Wednesday Wellness: Journaling

Welcome, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesday’s as I noted many of my friends an creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey as I explore mental health and self care, stumbling along the way!

Even before I was an author, I was a writer. I vividly remember when I was six years old, I insisted that my dad drive me downtown to buy a diary. I have always written in one form or another: journals, stories, blogs. (If you write a blog post and nobody reads it, is it a journal?) Did you have a pen pal when you were a kid? I had several. Some of those letters were epic, let me tell you! It was a form of journaling.

Currently I am journaling in no less than five journals. And that’s not even all of them! I can think of two more which I have only temporarily abandoned, and one more which I would like to replace. (Then there’s a really fun one I might want to start up again!) Let me explain.

Each journal has its own function and purpose. I can keep five journals simultaneously because each has its own design and intention. First, I’ll start with my daily planner. Sure, I use it to organize my future plans. But I also use it to keep track of what I do from day to day. See my posts on creative, decorative journaling and how it helps me manage my anxiety. #PlanforMagic Journal No. 1.

Journal No.2. This is my work notebook. Similarly, it is my list collection of daily activities, but at work. This is something i reference often something when I have a similar instance, and want to recall how i processed something. Recently, I changed the way I use it. I now refer to it as my Success Log. See my post here on how to keep a success log. Basically I now track what I did, instead of listing what I have to do. I find this mindset helps keep anxiety at bay. Of course, I till need to track my To Do items, so I write them on Post it’s and stick them on the facing page. This practice reminds me of the Word Banks that we used in creative writing in school. Use these words. Do these things. But it’s okay to keep moving them to the next day, accordingly.

Journal. No. 3. At my birthday brunch a couple of months ago, everybody gave me a journal. How delightful! My besties know me so well. Here is one of them. Isn’t it gorgeous? This one reminds me of Lucy’s journal in the TV series Timeless. I am using this one for traditional journaling, by this i mean recording feelings and processing difficult subjects. Like what, you ask. Oh just the basics, you know, inspiration and mortality…

Journal No. 4 is my book journal. This is a entralized place dedicated to my book writing. It is part organization, part freewriting, part collage. I cut and paste in images, doodle, list, the like. I have some larger worksheets that I fold and insert in the back. I may list questions that I have for further research. I may list websites which have been helpful to reference.

Journal No 5. I received this one as a gift. With my success with my work journal and my personal daily planner, I decided to try this one. It is basically an interactive goal-setting workbook. I appreciate how it guides you. This one is designed for career and professional goals, but I think I am using it more for personal goals. It is like having a personal coach in your back pocket. In the past, I have used Leonie Dawson’s guides for this purpose. Here is a link to the Acheivement Journal I am using now. Here is a link to the Life Goals workbook I have used before.

Not pictured: Gratitude Journal. Last year I used a guided gratitude journal that was in almanac style. I realized quickly that my daily planner (journal no 1) was the source and reference for completing my gratitude journal. Although you can use a gratitude journal daily, I found that I would often have Gratitude Sessions, in which I would sit in a cafe and open my daily planner to where I’d left off in my gratitude journal. I’d review the planner, taking one thing per day to write about in my gratitude journal. I found it to be a great way to savor my memories, as well as my coffee or tea! I began to look forward to my practice of self care in this way.

Travel Journal: I always encourage my children to keep a journal when we are on vacation, just as my parents did for me, when I was a kid. Last summer my daughter and I each created our own travel journals: smaller booklets with diary entries, weather tracking, memorabilia and photos. This is a good, first activity if you are overwhelmed by the idea of journalling, because it is contained and limited in scope. Read my post “Dear Diary” about how special it was to read my friend’s travel journal after she died.

Training journals: I keep a notebook for professional trainings I attend. I keep a separate notebook for personal development sessions- coaching, podcasts, or webinars.

Collage Journal: This was a favorite activity I started in 2011. The memorabilia and paraphernalia is what makes the collage journal magic. Here is a sample of my collage journal spread.

Bullet Journal: this is a modern minimalistic journal practice. It is very trendy now. I have seen examples that are simplistic habit trackers and goals/ lists, and others with ornate doodles and drawings. Usually done with a small journal with grids, you make a table of contents and may use a code. Bullet Journaling/ Bujo also has a cult following. This is another good introduction into journaling. This can be an “everything” journal, in which case you may need to replace it every month. Try it for 30 days. See if it works for you!

Do you journal? What kind of journalling do you practice?

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Friday Friends: Sapira Cheuk & Dolce Planner

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays, I like to feature creatives. I am delighted to spotlight artist-entrepreneur Sapira Cheuk of Dolce Planner. I personally have found her hand drawn designs to be the perfect enhancements for my daily planner. Her work is inspiring, literally inspiring us to do more, and to love our lives. Be sure to check out her online store! I hope you enjoy the interview. Welcome, Sapira!

