Aurora M. Suarez, life coach and creator of The Sunday Night Journal, gives us tips on how we can use journal-writing to connect with our inner self during these troubled times.
GLH: Is it a good idea to start journaling during a pandemic?
Aurora: If you haven't started a journal yet or if the last time you had written in one was when you scribbled "Dear Diary" when you were a kid, now is the best time to begin journaling.
Journaling is a way to connect with yourself daily. More than a written summary of events, goals, and activities, a journal can be your repository for your hopes, fears, plans, and dreams. It can hold your feelings when you get overwhelmed, especially during this time when we're all feeling a lack of control. It contains the thoughts you need to process or the steps to take when you're feeling stuck, unable to make a decision. It is also a record of memories you might want to keep. Writing in your journal provides clarity and, through consistent showing up on the page, can even be a pathway to your intuition.
GLH: What three tips can you give on how to start journaling?
1. Make your journal-writing time a pleasure.
Journaling only requires two tools: a notebook and a pen. However, I'm a big believer in making this time a pleasure. So buy a nice notebook, use a favorite pen in a fun color of ink, light a candle, prepare a cup of tea. So that I don't get intimidated by the blank page, I decorate my little book with stickers and washi tape.
2. Alternatively, there's no need to surround it with too much drama.
Don't think that you need a lot of time to write. If you only have 10 minutes, just put your pen to paper and ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? Why do I feel this way?
Another question I like to ask is: What do I need right now?
If you're feeling stumped about what else to write, you can also scribble a list of five things you're grateful for that happened on that day.
3. Leave judgement out of your journaling time.
Don't criticize the amount of time you spend journaling, the things you write or even your penmanship. Leave your inner critic out of your writing time. Now is the time to sit down and have fun with your inner best friend who loves you and supports you even if you don't write every day, even if you can barely understand your handwriting, even if what you've written isn't deep or interesting.