Checking in with yourself is just as important as checking in with your kids. Journaling is a great way to get thoughts from endlessly buzzing around your head. But how do you begin?
- Find a Journal You Love. It might sound silly, but really, there’s something about a pretty journal that just inspires you to fill the pages.
- Let Go of Perfectionism. Your journal is for you and you alone, so don’t worry about trying to sound smart or composed. It’s also not a to-do list, or a log of your COVID-19 goals; it’s all about being with your emotions and tending to your needs day by day.
- Don’t Hold Back. When you write with unfiltered honesty about what you’re feeling, it can be just as comforting and clarifying as a long talk with a good friend. There’s no room for judgment or comparative suffering here, so try to take it easy on yourself.
- Reframe Your Perspective. While your journal is a great place to let out your frustrations, it’s also true that intentionally looking for the positive can be just as healing. If you’re looking to boost your mindset, try taking note of what others have done for you, things that you’re grateful for or the small moments of hope and beauty you’ve observed.
- Record Your Daily Life. If pouring out your heart in writing doesn’t come naturally to you, that’s okay! Try recording the day’s events, even if it’s something mundane as, “Took the dog for a walk.” Just logging your routine will still be surprising and interesting to you later on, when you look back at this strange moment in time. As you get comfortable jotting down your thoughts, you’ll likely find that it prompts some emotion, bit by bit.
- Tune Into the Present. Mindfulness is all about cultivating an awareness of the present moment, and can be a huge help in taming anxiety. Whenever you’re feeling particularly edgy, find a quiet place to sit with your journal. Create a chart with five sections: Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch and Sound. Then, close your eyes and call to mind a few things under each section that make you feel peaceful and at ease in the world. Maybe it’s the sound of your friends laughing, the taste of your grandma’s famous cookies or the smell of the ocean. Once you’re done, re-create each sensory experience as vividly as you can in your mind’s eye for a dose of instant comfort!
- Have Fun! This is your journal, so above all have fun with it and feel free to pick and choose which of the above tips feel most true to you.
Don’t consider it homework. Consider it self-care. Putting pen to paper is a great first step.
For more tips, check out the CA Parents’ Corner blog.
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“The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson