Browsed by
Tag: stress relief

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

If you have ever thought that journaling just isn’t for you, or you don’t think that you would get anything out of keeping a journal … or, heck, maybe you do want to start a journal, but have no idea how to go about it … this post is for you.

Journaling - How to Start | Life, Unleashed

I have been a journaler since grade school, when an older friend gave me my first diary as a birthday gift. Nowadays, journaling is a practice I can’t live without.

There are so many benefits to keeping a journal! To name just a few of my own personal favorites:

SELF-AWARENESS

You can start to see patterns in your behavior, if you journal on a regular basis. And once you see them, you have a better understanding of yourself and how you act in certain situations.

PROCESSING

I am one of those people who needs time to process things before I can give my full opinion on them. One of the best ways I know to do this is through my journal. Often times, writing out my confusions, troubles, worries, and anxieties in my journal allows me to gain clarity and peace. I can’t even tell you how many times the journaling process has helped me figure out how to move past blocks I’ve had in my understanding of things!

REFLECTION & GROWTH

Somewhat similar to what I said regarding self-awareness, keeping a journal is a good way to notice patterns in your behavior. When you are frustrated with yourself for continually making the same mistakes (or the same kinds of mistakes), your journal can help you figure out what to avoid doing in the future, so as to make course corrections and change your behaviors. It’s only in learning from our mistakes that we grow!

MEMORY-KEEPING

Obviously, when people talk about journaling, this is one of the top things that comes to mind. Many people use journals as a way to keep a record of special things that have happened in their lives.

For me, it’s been very helpful to have a written record to go back through, especially from certain periods in my life. For example, the years when my kids were newborns and toddlers, and I was a walking zombie due to the lack of sleep! Without my journals to remind me of things, there would be a lot from those years that’d be lost.

STRESS-RELIEF

I have often been very much a lone wolf — I don’t get out all that often. So, when I’ve had major upsets, I have turned to my journal and written out my stresses and frustrations. Not only did I get clarity, but I also found that the stress melted away through the pen and onto the page, and I ended up calming down quicker than I would have, had I not had that outlet.

elegant-1769669_1280

So, you see, there are great benefits to becoming a journaler!

My friend, Judy — a lady from my church who is in her 60s — never liked journaling. So, when we were asked to keep a journal throughout the weeks of our one Bible study, Judy made a fuss. Yet, she agreed to try for the sake of getting the most out of the study.

Several years later, after her house had survived an electrical fire, Judy recounted how worried she’d been that she would lose her journals! She had kept up the habit since the study had ended, and she’d grown to love it! For her, journaling had become her way to spend time in prayer with God and, in going back through them, she could see how God had been faithful to answer prayers. Her journals were a precious record of both her relationship with God, and her own spiritual growth.

So, while you may think that taking up journaling isn’t for you, I challenge you not to give up on the idea so easily! You just never know. Maybe you need a new perspective on what journaling could look like for you. Or, perhaps you just need to try a different method than one you’ve tried in the past. Consider the following ideas:

  • Instead of writing daily, try writing only once a week
  • Rather than keeping a record of what went on during the day, just write about the best part (or, reflect on what could have been done / gone differently)
  • Try writing just one sentence each day, instead of a full page
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, just list 3 things you are grateful for (studies have show this to have numerous benefits to your health!)
  • Keep a “work journal” where you write out your to-do’s/schedule, and even reflect on successes or mistakes that happened

There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Experiment with different methods to see what could work best for you.

For more on how to get started, and an expanded view of the benefits of journaling, check out these resources:

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN A JOURNALER FOR SOME TIME, LEAVE A COMMENT WITH WHAT YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT IS! AND, IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE PRACTICE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL US WHY!

Remembering My Source When I Need Direction

Remembering My Source When I Need Direction

If anyone ever told you that choosing self-employment was easy… they lied! I will say one thing, though: It is definitely character-building!

direction | Life, Unleashed

For many, many years, now, I’ve had the deep desire to be an Entrepreneur — to be my own boss, make my own rules, set my own schedule. My grandpas — both on my mom’s side, and on my dad’s side — were entrepreneurs; a couple of my uncles are, too; and so is my sister. So I like to say that Entrepreneurship is “in my blood”.

