When it’s all going to sh*t, I have my sanity-saving practices that I always come back to for more balance
When life is too much, or I’m feeling frazzled or lost, one of my sanity-saving practices I always return to is writing. Even as a child I can remember sitting in my little backyard cubby house writing long letters to friends and family. Complete with homemade envelopes and pretend stamps! From memory a lot of it was made up stuff, things I wanted to be doing, places I wished I were visiting. My first attempts at bringing the life I wanted into the everyday.
Throughout my life when things aren’t going as expected, I’ve always gone back to writing it all out. While I absolutely knew that journaling helped somehow, I didn’t understand it exactly. Now I know that the simple practice of putting pen to paper and letting the words just flow, it brings me back into connection with my whole self.
The parts that feel sad or lost. The parts that feel flat and lonely. The parts that are hopeful and dreaming for something different to what I’m experiencing right now.
Journaling is how I listen to those parts and allow them to be expressed and experienced.
A while back I had noticed that I was feeling as though life was rushing by at a million miles per hour with very little fun and zero creativity happening. I was tired, flat, feeling disconnected – both from others and most importantly – myself. I noticed that my own wellbeing had really slipped to the bottom of the pile. Not exercising, not meditating regularly, all leaving me feeling uninspired, anxious, and grumpy.
I decided it was time to shift the focus to RECONNECTION, starting with a daily writing intention.
I journal if I’m stressed, or to empty my mind when it gets overfilled with half-ideas and mental to-do lists, but I don’t stick to it regularly. I remember reading that the comedian Jerry Seinfeld draws a line through each day on the calendar that he sits down and writes, trying not to break the line. He finds that out of all this work comes comedy gold, which he believes he wouldn’t have unearthed if he didn’t just TRY every day.
I notice this too; when I am journaling consistently, the gems appear. It’s such a simple, yet powerful thing we can do for ourselves, to bring more balance and connection.
Worst case scenario, I’ve spent a few minutes a day emptying my mind and letting in more space. It can take as little as 5 minutes, and let’s face it; we might be surprised by what we discover going on inside of us if we stayed off social media for those few minutes.
The Reconnect Daily Journal Project
My own experience with getting out of my head and reconnecting to myself led me to create a series of daily journal prompts called the Reconnect Daily Journal Project. I’ve since taken that project off my website because I was noticing that I had signed up to so many email series that I never really took action on. I really didn’t want to contribute to all that noise and being yet ANOTHER email that just sat in someone’s inbox. Now the prompts and info are here in my blog posts, I’m hoping you’ll find this one day and it’ll be the very thing you need!
The basic premise is this – just sit down somewhere quiet once a day and write. I try to do it first thing in the morning so that it’s done and the day doesn’t get away from me, but right before bed can be good too. It only needs to take 5-10 minutes and it might be:
- a straight-out brain-dump,
- a list of things to do for the day,
- a gratitude list,
- a blog post
- really – let it be whatever you need it to be
Also, have an intention in mind; something you’d like to see shift in some way. I find this helps to stay focused and keep doing it, even when you feel like you just can’t be bothered or don’t have time. With that in the back of your mind, notice any changes in how you’re feeling. Be aware of what you’re seeing reflected in your life.
Start with this prompt and I’ll share more in the following posts. When I do a morning journaling practice I don’t always start with a particular theme, it’s usually just free-writing whatever comes to mind. At times I do like to focus on a certain idea, thought, or prompt and explore where that leads me. You might like to check out Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” practice, which is close to how I approach journaling.
PROMPT – DISCONNECTION
Start by auditing the areas of your life and see where you might be feeling disconnected.
- To yourself?
- What is not feeling the way you want it to?
TIPS & TRICKS
Don’t exactly relate to DISCONNECTED? Try replacing it with something like ISOLATED, ALONE, DETACHED, APART.
This is not about making you feel bad about your life! Try to objectively notice where you have these feelings, without judgement. No good or bad, just what IS. By giving your attention to these feelings you can bring about change, a slight tweak in perception may be all that’s required.
What isn’t seen, can’t be changed.
You don’t need to write out situations like a play script, just describe your feelings and emotions about the situation. No-one else needs to understand it, forget about the context and he said, she said.
Set yourself a time limit, even just 5 minutes, and free write on this theme – “I feel so disconnected in/to…”.
If you stop and don’t know what to say next, write that down too, “I don’t know what to say…”.
Write how you’re feeling generally at the time, if you really get “stuck”. Though really, there’s no stuck, there will be SOME thought in your head, some feeling in your body.
Describe those, and through the process you will likely find that your inner guidance takes over, rather than your brain, and it gets easier.
If you’re feeling resistance, then ask yourself why? You guessed it, write about that too.
This only needs to take 5-10 minutes, if that’s all you can do. You can build up the habit over time, if you want to.
How did you go? Did you find something to write about? Were you surprised by what came up?
You can follow on with the next prompts to flip this point of view! I’ve also got more posts coming with my favourite sanity-saving practices.