Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Sundays are a great day for slowing down & taking stock (& yes, eating delicious croissants!).
Autumn is also a great point-in-time for doing the same; for slowing down & taking stock. In fact, it always seems to me like a better, kinder, more ‘doable’ time of year than New Year’s for sorting out bits & bobs on the home-front & on the self-care & helpful healthy routine front too. We get to set ourselves up for winter, feeling that little bit more centred, settled & cosy.
This is where keeping a journal can help. Writing down just a handful of tasks, not over-committing ourselves, being able to actually achieve & complete something - this all helps us feel more at ease, more with it, more 'present'. And don't forget or underestimate getting to experience the distinct nerdy joy of ticking items off as done 😉.
Our journal entries definitely do not need to be limited to tasks & To-Do Lists. We can note down any amusing moments, beautiful sights, great ideas or circumstances where we have had cause to pause & be grateful.
Doing this, just for a couple of minutes, writing down a few sentences or even bullet-points has a great effect on our mental health. It can boost our mood; it gives us the chance to be mindful.
Writing things down in a physical way, by hand into a notebook, helps to release stress when done at night before bed. This in turn can actually boost our productivity the next day! It’s as if we have cleared away mental junk (just like our bedtime routine of washing our face, brushing our teeth & flossing) so that overnight our brain gets to spend less time worrying & sorting & more time dreaming & regenerating itself. This bears repeating - just the simple act of writing helps us clear out a jumbled, over-busy mind & this in turn, helps spark our creativity & performance.
I keep mine by my bed; I use a great specifically-designed journal that my lovely sister-in-law gave me for Christmas one year. There is just enough space for each day. It’s not dated so if I do miss a day, there’s no self-chastisement at that date going missed/unused. I simply get to add the date myself each time.
Using a specific book, maybe a lovely self-gift & even a particular nice pen makes it all a little bit more ritual-esque too, more habit-forming. Last thing at night, most nights, my routine goes like this. The 5 minute 'evening tidy-up' (see Gretchen Rubin for more on this handy habit); then pre-bed bathroom time; & then finally, I spray my pillow with my Goodnight Pillow Mist, write in my journal, rub in some hand-cream then hop into bed with my book 😴.
Give it a go - go with the journalling flow.
“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” - John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer.