon your mood, right?), writing (I keep journals, which is the hobby end of my writing), soap making (was a business, now a great hobby).
We all have moments when we feel overworked or tired. Sometimes it is obvious that we need a break, but we are often so deep into overwhelm that we cannot pinpoint the why or what, or how to fix it.
The differences between how we feel and function when we are overworked or tired are very subtle, in fact, they can cross over.
- Decreased creativity and productivity in our work
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Decreased stamina, power, and speed
- Decreased joy in life
- Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
- Emotions are unstable – shifting from irritable, short-tempered, to sad
- Loss or gain of weight (too tired to eat vs. eating in hopes of an energy gain)
- Unable to focus on exercise
- Feeling of stress
- Weak or short attention span
- Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
- Fuzzy minded
The feeling of being fuzzy-minded is the key difference between feeling overworked and feeling fatigued. When we feel overworked we may lose touch with joy, but we do not necessarily feel a lack of clarity. We still function as far as thinking is concerned when we are overworked, but we feel frustration and this drags us down in production.
In comparison, you can safely drive a car when you are overworked. In fact, you may feel you drive better under these circumstances. When you are tired your attention span is short. You do not think clearly, which narrows your driving ability down to unsafe levels.
Have you ever felt overworked, yet, everything felt blurred, to the point you could not figure out how to resolve it? You may have been overworked, but if the hammer had dropped the verdict would have been YOU WERE TIRED.
The steps to correcting overwork are:
- Say no
- Set limits (schedule work hours and stick to it)
The steps to fixing tired are:
- Get adequate sleep
- Shut down early before going to sleep (turn off the phone and anything related to online)
- Exercise appropriately
- Eat well and drink water
Burnout is also close in line behind the symptoms of overworked and tired.
You may feel:
- Most days are bad days
- Exhausted nearly all of the time
- Spend the day doing tasks that feel overwhelming or not interesting
- Nothing you do seems to make a difference or feels appreciated
Burnout affects your body, home, work, and social life. It is like a shipwreck in progress. You hit a rock and the boat begins to fall apart.
Here’s what you can do to kick burnout to the curb:
- Manage stress – get it under control
- Increase social contact (but do not expect people to fix you)
- Exercise (focus on the health of your body…make it tick well)
- Find value in what you do (or just be, you don’t have to DO!)
- Balance life (life, work, friends, family, whatever you value in your personal world)
- Take time off (for YOU)
- Eat healthy and drink water
- Set boundaries
- Take a break from technology
What do these 9 steps do for you? #1, nourishment of creativity through increased health and relaxation. It is like closing a gate to something that sucks the life out of you.
This is your mission…watch your body and mind for signs of fatigue, burnout, or overwork. Know the difference between the three, and nurture yourself through awareness and prevention.
Are you super busy? Does your day not feel normal if you aren’t working, or if you aren’t on the go?
Do you often feel something is missing in your life?
I see myself in all of the above from time to time. We all do.
What I have discovered is how my fast paced daily work-life carries into my home life. I tend to feel uneasy when I sit still, and I feel the urge to get up and produce something.
Our personalities are different, of course. Some of us are driven by production, some are driven by peaceful rest.
Think about people that you know that curl their legs beneath them and focus on a book with total abandonment to the world. Or, they take a walk, and they do not look at their phone while they do so. They enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, or nature. They sleep at night without wondering what they will do to manage an unfinished project at work. They pray in their quiet space each day, or several times a day, taking beautiful care of their mental and spiritual health. They turn Facebook off for 24 hours, or longer, and it does not leave them feeling like they are missing out on things of importance. They sit down with their baby, delighting in tiny wisps of laughter, instead of mopping the floor.
What do we do to shut it all off, to find peace (slow the pace down), to bring on the sense of complete in our world?
First, we realize that work will always be work. In other words, it is never-ending, and the only thing that separates us from it is to stand up and walk away. We close the door behind us and say work is never finished, but our work-life is.
Second, we realize that it is okay to sit still. It is okay to unload our minds and be quiet. It is okay to turn off the phone, or at least, to only check it occasionally for emergency calls or texts. It is okay to tell our friends that we are shutting down…and God bless the friends that urge you to do this!
List the top 10 things that you personally value in life. Arrange this list by the most (#10) to the least important.
Of these top 10 things, write down what you have completed from the list today.
If your top 10 thing is to write, have you written today?
If your #10 is to connect with family, have you called your mother, sister, or brother today?
If your top 10 item is to enjoy nature, have you enjoyed nature today?
So, you don’t have a load of time today for the most valuable things on your list, how about #5, #3, or #1?
Post your list to the dash of your car, your refrigerator, on at the top of your calendar in your work space.
Make it a practice to make choices from your own personal value list each and every day.
The fidgety feeling of “What am I missing?,” or, “What should I do today?,” will ease itself off because you will be focusing your life on what you value.
Let me know as it works for you.
The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important becuase of how long you life, you are important because of how effective you live. – Myles Munroe
I am in the process of building a website for my coaching business.
When the new site name jumped out at me (it is exactly the message that I want to convey), I scooped up the domain and began the process of pointing it to the website. I’ve been through this process numerous times so I felt it would be a smooth deal. I knew I would have a published website in no time flat.
After waiting 24 hours, I discovered that I had input one DNS number incorrectly. There would be no additional stumbling blocks ahead, right?
After I returned home from work the following day, I eagerly logged onto my lap-top to check out my new website. No. Nope. Na-da. The site still had not published.
Nearly a full week later, 6 days to be exact, with my head feeling like it was in a whirlpool and swirling downwards fast, I decided to push my stubbornness aside and I requested help from live chat. I carefully laid out the history of my troubles, and I asked, “What am I missing?” The chat person asked me for my domain name. After a pause, they replied, “Nobody owns that domain.” In disbelief I typed, “No way!” I quickly erased the words as reality sunk in.
Was it possible? What had I done? WiseWomenOfNobleCharacter was WiseWomanOfNobleCharacter. In my hurry, coupled with a lack of sleep, and in the pursuit of getting something important finished (all too) quickly, I had missed my new business website name by one character.
What happened that day is a common occurence…caused by speeding through a task, allowing frustration to take the lead, coupled with looking for a big problem, when indeed it was, and often is, something small.
My friend, Kayla, of Red Cedar Bison, and Selah Press, was operating the booth at her local farm market that morning. She posted on her Facebook page, “You know your market samples are good when we are nearly out of samples by 10 am. One lady said the sample was like a party in her mouth.” Kayla is one of the most optimistic women that I know. As simple as her statement was that morning, it spoke to me clearly. I was not working in a cheerful way, and I was rushing through what could have been a joyous time. How was I with giving out samples (of smart coaching), if I was only raising my blood pressure and running on the fuel of a flustered spirit?
Moral to this story: Take your time. Ask for help. Get enough sleep. Don’t expect big things to go wrong, and inspect the small things. Enjoy the process! Do not detract from the creativity that you possess!
Moliere said it well, “The trees that are slow to grow bear the most fruit.”
(By the way…I purchased both domain names. If I made that mistake, so will someone else. Covered.)