Updated: Jan 20
Description: This week we will be combating anxiety, depression, stress, and trauma through one very simple method. Create a safe space for you to write your worries away, record your gratitudes, and savor moments you want to cherish forever. We so want to know how this week goes for you. Resources: 1. See more benefits of journaling here. If this link doesn't work, copy this URL into a new browser: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/
2. See the New York Times article on journaling here. If this link doesn't work, copy this URL into a new browser: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/style/journaling-benefits.html
3. Julia Cameron's Morning Pages can be very helpful to get started. If this link doesn't work, copy this URL into a new broswer: https://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/
The Self-Care for Educators team cares about the content-accessibility for all educators. If you have trouble accessing the audio for the podcast, the transcription has been provided below. Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode eight of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren, and this week ... this week, the invitation is to try journaling.
Now, please, please, please hear me out. If some of you just kind of went, "Nope, not for me", I beg you to stick with me for this. You can ... you can try it this week, and then if you hate it, you have full permission to drop it.
But, there's so many benefits that I want us to think about here around journaling. So, I'll give you some background. Personally, I have written in a journal for as long as I can remember. Right now, in my garage are boxes and boxes of old journals that make me cringe thinking about them. But journaling has always been how I kind of process my world, the world in general ... It's where I record my daily gratitude statements and intentions. It's where you jot down new ideas. It's where I record quotes that stand out to me. I write down funny things that I overhear in restaurants or funny conversations that I've had with someone that I want to hold onto and remember. It's where I write the nasty letter that I would never send, but that it just it feels so good to get out of my system. It's where I yell and scream. And it's just all of the things. It is just like my safe place to get the crazy thoughts out of my head and onto the paper so that I can let some of that go. And the notion of keeping a journal isn't just my idea. Obviously many of you—I am certain—already do this, but there's also so much research behind this.
Quite honestly, there is scientific evidence that proves that when we find time to journal, we can clarify what we're thinking and feeling. It helps us get to know ourselves better. That's a huge one. It reduces stress. It can help us solve problems more effectively. It can be a tool to help us resolve disagreements with others. I mean, it is incredible. It is helpful for combating anxiety and depression and stress and trauma. And we, you don't have to consider yourself a writer, please don't get that confused. This is not about spelling or punctuation or grammar ... no one is coming at it with a red pen. This is just a safe place for you to manage some of those big emotions that we're probably feeling these days.
There's no right or wrong way to do this. You basically just need a place to write. I like to write on paper. I'm sitting here at my desk giggling, because I can see right now in front of me 10 empty journals that I am so excited to get to. I love ... oh gosh ... I love a good journal. Oh my goodness. That's where I spend my money: journals and books and writing utensils. It doesn't have to be anything fancy though. A good old composition notebook is great. A spiral notebook with Snoopy on the front? Fantastic. A Google Doc on your computer works amazing. Sticky notes ... just somewhere that you can write. So this week, that's what I want you to try. I want you to just see if it helps. If you are someone that maybe has journaled in the past and hasn't for a while, maybe this is something you want to revisit.
Maybe this is flat out brand new for you, and you're going to pick out the notebook that you want to use to write in. Here's my best advice—if that is you—sometimes the most intimidating thing is the blank page. Especially if you buy a beautiful notebook, there's something about "Whoa, I'm going to mess it up." So, I got this piece of advice from the writer, Anne Lamott, one of my favorites. She says open up that notebook and on the first page just scribble, so it's already ruined, Right? Just scribble on the first page, and then just start writing if you are someone that already does this. Oh my goodness. I hope you jump into the conversation on the Facebook page and give us some more tips and tricks and ideas.
So you're going to need to figure out ... kind of play this week ... as I said, what works for you? Most people journal in the morning or in the evening, but there's no rules around that. I personally journal in the morning. It's part of my morning routine. I do a few different things in my journal, but something that every single day I do—I've shared this numerous times—is, I write down the five unique things that I'm grateful for for that day. I also ask myself the question, "Who needs me today?" And, I like to do that in the morning. So that could be my workshop participants. It could be an important phone call that I have. It could be my husband ... that I really want to give time to my husband today or could be to myself. Gosh, I love when I'm able to write, "Who needs me today? Me. I need myself to show up for myself today." Do a few other things in the journal that I'm actually going to talk about in other episodes. And then you might just write ... Julia Cameron talks about Morning Pages where you get up in the morning, and then you just literally do a brain dump without thinking. You just let your pen keep writing. Just get those thoughts out of your mind. This can also be really helpful to try in the evening as a way to wind-down and kind of shut your thoughts down, so they're out of your head onto the paper and it can make you sleep a little bit better, which is a really good thing to have right now.
And, just write whatever feels. Right? Don't put pressure on it. Just decide, do you want to just do a brain dump? Do you want to do gratitude? Do you want to, kind of do a record of your days? There's also the one sentence a day journals. Just one thing that happened for you today. Maybe it's one thing that you were looking forward to. Setting those positive intentions in the morning can be powerful. In fact, I'm just sitting here thinking like ... "That's a great thing for me to add to my morning routine."
I write my gratitude and ask myself who needs me today? Like, what is my greatest hope? What am I looking forward to the most today? What a great way to start the day. And, then at the end of the day, what's the best part about my day? Is something I'm really grateful for?
Maybe ... gosh ... I'm just thinking I need to do both. I'm going to add this to my evening routine as well. I just don't think we can journal enough and just to have it on hand. The other thing, I always have my journal with me. And so ... back when I was traveling all the time, which was really stressful, I found myself in airports just really stressed. And so, I just pick up my journal and just write some things down, just get it out of my head and it just that soothing thing. It's that ability to kind of calm our nervous system down again and put us back in the present moment. One of the ways that we can think about anxiety ... A definition of anxiety is a fear of the future or getting stuck in that future-tripping thinking. Where we're just ... relentlessly ruminating on what might happen. That's stressful.
By journaling ... by taking that deep breath and journaling ... what we're doing is: we're calming our nervous system down. Putting ourselves back in this present moment, and we can literally write to ourselves that we are safe. We are safe in this moment.
So that's what I want you to play around with this week. Oh, I cannot wait to hear—especially those of you if this is new for you, and you're willing to give this a shot—I want to hear how it works. If this is a hobby or endeavor that you used to do and you got away from it, if you pull it back, I just want to know how you feel about it. And those of you that are avid journalers like I am, tell me more. What are your secrets? What are your tips? What are your tricks? How did you make this a habit? What are the benefits for you? Why do you journal? Let's share with each other in this community. I can't wait to hear more.
As always ... you guys, thank you, thank you, thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you to both Solution Tree and Marzano Resources for this job I get to do. And thank you to my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. I love you guys. I am so grateful for those of you that have shared this podcast and left ... oh my gosh ... reviews that make both Brooke and I just come to tears with our gratitude! Or, if you leave those reviews ... those five stars, it's like the gold star. And I am just ... a sucker for gold stars. So, I cannot thank you enough for those of you ... that have done that and just for getting the word out and sharing this so that our peeps and the world can find us. They need us. They need this squad. Go have a kick-ass week. You guys ... I love you.