I am delighted to be welcoming Zoe onto the blog today, as she shares her journaling journey with us and there’s a papery prize up for grabs, read on…..
Hello! I’m Zoe of Zoeprose and The Mama Book – thankyou for having me Jocelyn – Bring Back Paper has inspired me a lot through the years. I have three little ones and even though I naturally love to write, for years I pushed journaling aside as something that was unproductive. There were always more important or more interesting things to do, but I’ve realised that the opposite is often true and there are so many benefits to stopping and putting pen to paper.
Journaling is a big fancy word. It can seem intimidating, especially if you’re not someone who naturally wants to sit down and write all the things (I am but not everyone is!). There are so many great ways to journal, to find a bit of mental space and have some down time to reflect on or plan life. But we can often over-complicate this in our heads and forget what makes it so helpful. Even now the phrase ‘journaling’ still conjures up images in my head of a perfect beautiful and peaceful place, quiet and time to write long form in great detail about things. However it’s very rare that this is the case and if you add motherhood in, it can easily seem like there’s simply not enough time in this season of life. However, I’ve found a simple way of reflecting on my day and the stage of motherhood that I’m in has so deeply affected my everyday life and my purpose. Here are just a few of the benefits of journaling.
1. It makes you slow down.
The act of journaling means putting down the phone, the internet, the work. Whatever else is going on has to stop whilst you put pen to paper. Whether you like to write long sentences about what’s on your mind or write a few positives from the day, you stop reacting to things externally (I find social media so distracting for this) and start to refocus on seeing life the way that makes sense for you.
2. It helps you to get your priorities straight
Whilst it might seem that taking time away from more productive or important tasks (especially as a busy mum) is counterproductive, I find that journaling helps me to process life and refocus on my priorities instead of making rushed decisions as I’m going through the day. Having the big picture and my focuses written down in my journal helps me to remember what I’m actually aiming at instead of being consumed by the daily duties of caring for little ones, remembering when we need to be where, and trying to feed everyone!
3. Journaling helps you to see the positives
Making a note of the positive things from the day, and also taking time to acknowledge challenges and work out ways to tackle them helps to give you a more positive outlook on life. We are naturally more likely to remember the negative but by consciously sitting and writing down positives we recall them and that boosts our sense of wellbeing. I love being able to flick back through the pages and read pages of good things from the past weeks, sometimes big things but often small ones which are just as special.
4. It helps you to achieve your goals
Writing down your goals is a big step towards actually achieving them, since they turn from intangible ideas in your mind into something concrete, even if there are just words on the page. The act of checking back in and having a physical reminder of those goals or focuses helps to keep us to spend our days in the ways that we really want to. I actually adjust my focuses according to each season of motherhood, since often there are so many things which we would love to do but we need to have realistic goals in each stage of life.
5. It gives you a sweet record of each season.
This is particularly true if you have little ones but I think each stage has so many things that are lovely to remember. If you’re making a habit of writing down the joys from your week even flicking back a few pages can make you smile and remind you of happy things you may otherwise forget.
The most important thing to remember, especially if you’re a busy mum, is to keep it simple. Keep it simple and stop chasing perfection, small notes and reflections are much better for you than nothing. Find a time or space that works for you and get into the habit of finding some mental space and breathing room in your day. As a mama it’s good to embrace our current season and if that means less time for writing and complicated projects then we need to adjust to that, even if we would love a few hours a day to write in peace and reflect on life. Journaling for me is usually as simple as writing a few sentences reflecting on the day that evening, and once a week I might take a bit longer to think through some other aspects. Occasionally I will have longer thoughts that I want to get out, and so periodically I will do some more of that long style journaling.
During that time when I felt like writing or journaling was not a productive use of my time I found my mind was so crowded and I was becoming quickly overwhelmed and one day I sat down and wrote it all out. I wrote down all my expectations for motherhood, my skills, priorities and then reflected on my season. Over the last year or so I have been tweaking and refining it, getting feedback from other mamas and now it’s a proper real-life year long journal called The Mama Book (preorders actually launched yesterday!). It has brought me so much joy and focus where I was once struggling. It has space to reflect on the big picture and is then split into 4 season sections- with space for reflecting on each stage of motherhood, and then weekly space for those little notes and joys. I love having a physical space to reflect on everything motherhood is, and breathing room is much easier to find these days. Adding journaling back into my life has brought so many benefits particularly in motherhood and I do hope you’re inspired to start (or continue!) too.
Thanks so much, Zoe. I definitely agree that there’s a real benefit to journaling and getting things out of my head and onto paper is really important to me. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and now there’s a chance for one of you to get your hands on The Mama Book…
I now have one copy of The Mama Book up for grabs, so to be in with a chance of winning it, enter using the rafflecopter below. The competition is open to UK entrants only and closes at 12am August 28th 2017. Good luck!
What appeals to you about The Mama Book?