Today I thought I would share a bit about how journaling and using an agenda (basically writing stuff down in a calendar) has helped me tremendously lately. I am trying to keep this habit going. Somedays its harder than others, you get it right?
I just love journals, diaries and little notebooks and pens. The only person I know that may love them more than me is my Mom. We are quite the pair when we shop together or even if we are not together. We often are drawn to all the same ones. I have started and never finished so many journals over the years. They are scattered around the house in strange places, not neatly organized according to colour or date! They have random photos, news clippings or the kids’ art tucked in them. It sounds very eclectic, doesn’t it? It’s not. It is basically a mess that I never planned, but that I wouldn’t change. I mean, I have to leave one diary/journal in a lonesome box of stuffed animals, hydro bills, recipes and mouse droppings right? Long after I am gone, I hope the grandkids stumble upon one and get a glimpse into my life at that time. Then hopefully a movie will be made about me…Yes, I am a dreamer.
I am going to give you a few tricks to get started, or keep going with your journal.
Always have a pen with you. You may have just got gas, grabbed your receipt and had a funny memory pop into your head. If you have a pen, you can jot your thought down on the back of your receipt (while the peeps behind you honk for you to get going!). When you get home, you can shove it into your already messy life journal. Another trick my kids like to use is writing on your arm or hand. I mean to each his/her own y’know.
Create a special room in your home just for journaling - Wait WHAT?!?! I am so frigging kidding here. Just journal anywhere, anytime, with any music on, any drink or snack beside you or any people in the room. By yourself or on a plane. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE you journal. Trust me, life is not a Pinterest page and if yours is, then I can’t help you. I am sorry, you must get your inspiration and tools from some other place.
Use jot notes or bullet points. You do not have to write a book here. Seriously, jot down the basics of something special. That’s it. Here is an example :
Monday Sept. 17/18
-drove to Scarb. for a bball tryout for O
- huge life lesson for us both
-grateful to learn the hard stuff in life.
-this kid is brave
- love love love
- Maddy started co-op - GLOWING
Put it on your to do list and check it off. This is a funny one. To say I struggle a bit with memory is an understatement. So EVERYTHING goes on my list. Well almost everything (I only had to record my pee breaks right after chemo). For example, today’s to do list looks like this, in no particular order, because that just adds pressure:
-practice yoga (any kind any amount)
-make chia pudding
-blog/respond to emails/banking
- get dressed, optional
-meditation walk in the backyard
-fold some laundry, maybe
-eat, drink lots of water and coffee
I cannot divulge how much of my list got done today…that is top secret.
5. A journal does not have to be a lovely hardcover notebook or a blog on a website (do you see where I am going with this?), it can be on the calendar on the fridge, or scraps of loose paper in a pile, then shoved in an overstuffed drawer. It looks the way it looks, it just is. So start jotting things down!
6. GRATITUDE! I am shouting this. I have read some superb stuff about gratitude journaling. No, I can’t share because I can’t remember where I read this. Did I mention my memory is struggling? Google it and you will see what I mean. What I do remember however, is that jotting down a feeling, thought, or memory you are grateful for, improves mental health. How can it not?
7. I don’t have a seventh.
Journaling has been very therapeutic for me for my whole life, but especially since my diagnoses. I can keep track of pain, meds, thoughts, feelings, meltdowns, hunger etc. etc. You get it. I highly recommend this form of mindfulness. You won’t be sorry, well unless you write something totally inappropriate and leave it at a bus stop with your name and address on it. Then as the person rings your doorbell (because they just HAVE to meet the person that wrote this inappropriate crap down) you blush and say thank-you. They say, you are welcome Mrs. Han Solo.