Journaling the sh*t out of life

Over the past two years, writing has given me the space to help find clarity, work through some difficult patches, make discoveries, reflect on feelings and set intentions. 

Unsurprisingly, it became my outlet and my personal therapist through all the ups and downs; a baby and a very challenging toddler and running my own business…

Journaling has come a long way since ‘dear diary’ or ‘I couldn’t help but wonder…’; it’s now a tool we can all use to help our mental health and wellbeing. In fact, for me, it’s crucial. Sometimes it can be hard, cathartic, helpful, reflective and insightful. I make all kinds of discoveries through writing, and yes, it’s true that I’m a copywriter so perhaps I find it easier than most.

But I promise you that it’s not poetic, captivating or intellectual.

It’s actually quite simple, raw waffle, possibly verging on the edge of nonsense.

I began my journaling journey at the beginning of the pandemic; like most people, I needed to clear my head. I needed something to turn to in order to get away from the loneliness, relentlessness of parenting, the boredom and mundane repetition, feelings of over and underwhelming simultaneously and loss.

It became my therapy of choice when the usual self-care things weren’t even touching the exhaustion I was feeling.

I needed to empty my brain of thoughts, musings and experiences.

I needed to work through a lot of stuff.

You’d think I would have had a diary or written before the pandemic, being a writer and all, but I was still in the early stages of building my business. And I was focused on client work plus looking after my nine month old and four year old at the time. I didn’t seem to have time to write much in the years before then, except for several blogs and coursework. My therapy for the last decade or so was going out, having a laugh and a cocktail, a holiday or two, deep long chats with friends and enjoying delicious food in expensive places. And even though a lot of those things tailed off when I became a mum in 2016 I just really felt that loss during lockdown.

That total stuckness and sometimes utter despair. Sadly, a few good friendships just fizzled out, but it made room for the real ones, the brutally honest ones and the ones that filled me up and kept me going.

At first, it felt easy, I was just jotting down things, but as lockdown went on and on, and on… I began to go deeper using journaling prompts. I wrote almost every day, full of parenting guilt, regrets and professional ups and downs. I found that writing early in the mornings were the best time. My head was mostly fuzzy from sleep, but it was free from the clutter of anxiety and noise that still rang in my ears after the kids went to bed. Even if the kids were sitting watching CBeebies, it was and still is a time that I could have a hot cup of coffee in peace and connect with myself. Because by the evening, I felt frazzled and wanted to numb myself with work or TV.

Journaling is the only thing I’ve consistently done, ever. Well, apart from brushing my teeth and taking my make-up off. 

I needed journaling the most when I became a mum, lockdown magnified it a thousand times, and it was ugly. I had to look at it and deal with it. I couldn’t make sense of it, and when I look back now, I’d been lucky enough to take most of motherhood in my stride up until the pandemic. It got seriously complicated and intense very quickly. Writing honestly through all of it and the tears was my way of survival.

Journaling during the low points wasn’t the only thing I did; I journaled through highs too, which were mostly around my growing business. Client work went through the roof because everyone needed to pivot and get online overnight and have some kind of presence. All of this whilst we were all trying to adapt, homeschool, figure out Zoom calls and how to feed our families.

Do you remember when the supermarket shelves were empty? There was no rice, pasta, flour, toilet roll, paracetamol or baby formula? And people were selling hand sanitiser on eBay for £20? It’s madness when I think about it.

I was able to help so many small businesses during that time but found myself saying yes to everything through fear and I took on too much. Part of me was happy and excited, the other part was panicking and still trying to figure it all out. I was finding it harder to tap into my intuition. Everything began to feel chaotic and unaligned; I was dropping balls and not doing my best work. I was losing control and didn’t have time to just stop.

I guess that’s what the pandemic did for all of us.

We didn’t have any space to breathe and we’re still feeling the aftershocks and exhaustion of lockdown now.

Another practice I discovered, which quite frankly turned everything around for me at this ‘too much of a good thing’ point was moon journaling. I love a bit of woo woo so I happily got my incense and crystals out to create a monthly ritual with the full moon. What began as an excuse to bring a bit of peace and tranquillity into my life actually started to unearth some really good stuff and as a result I was able to regularly check in with myself and ask questions like ‘what is igniting my passion right now’ and ‘what’s not working for me’. It gave me the confidence and strength to make aligned choices personally and professionally and set boundaries. 

Putting pen to paper has brought me so much harmony, understanding, acceptance and peace.

Something a new pair of shoes, expensive night out or haircut could never do. The writing is never done, I’m never done. But I know my notebook is waiting for me when I need it.

 

If you’d like to get your hands on some FREE journal prompts, sign up (at the bottom of the page) to download them or just drop me an email: katie@katiecarrcreative.co.uk

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