Earlier this year, I was in a rough state. I’m in a better place now, so I thought I’d share some things that helped in case they may help you. This is not to replace therapy or medication or say I’m in any way an expert in anything. This is a I’m down here in the mud thing. I’m inspired by my friends who gave me the gift of their experiences when I needed it most, so I want to pay that forward.
First, a quick backstory. I had gone through a series of things—family crises, identity crises, rejection, exhaustion. I’m the type of person who, for as in tune with herself as she thinks she is, doesn’t know she’s stressed until her body breaks down.
A good friend of mine who had recently gone through a rough patch of her own and emerge in a really good place recommended I start journaling. She had been doing the steps in The Artist’s Way and found the Morning Pages exercise helpful. She thought I’d find them helpful too.
If you’re not familiar with Morning Pages, here’s how it works: every morning you write three pages of whatever is in your head. You don’t worry about how it sounds or reads. You just write. Basically, it’s a big ol’ brain dump at the start of every day. Premise being, once you clear out all the junk up there, you make way for the good stuff. Pretty sure it’s the same principle as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but since I’ve never read that book—mostly because I like a little mess in my life—I don’t know if the comparison is all that fair.
Now, I’ll be honest, I’m only marginally a fan of hippy dippy stuff. But since I was desperate to try anything that might help, I went out and bought a journal. I had nothing to lose. Also, I’m actually a huge fan of hippy dippy stuff. I just don’t like to admit it.
It’s been four months since I started filling blank books with my thoughts. And in that time, I’ve noticed some shifts. My head is clearer and calmer, I’m more focused, and I understand myself better. It’s refreshing.
For me, I found the morning pages morphed more into traditional journaling—like what blogging and social media were before we polished off all the sharp edges and made everything sparkly. But because my journal isn’t published, there’s no need to censor and no need to entertain. Thoughts I don’t care to share, childish rants, fears all go in there. I rarely go back to read what I’ve written. Although occasionally, if I think I’m onto something I might want to revisit it later, I’ll dog ear a page.
Now, I have no idea if journaling will work for everyone—I’ve been told that some people really truly hate to write anything. But, if you find yourself in a funk, creatively or otherwise drained, give it a shot. If nothing else, it’s a block of time every day that’s reserved solely for you and your thoughts. And you and your thoughts deserve that time.
A word of thanks: I know I’ve written about my experience before. So if you’re a regular reader, thank you for allowing me the chance to write about it again. I wanted to turn it less into a navel gazing exercise, although those exercises have their value, and into something more tangible that might help others.