I wish I was one of those people who wake up, meditate, exercise, make the perfect breakfast and basically do everything in the how-to-have-a-perfect-morning guidebook. I, on the other hand, wake up startling to the sound of my alarm, stumble my way to my office desk, start my computer while I brush quickly and then log into my office work.
Boy that sounded bad as I laid it out like that!
But that’s the reality for most of us working from home. We start the day in a rush, get through the day multi-tasking and balancing plates on our noses, and then crash at night without taking 5 minutes to breath slowly.
After becoming a mom of my 2 girls, I never expected life to be so hasty. My mom was a stay-at-home mom while she raised my brother and me. And when we were at school and my dad was at work, she did everything around the house and cooked snacks and food for us. After school, she fed us, we played, then showered and she helped us with our homework and then we all slept. She did it so effortlessly that I always thought that since I was also at home [though working an office job], I would be the same. Relaxed and doing everything efficiently without anxiety, like my mom did. But I am NOT! It wasn’t easy for my mom; it’s not for me; it’s not for you either.
Our society is so plagued with the idea of multitasking and to-do-lists and high productivity that we mock those who do something even slightly slower than the rest of us. I am just as guilty as the rest of us. I am a list-maker, planner, working at 200% capacity despite an aching tailbone kind of worker too. But I am tired now. I am tired of being automatic all the time. I am tired of doing something because it’s expected of me. I am tired of running the race that I may or may not win. And honestly, it does not matter. The so-called race, if it was not defined by you, it does not matter. Doing what you don’t like, or what does not fill you with content and happiness, do not matter.
The one good thing about the corona virus lock-down is that it put breaks in everyone’s fast-paced life. There are many bad things about this outbreak, but for those of us always on the conveyor belt, it made us slow down. Slow down and review, reorganize, and reflect on our lives.
Despite our busy lives and rickety morning/evening routines, there is one thing that we all need to start doing. Something that we all know about, have heard about, and probably even thought of doing many times before, but couldn’t do it. And that is, daily journaling.
Now wait a second. Before you run away, hear me out!
Journaling is where you put pen to paper and dish out everything you are feeling or thinking. This method of journaling is called a brain dump. There are no rules or writing styles to journals, however, it is a good way to clear your mind and relax.
For eons, scientists, writers, and many creative minds practiced the art of journaling. Now you don’t have to be a scientist or a writer to write your thoughts and ideas. All you need is a pencil/pen, a notebook, and the desire to let it all flow out onto the page.
Brain studies show that when you are journaling/writing, the left hemisphere of your brain is active. This side of your brain is analytical and rational and when the left side of the brain is busy journaling, it gives the right hemisphere of the brain time to do what it does best; sharpen creativity skills, memory, holistic thinking, feelings visualization, and imagination.
Other Benefits of Journaling
1. Reduces stress and anxiety – of course when you spill your thoughts and feelings on the paper, your mind will get relaxed and calm.
2. Coping mechanism – many therapists and doctors recommend journaling to cope with depression, PTSD, and other issues that our mind /body faces.
3. Organize your thoughts and ideas – allows you to track your ideas and then work on them later. Ideas and creativity often spark when least expected.
4. Allows us to gain perspective – once you start journaling, you can flip back to your journals and gain perspective from your life.
5. Allows you to track your problems and work on it.
6. Helps identify negative thoughts or any frustration that may be plaguing your mind.
7. Allows you to count your blessings.
Now that you know the benefits of journaling, here is what to do.
Starting today write 3 things you were grateful for during the day. You do not have to write a lot but if you want to, go ahead. However, in order to see major changes in your thoughts, feelings, and to relax the chaotic mind, write down your gratitude list for the day. Your writing does not have to be perfect –forget about grammar or spelling etc.; just be honest and authentic about your feelings and write as if you are writing your super-secret diary.
In the bustle of our daily lives, we often forget to make time for our mental health. We vent inwards, bottle feelings, fume inside, and never make time for small victories in our life.
Journaling is a great way to self-reflect and have a one on one with yourself!
It is a perfect way to vent out the negative, celebrate and remember the positive, and be open and honest with yourself. If you are new to journaling, start by writing only 3 things you are grateful for that day. It can be anything as simple as finishing all your chores early, or something that your little one said, or maybe you got some time in your day to do something nice for yourself.
Anything goes…just put pen to paper! Get a simple notebook [Walmart has them for .30c], and just start. Trust me, you will FEEL AMAZING! It’s like yoga for your brain. 😉
I started writing a few lines everyday for the past several weeks now. And it has helped me immensely. It helped me wallow my bad days, vent out my anger, note the fun and positive moments with my girls from the day, and write what I feel and miss in that moment. It is only a few lines every night, but that was all I needed to clear my head before a good night’s sleep.
If you feel that time would be an issue, then pick another time of the day that works better for you. Trust me, taking up journaling will help you calm down after a busy and chaotic day of work, kids, family, and home life.
It’s the perfect way to tune out everything and everyone and just be alone with yourself!
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