1. So, what have you created and produced?

  1. I have 2 main creative outlet, first is my contemporary art practice and the second are my planner stickers. They are very different from each other and serves different purpose. I don’t see these two outlets as contradictory even tho they look and represent very different things, rather, I see them as different ways of expressing.
  • My contemporary art practice are mostly ink paintings on paper influenced by traditional Chinese brush paintings, the subject are usually about women’s embodiment and subjectivity. 
  • My planner stickers theme usually revolves around different girl themed activities or identities. 

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

  • Most of the works I produced have the female experience in mind. While I identify as a feminist, that identity is rooted in the believe of equality. 
  • 3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

    It’s magic! Sometimes it feels like making a half-remembered dream real, sometimes I just start drawing and whatever takes shape, takes shape.

    4. What do you like to do for fun?

    I love to eat! I know it’s not good to link food with reward, but it’s sometime I look forward to mostly. I also love to draw, play Switch, drink wine, and go to museums/galleries.

    5. What is one unusual thing about you?

  • I love Star Trek, my favorite is TNG
  • 6. What music inspires you?

    My music taste is kind of all over the place, I would describe as indie electronic/pop. I keep a playlist on spotify specifically for painting. 

    7. How many books did you read last year?

    20ish – mostly audible 

    8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

    Both!!! Both I especially love Ranch with pizza

    9. What are you working on right now?

    March Passion Planner Sticker subscription designs 

    10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?

    I don’t watch a lot of TV, on weekends I like action movies. 

    11. Do you have a theme song?

    No… not yet

    12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

    Do what you love and don’t give up! 

  • Thank you for letting me share a little bit of me today!
  • Websites: 

    www.sapiracheuk.com

    Friday Friends: Find Your Rainbow with Jenipher Lyn

    My dear friends, I’ve missed you. Thanks for checking back in. If you are new, Welcome! So glad to have you here. On Fridays, I like to feature authors and readers. I am delighted to spotlight artist-author-entrepreneur Jenipher Lyn and her new book release: Find Your Rainbow.

    Seems like only yesterday that I participated in a blog tour for her first book, How Being Stubborn, Depressed and Unpopular Saved My Life. (You can read that post here.) I appreciated very much the hand-drawn honesty in that book. Reading it, I felt understood. Jenipher had reached out and found my inner child. I looked forward to the time my daughter would be old enough to read it.

    I bought some of Jenipher’s stickers from her website. My daughter and I use them in our daily planners. Many times, her stickers are just perfect for that day, or that mood.

    As soon as I could, I pre-ordered Jenipher’s new book. I intended to share with my girl, but I was soon told that I need to order my own copy! This is an interactive book- as you will see.

    I can’t wait to start my own journey on this rainbow quest.

    Find Your Rainbow is by Jenipher Lyn. Get your copy now via Amazon, Target, and Jenipher’s website!

    Wednesday Wellness: Success Log

    Greetings, Friends!

    I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I noted how many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my quest for wellness as I stumble along the way– literally!

    Accidental Planner

    If you are reading this you likely already know that I am sort of the Accidental Planner, as a creative spontaneous type I eschewed formal list-making and such, until I became a mom.  I happened upon the Planning Community only two years ago and it really has changed my life.  Now I enjoy planning!  There are so many creative tools available to personalize your planning experience.  There are so many etsy shops with creative and functional stickers. There are Facebook groups and instagram for sharing layouts and ideas. It has taken me a little while to get into the groove, but now I know how to really USE my planner- in a way that works for me.

    good_vibes

    Good Vibes

     

    What Works for Me:

    I use a vertical weekly planner with 3 sections and no time stamps.  I like to list and use color, and of course, sticker! This was working very well for my life and life/work management.  I wanted to keep work details separate, so I keep a work-only notebook on my desk.  I used to keep To Do lists, but I found that to be somewhat anxiety-producing, so now I keep a Success Log.

    I keep a running list of what I do all day, as I do it. This allows me to feel more accomplished.  Instead of getting stressed about what I need to do, I feel satisfaction at having completed it.  At the end of the day, it looks like a To Do list, only it’s all Done.

    success_log

    Success Log

    When I Stumble

    Recently I took a bad fall and had to recover at home for a week.  My planner was a great tool for me during this time, as I had previously decorated it with inspiring stickers for the week. I also used some stickers that said “Over It” “Survived Today” and “Let myself rest.”   And my daily list became Reminders: Rest, Meds, Ice, Repeat.

    got_ice

    Got Ice

    But What About Deadlines?

