Posted in Anxiety, Mental Health, Self Care

Journaling is easy as 1, 2, 3!

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

Mina Murray

Ready, Set – Journal!

So I started small.  I found a great lined notebook with a purple cover to capture my day, a blank notebook from the Dollar Store to doodle in when I was stressed or anxious.  I was lucky to find an app – in my first search – to track my symptoms and also another one to do my daily gratitude practice.

I was reluctant to start a journal when I experienced my anxiety and panic attacks.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to explore the triggers or assess how I was feeling both emotionally and physically.  The thought of reviewing those more difficult days wasn’t high up on my priority list. I focused on the positive side and tried different ways of capturing my thoughts, feelings, symptoms and accomplishments.

Here are my suggestions to start journaling on paper, electronically or even both!!  There are a few things to consider in order to make the habit stick:

  1. Get a notebook that you will want to write in.  It can be your favorite color, have an inspiring quote on the cover or is unlined so you have the option to add drawings instead of just words.
  2. When a quiet moment arises that you are alone, do a quick check in:
    • How are you feeling?  Happy? Sad? Anxious? Annoyed?
    • What happened during the day that brought forward these feelings?
    • Write down your thoughts on the cause and then take 3 deep breaths to let the feeling go.
    • Close the Journal and continue on with your day, try to let go of those emotions. Consider the feelings you jotted down and you can reflect what you wrote down at the end of the day. Only do this if you feel the need because the feelings are lingering.
  3. Did you know that multiple journals can also be very helpful?  Here are some addition journal types that could inspire you:
    • The PMS Journal: Track how your cycle affects your physical, emotional or mental health.
    • The Food Journal: Track you food choices, calories or even physical reactions to certain foods.  I used this type of journal during an elimination diet so that I could follow if my symptoms improved as I made different food choices in relation to dairy, wheat and eggs. This was a tremendous help for both my family doctor and allergist.
    • Gratitude Journal: This type of journal is fantastic for staying in a positive mindset and be thankful for the people that have an impact in your life. As I mentioned, I have been using the thankful app on my iPhone because it also allows me to include pictures in my entries. I am a visual person so the images trigger memories and evoke strong emotions.
    • Dream Tracker: Do you thrive off of looking into the meaning of your dreams?  Do you like interpreting the experiences and gain insight on your dream patterns.  A dream diary can definitely help you reflect and learn more about your personality.
    • Pregnancy Diary: As an adult, this was my first real attempt at journaling.  Tracking my pregnancy experiences was rewarding and has enabled me to compare each experience (I’ve had 4 pregnancies!!) to see how unique they all have been.  Another benefit is the ability to share this information with my children as they get older. In fact, my oldest daughter just had a baby and was so appreciative to be able to look at my pregnancy experience with her.
Doodle Art

Countless Benefits

There are plenty of reasons to keep an online journal or diary. The most rewarding can be in regards to your emotional health.

Mental health benefits from journaling:

  • Reduces overall stress
  • Increases happiness
  • Keeps you on track to achieve goals
  • Increases your emotional intelligence
  • Develops self-awareness
  • Improves memory
  • Allows you to emotionally heal from trauma
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Gain clarity on confusing situations

I suggest that you have some kind of schedule in order to make journaling a habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle.   Journaling throughout the day helps me capture all the various emotions and experiences I encounter. I aim for upon waking up, mid day, while cooking dinner and before bed. Just a few minutes per day has improve my mindset, gratitude and appreciation for all people and things that contribute to my journey through life.

Do you Journal? How has it benefited you? I’d love for you to share YOUR experience with the Violet Buddha Tribe and help others incorporate journaling into their daily To Do list.

Hellow Sunshine Journal

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Mental Health

The 24-Hour Mental Health Vacation

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

I know the positive benefits that a night away has on my mental health.  No hubby, no kids, no pets, and a bed all to myself equals a good night’s sleep. Most importantly, the one or two nights of freedom without any responsibility enables me to focus on selfcare without any interruptions.  I am able to fill my cup and recharge.

