A healthy mind influences a healthy body, and as a result, a healthy lifestyle. As we enter week 2 in the Educator Self-Care Sunday Series, I'd like to speak to the importance of prioritizing the health of the mind by means of journaling.
5 Reasons Why Journaling Should Be a Part of your Self-Care Routine
Discipline: Setting aside days and times to write, whether it be everyday or every couple of days, is an act of discipline. Think of discipline as a muscle: the more it is exercised, the stronger it will become. Furthermore, honing in on this skill in one area will allow it to positively influence additional aspects of our lives. Discipline with journaling can lead to discipline with exercising, reading, eating healthy, etc.
Emotional Intelligence: Not only does journaling help us process and manage our emotions, this practice also to supports us in processing and understanding the emotions of others. As a result, journaling can lead to an increase in understanding and empathy for people and what they are experiencing.
Healing: As people, we sometimes carry the baggage from past negative experiences through life. Writing about these experiences supports us in clearing emotional blockages, as we release and process feelings that they left with us. Journaling about our past experiences can help to set us free.
Managing Anxiety or Depression: The feelings of anxiety and sadness can be minimized through focused examination through writing. Writing through anxiety and depression can help shift thoughts from ruminative to solution-oriented.
Identify Triggers: As you write freely you are bound to notice trends in what and how you write. Taking a deeper dive can help you figure out why you are writing about specific things. What is the catalyst? It could be a person, environment, task, etc. If you can pinpoint trends in your writing, this can help you identify problems, solutions, and coping strategies.
Tips for Journaling
Write What you Feel: Journaling doesn't have to have a specific structure if that's not something that you would like. Start by writing how you feel. Some ideas include but are not limited to: reflecting on your day, writing about something that made you feel anxious, expressing feelings of happiness or sorrow, writing about personal events and how they made you feel, writing letters to yourself or other people (writing letters to people can help especially if you are having difficulties communicating with a specific person), and the list goes on.
Materials: Journal in a way that is best suited for you. You may prefer to write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal OR you might choose to do so using an iPad or a tablet. Do what feels good.
Be Consistent: If you want to lose weight you must eat healthy and work out regularly, if you want clearer skin, you must establish a daily skin routine, the same goes for journaling. Be consistent! Whether you establish specific days and times that you will journal or you pick a time that you will write daily, establish a schedule and stick to it!
Revisit and Analyze: Circle back to things you have written in the past. What do you notice? While you are re-reading your past work, resist the urge to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Your thoughts and feelings are valid, and its an honorable practice to process these thoughts for the betterment of not only your life, but the lives of people who come into contact with you. That being said, make note of any common themes in your writing and turn them into problems with actionable steps.
Make a list of 10 reasons why you are grateful. Tip: try to include as little material items as possible.