    I do keep deadlines & priorities in the forefront of my mind by using the weekly sidebar on my life planner.  For my Success Log at work, I use a project management spiral notebook which has a blank sidebar, and numbered lines.  I also use the reminders feature in Outlook to keep my digital work calendar up to date.

    Memory Keeper & Gratitude Journal

    My life planner weekly spreads are so fun to create and decorate!  I often write in what we actually did, and even name the shows we watched and food we ate (or the amusement park rides we rode!).  It then becomes a memory keeper, which I can reference as I write in my separate Gratitude Journal. This is a good practice to keep staying positive.

    Quotes of the Month

    There is a blank page following the last week of each month in my planner.  I use this area to write funny or significant quotes that my family members say.  I found this was a really neat way to memory keep, as well.  Each member of my family has a different color for their events and quotes in my book.  My daughter is pink, and my son is orange.  So I can tell at a glance who said what.

    How do YOU stay organized?

    Please let us know in the comments!

    Read about my Plan to Have Fun philosophy here.

    Read about my 15 -year Historical Spreadsheet for Holiday Gift-Giving here.

    Wellness Wednesday: What I’m Working On

    Happy Midweek, Friends! I started writing about Wellness topics on Wednesdays because I noted that so many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me as I journey to wellness and balance and make mistakes along the way.

    I am tardy for Wellness Wednesday this week, but I am okay with that.  Because I am working on Letting It Go.

    Holiday Collage

    Tis the Season

    This is something I have been working on for some time, in many forms.  I lost some friendships over the past couple of years and that really made me realize a couple of things.  Sometimes I just need to let them go.  Even though they may have been wrong and I may have been right, it just doesn’t even matter anymore.  We didn’t need to be friends anymore and I didn’t need to even tell them so.  I let it go. (Ok so one still hasn’t returned my things.  I admit I am keeping a Messenger open in case that happens. Alas.  Maybe I should just let that one go, as well.)

    I downsized from an SUV to a sedan, and I had to learn how to deal with trunk storage efficiency.  (still learning) Then my office was being remodeled and I had to work in a different city. I took advantage of the time to review my boxes and remove what was old and unnecessary.  I was able to shred a ton of old papers, have one box contents imaged digitally, and for another- I am going to transfer the cd files to the digital archive. Progress!

    A donation truck comes round our neighborhood tomorrow.  I was saving some clothing items for a former co-worker’s son- but it’s been years since I’ve seen him.  So tomorrow, out they go.  Sing with me now (to the tune of Let it Snow): Let it go, let it go, let it go!

    I am so blessed as I have some wonderful friends and family members who are such outstanding beams of joy- but perhaps it has made me have high expectations of others.  I’m learning to tone down my levels of expectations and realize that other people have their own stuff going on and sometimes they just can’t see their actions.  When my daughter’s friends parents (who only have one child) don’t even acknowledge my older child,  I admit that does make me kinda furious inside.  But likely they don’t know better,  they don’t have older children and so sometimes don’t even know how to talk to them. Other people may have their own blocks, or they’re too far invested in their perceptions that they aren’t likely to change.  Can I let them go?  Some people I can let go, as long as I don’t see them.  Right?  Bueller?

    I admit I have high expectations of myself.   I wrote two books, one musical, and recorded an album.  Why aren’t I more successful? Why can’t I find time to sit down and write my next book?  Why don’t I have more savings? Why did I forget about that school thing? Why didn’t I see that email?  Why can’t I keep up blogging three times a week?

    Why can’t I just love myself and let myself be?

    I am pretty aware, and I do have a lot going on, but I also have a pretty good support system and many tools available to me. I can focus and start using them to my advantage.  You know how when you have the right mindset, things just come to you?  Like that year when I truly believed that I was lucky, and I kept winning everything.  I want to live there.  I’m working on it.

    Lots of times I do one thing, or see another, and then I think: Is this my thing?  Maybe this could be my thing.

    Like that time I wrote a book.  Maybe this could be my thing.

    Or when I wrote that essay on how Harry Potter helps my family with Autism. Maybe this could be my thing.

    Or when I started making collage journals.  Maybe this could be my thing.

    Or when I started travel writing.  Maybe this could be my thing.

    The thing is- they are all my thing. I am me, and I am comprised of all these things.

    I just discovered a crafty planning community.  I love the integration of scrapbooking elements with planning.  Remember I like to Plan, to Have Fun.

    Integration.  Maybe this is My Thing.

    What’s Your Thing?

     

    Wednesday Wellness: Prepare Ye

    Happy #WellnessWednesday! (Or is it Wednesday Wellness? I can never remember.) I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I notice many of my friends who are creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my humble journey to wellness.
    IMG_5526.JPG
    Having just survived that family ordeal which we call Thanksgiving, we are now entering my birth month, otherwise known as that month which always has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, run over by a train. (Writing run-on sentences and mixing metaphors, apparently, too.)