Here are 4 vacation suggestions that will help you feel refreshed and restored.

  1. The Zen Seeker
  2. The Creative
  3. The Outdoor Enthusiast
  4. The Lover

The Zen Seeker

This 24-hour vacay is the most challenging of the four.  It takes a lot of commitment on your part but will be the most revealing.

  • Disconnection
    • Technology break for 24 hours (no TV, Radio, computer or phone)
    • Book a manicure or pedicure – or both!! (yes, guys can do this too, you can thank me later!)
    • Call the local yoga studio and sign up for a free trial – take you first yoga class
    • Go out for dinner and/or brunch with your friends
  • Movie Madness
    • Watch 3-4 movies in a row that you have on your wishlist
    • You can do this escape with the hubby or a group of friends
    • Pick a theme is you want – romance, horror, comedy, favorite actor/actress director.
    • Do not answer the front door until the take out guy arrives – this is the only exception…
    • Take note of what you enjoyed about the movie or have a discussion if you are doing the activity with others.
  • Ladies of Leisure
    • Get a bunch of you girlfriends together and hunker down at someones house or rent an air B&B for the weekend.
    • Your goal is to do some or all of the following:
      • Stay up late talking, reminiscing and joking around
      • Eat your favorite candy
      • Sleep in
      • Shop til you drop
      • Enjoy great food – Plan a menu or pot luck that everyone can contribute to
      • Connect with your tribe!
  • Bookworm
    • Grab a book you’ve been wanting to read – read it without interruption from cover to cover.
    • Find a great place to read – the park, a local garden, poolside or cozied up with your favorite blanket.
    • If you want a connection and ability to discuss the books you are reading, check out online book clubs or set one up with your book loving friends or coworkers!

The Creative

  • Dancer, Dance, Dance
    • If you don’t like a late night but still love dancing with the girls, then invite your besties over and get dressed, do hair and makeup and much on some great appetizers with a glass of your favorite cocktail.  If you prefer a mocktail – try this one (LINK)
    • Hit your favorite club and dance until your tootsies hurt
    • Sleep in the next morning and spend the day in your PJs recuperating.
  • Beautiful Artiste
    • Visit a local gallery, take time with each painting and absorb the creativity required for each piece of art.
    • On you way home, visit an art supply store and choose an inspiration project to paint, sculpt or draw
    • If you have kids, then include them in the art project and display everyone’s work at the end of the day.
  • The Foodie
    • Sign up for a cooking course and learn some new culinary skills.
    • Explore the local outdoor market and treat yourself to a new ingredient, fruit or delicacy.
    • If you prefer to consume more than create, enjoy Breakfast, lunch and dinner in a new city.  Do you research, read some foodie reviews and let your appetite me your guide.

The Adventure Seeker

  • Explore your own city
    • Visit your own backyard with fresh eyes – Make a list of places or activities that you have not visited in the city where you live.
    • Attend local events or festivals
    • Visit the museum, aquarium or walk the canal
  • Learn something new
    • Whether its a single day course or over a few weeks explore:
      • Skydiving
      • Water Skiing
      • Glass-Blowing
      • Pottery
      • Horseback riding
      • Rock climbing
    • Immerse yourself in the pursuit of your new skills as you made need a change more than some extra rest.
  • Into the wilderness
    • Grab a tent, sleeping bag and enough food for 24 hours and find the nearest campground to explore. (if you are not a camper, many locations have cottages or teepees you can rent)
    • If you forget to pack something, no worries, you can do without for 1 day!
    • Hike during the day, float in the lake, cook over the fire and soak up the stars in the nighttime sky.
    • Breathe in the fresh air and nature sounds.

Share your favorite mini vacation spot or getaway idea in the comments below and inspire the Tribe.

Share a pic to Instagram at #violetbuddhatribe

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha