This is the 11th in my 12 Days of Holiday Organizing series, which is part of the 12 Days of Homeschooling Fun that includes crafts, meal planning, recipes, holiday-themed study units and more! Today, we talk about how to turn holiday tasks into fun activities and drop the stress.
At the end of the day, sitting down to write about, oh, anything, seems like just one more thing on the list. Don’t underestimate the power of pen to paper! Journaling can improve your mood and leave you feeling focused, confident and calm.
Right now is a perfect time to begin journaling for a few reasons. First, I love a sale and I’ve put all journals and planners in my shop on sale through Dec. 31! Use code VKZBDAY to get 50% off all journals and planners. It’s the twins’ birthday so I thought I’d make a deal for moms out there who have their hands full this month!
This is an unusual time, one that you, and particularly your kids, will remember. Kids can learn a lot when journaling as well, particularly writing about their feelings during quarantine. Add in those details that will make this time memorable for generations to come. It’s also because of the unusual circumstances that journaling is important. Writing down feelings, events, all the bumps and beautiful things that are happening in the middle of a pandemic. The simple word pandemic doesn’t cover the complicated feelings and emotions. The whole world has been affected by shutdowns, economic losses. You aren’t alone in your feelings of being overwhelmed or at a loss.
Journaling can help you work out that thing that you can’t quite pinpoint that is bothering you. Writing can also help you figure out why that dark cloud is hanging over your head.
Where to Start for Reluctant Journal Writers
Honestly, just start. You can use a guide to take you down a path to better understanding of yourself, your motivation or to reach a goal.
Or you can answer questions, either the same every night or have a roster of questions to choose from.
- What did I accomplish today?
- What is something better today than last year?
- Who did I help today?
- When did I feel my best today?
- What can I do tomorrow to help me grow?
- Where do I want to be in a week, a month, three months?
Journaling for the Win
It can be so easy to forget all you do in your day and focus only on what you didn’t get done. A simple yet very effective way to fit journaling into your busy life is to just do it for a specified amount of time and/or a bulleted list.
For instance, set aside 15 minutes to just write all the things you enjoyed about the day. If you find yourself making to-do lists, have a separate piece of paper to jot those down and bring your focus back to all you accomplished. I find if I write all we did, I’m surprised.
We didn’t get to our history that has been piling up on our homeschool to-do list. We didn’t bake that Japanese Christmas Cake we’ve been trying to get to since we finished the unit study on that country’s holiday traditions. But we did two science projects, baked sugar and gingerbread cookies, packaged up gifts for friends far away and sent them off one day ahead of the post office deadline. We folded the clothes without incident and finally hot glued the finishing touches for the giant 4-foot wreath that hangs on the front gate.
See what I did there? Look at all we did! But in the past, I would have gone to bed with that neglected history unit hanging over my head rather than all the great things we did. Did you also see what I did there? I left myself out completely and concentrated on what the twins and I got done. Remember to bring it back to you. I am proud of the fact that I ate healthy today, even though the house is filled with soft, chewy, sugary and savory treats, from sideboard to refrigerator.
Journaling When You Just Can’t
When it’s been a tough day, I still write 5 things that make me happy. Such as having coffee with my husband before he left for work, the cuddle from the kids for no apparent reason. And on those days where it’s really rough and I’m in a mood (it happens) just writing down 5 things that are immediate, such as writing with a good pen (those who have a penchant for good ink know what I’m talking about), having time to write 5 things and, seriously, good health to have a bad mood in.
Journaling for the Long Haul
I have made journaling for self-care yet another thing to beat myself up about. I haven’t journaled in days! Another thing on my list I’m not getting to (and in that case, consult your list, cut it in half and say no a lot more, IMO). Journaling should be an outlet, not a regret. Let it go. And if you just spend 15 minutes thinking positive thoughts and going over the wins of the day rather than writing them down, that’s fine too.
Eventually, it will become a habit if it’s a good fit for your life. Queen Elizabeth the II is an avid journal writer. (I wonder if “The Crown” has popped up in her daily ruminations of what she was feeling that day.) Going over what you’ve done sharpens the mind and offers a sense of accomplishment. I find it also helps me sleep better.