In 2013, I finally got the opportunity to pursue this dream of self-employment. And, while my business model has transitioned several times since then, it has all been a part of the learning process.

One thing that has become clearer to me, though, is that God designed me to be an Entrepreneur. I see this because of how everything has ended up working out to allow me to continue pursuing this path — even despite the times when it looked like things wouldn’t work out. If God didn’t intend for me to be self-employed, I would have been thwarted at every turn, and would be back out working for someone else, right now.

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, so far, through this journey — and it’s something I’m STILL learning, really — is how important it is for me to seek God’s guidance and direction for each move I make with my business.

For example, just yesterday I set out to work on my “ideal customer”, and I created a survey to help me with this. Then I shared that survey in several of my Facebook groups. But I ended up getting some pretty harsh feedback from those in my groups, and it got to me… it had me in tears (even though I know they meant well).

As I sat and processed this, God seemed to whisper to me, asking, “Why are you turning to those secular groups for direction, instead of coming to Me?” It was a gentle reminder that I had gotten caught up — yet again — in seeking answers from the “world”, and I’d forgotten to FIRST go to my Source {God}.

Not surprisingly, as soon as I asked God to give me His opinion on it all, peace washed over me. The stress I’d felt, minutes before, melted away. And I started seeing better questions I could ask of myself, which helped to calm & refocus me.

So, let me just encourage you, today: If you are self-employed, don’t forget to put God first in your business. Go to Him, first, for direction. I know it’s easy to forget to do this. But the more we practice, the better we’ll get at making it automatic (and, God is gracious enough to offer us reminders when we do forget!)

“You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in You,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”
~ Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

How to Hang On When You’re Tired

How to Hang On When You’re Tired

Do you ever just get so tired of trying to move forward? Do you have times where you’ve gone at things with such intensity for so long and, all-of-a-sudden, it hits you and you feel bone-weary? I do, too.

How to Hang On When You're Tired | Life, Unleashed

 

I’ve got a feisty, stubborn, independent spirit, so I tend to fight long and hard for what I believe in, and/or am passionate about. Yet, every now and then, I hit a wall, and I just cannot summon the strength to keep going.

Can you relate?

I’m not saying that I’ll give up entirely. Definitely not! But I think that life has a way of telling us that it’s time to slow down, step back, rest, and refresh. If we don’t pay attention, and we don’t take a breather once in a while, life seems to force us to do so, whether we want to or not!

Some of the ways I’ve found to help me slow down and regroup include the following:

LET IT GO

Instead of fighting to continue, I recognize my soul’s need for a time-out, and I mentally tell myself that it’s okay — that I have permission — to let things go for a while. It’s not forever. And, by taking some time off, I know I will come back to things with more clarity, and renewed energy, later on.

GET CREATIVE

I got into the whole adult coloring trend, a year ago, along with the practice of Art Journaling. And, while I don’t pursue these things daily any more, I do find that they are very relaxing, they allow me to “zone out”, and they get me into a creative “flow” state for a while.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Along with getting my creative juices flowing, I also love to put my earphones on, crank up my favorite music, and tune out the world for a couple of hours. Combining my coloring time with listening to music has a really beneficial effect on my state of being. It calms me and brings me joy.

READ FICTION

Because I’m such an avid nonfiction reader, I’m constantly soaking up knowledge, and learning, usually taking notes while I read.

So, every now and then, I find I have to force myself to dig into a novel (fiction) in order to just relax with my book, and “escape” the world around me. I am always happy after having done so, too!


Now, because everyone is unique, the things I do to step back and relax may be different from the things you would enjoy. The point, though, is to find what it is that helps bring you a sense of calm, and then make time for that in your day-to-day.

Matthew 11:28 | Life, Unleashed

 

How long you take time off for will always depend on your unique circumstances. If you pay attention, your body and soul will let you know when it’s time to pick up where you left off. If necessary, you can always set yourself a flexible deadline — once that date comes, you can then check in with yourself, see how you feel, and decide whether you need a bit more time, or if you’re ready to roll.

We aren’t meant to always be “on”. Even the Master Creator (God) took time off after creating the world! Follow His example, and take a break when you need to.

 

Your turn... | Life, Unleashed

How do YOU make the time to relax? What are your favorite downtime activities that help you feel refreshed?