Last week I spoke on how writing has been used in my life and in my practice as a mental help therapist to help myself and others move from just surviving to thriving. I was supposed to do a midweek post to show you all how journaling is done in my personal life and offer some tips to help you successfully get the benefits of journaling in your mental health journey, but last week was one of the busiest weeks of my year to date, and well.. it simply didn’t happen.
By the time Thursday was over, I was discouraged and quite sad that I had failed to deliver as I said I would and I will be honest. For a few minutes I was really beating myself up internally. Then I remembered, a part of the process of fighting against your mental illness, is to recognize that you can’t be perfect. Sometimes you will miss the mark and there will definitely be times where your life does not allow you to do all that you want to do.
So instead of continuing to beat myself up about it, I decided to use it as a teaching moment to remind you all, that even when you can’t get everything you would like to get done, accomplished, you are still enough. Prioritize, do your best, and when all else fails, go to sleep and wake up refreshed enough to try again the next day.
Now that we have cleared the air with that one, I do want to invite you all a little into my world of journaling.
As I said in last Monday’s post, I have basically been journaling to some extent for a long as I can remember. This year, I have not only been intentional about journaling, but I have also been intentional about keeping track of my goals, progress and how my days are going. In order to make progress in any area of your life, you must be able to acknowledge how you are currently doing.
Below is my rate your year daily tracker. This year is my first year using this and honestly, it’s something that I will probably use every year because it has been so helpful.
This portion of my journal allows me to track each day and rate it, a great day, good day, a so-so day, a bad day or a horrible day. This is so good for me, because it allows me to really reflect on my days at the end of each day and recognize that a bad moment, does not equate to a bad day. I may have hated the 12pm hour of my day, but over all my day was really good and I can track that here and then write details on the regular pages of my journal. So far this year, I have had mostly good days, one great day and two so-so days… hasn’t been a bad year so far and that in itself is encouraging.
Aside from keeping track of my days, I journal during my quite time with God and studying my Bible, as well as my thoughts, feelings and whatever else I need to release for the day.
Above are most of my full journals since 2014. A few are missing, because I don’t know where I put them, but this picture allows you to get a good view of how serious I take this journaling thing. Honestly, journaling has saved my life.
Below you will see a bit into my recent study time and quite time and time of reflection. These are actual inserts from the pages of my current journal and a look into how I maintain my balance and keep my sanity. Its so important to me when journaling that I write a lot about my spirituality and relationship with God, because it has been a driving force in me being able to overcome difficulties with my mental health.
As you can see, these journal entries not only deal with my spirituality, but they deal with my mental. They allow me to really release at the end of each day. Sometimes on the pages of my journals, there are nothing but tears. Sometimes, I write so much that my hand hurts.
If you have never tried journaling, I encourage you to do so. Sometimes people simply wont understand what we are going through. They won’t get how we feel or how our mental is impacting our lives. One thing that we can’t deny is that even when the world doesn’t get it, our journals wont reject us. If you would like to see how journaling makes a difference in your life, I encourage you to start with a 90 day journal challenge. Journal daily or as often as possible for 90 days and pay attention to how much of a release you get from it as well as watch your progress over the next 90 days.
Trust me, I understand that that struggle is definitely sometimes real. Journaling is one way that we can work to overcome our difficulties and deal with our emotions concerning them. While the struggle will always be real at times, the goal is overcome every mental encounter.