    Let’s just all take a moment to acknowledge the winter holiday struggle and invisible illnesses, shall we?  Here’s “Unwell” by Matchbox 20.

    Sing it, Rob

    Here are a few things I am doing this year to help me find the light and keep the darkness at bay.

    Honor Advent.
    Many world religions celebrate the winter solstice. Read this. http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_conflict1.htm I have a book of meditations that I like to read at this time of year- part Christian, part Zen. I am also singing at church on the second and fourth Sundays.

    Practice Self-Care.
    I listen to guided visualizations on my phone before bed. After some basic yoga and maybe the plank challenge.
    https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Yoga-Workout-Dummies-Ivanhoe/dp/B00005LQ08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480533014&sr=8-1&keywords=basic+yoga+for+dummies
    http://gettinmyhealthyon.com/2013/09/20/30-day-plank-challenge/
    Organize.
    I am near done purchasing my holiday gifts, and just have to wrap them. Thanks to my handy dandy historical gift-giving spreadsheet, which I have kept up since 2004. I also search online for lists of books containing characters with my children’s and nieces’ and nephew’s names.

    Give.
    Tis the Season of giving. Many social justice organizations need your help now more than ever. Feels good to donate even just a little. If you are a homeowner, your charitable donation may have tax benefits, as well. There are many ways to give, starting with collecting unneeded clothes, books and toys in your home to donate to a local charity, many which swing by your neighborhood on a regular basis. Your old glasses could give someone the gift of sight. You can also donate your time. Sign up to volunteer with a local food bank or charity organization to sort or distribute donations. Sign up with a friend or family member and share the experience.

    Write.
    I do want to journal and blog more. Right now I am working on self-editing my new book, so hopefully I can return to regular writing in just a bit.

    Calendar.
    Maintaining the family calendar of all our events. We have orthodontist appointments, church, religious instruction, pageants, school, band practices, band performance, the Nutcracker, recitals, and three family birthdays. Still it’s all manageable with clever calendaring. I’m so excited that my 2017 Diary Planner has already arrived! https://shiningacademy.com/2017-workbooks/

    Say No.
    Even though singing with a volunteer choir sounds fun, I don’t have time for all the rehearsals. So, Ive learned to say “No, Thank you. Maybe next year.” Try it.

    Read my other posts on Advent here.

    Advent Calendar

    Peace,
    Denise

    Wednesday Wellness- Wait, What?

    Happy Wellness Wednesday!  I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noted so many of my creative artist friends struggle with balance, as do I.  I hope that in writing about it, we can start a conversation and  wake up to wellness!

    It’s Wednesday, again. Wait, what?

    I’m still juggling everything on my journey.  Sometimes the best I can do for my own wellness is to look at everything I am juggling, and just stop. I need to work on giving myself permission to stop.  That is the harder part for me, truthfully.  I can stop for a second and tune out, but then I seem to get overwhelmed again and even berate myself for having had stopped in the first place.  Does this happen to anyone else?

    I’m learning to strain the stressors and seek strength from within.  It is a process for me.  I’m actually naturally flexible, it is society and responsibility that is seemingly inflexible, sometimes.  Am I right?

    Watching a movie or reading a book can do wonders for me.  It takes me out of my own mind for a bit.  But, be careful what you are reading/watching.  After watching the recent release of  Batman vs. Superman, I experienced a cinematic PTSD.  But after watching the earthquake movie San Andreas, I felt inspired.  I read the Harry Potter & the Cursed Child script,  somehow finding three hours yesterday.   But that did not bring me the peace I had hoped for.  After finishing, I was tempted to return to my Star Wars books I’d been reading.  But something told me I needed a little bit of a break.

    Last month I was working on letting things go. I had consulted Coach Reba Linker with regards to decluttering, and soon after, as it happened, we had scheduled an appointment with an appraiser.  How’s that for inspiring?  I returned borrowed items and donated or sold a bunch more. I also started looking deeply within and began to acknowledge what else might be let go of.  I had a couple of strained “friendships” and  finally started letting them go.  To be honest the relationships had already dissipated, it was time that I recognized it as such, and let them go with my blessing.  Make no mistake, this is not easy.  And I still have more to ponder.

    This month I am working on letting love in. I am focusing on gratefulness and recognizing that which is good. There is a lot of good out there. I recognize that we live in turbulent times, but I am confident there is an awakening and people are starting to come around.  I think I will work on writing a new short prayer for my children to add to their evening prayers rotation.

    My car overheated on a hot day, and required a bunch of repairs, including fixing the air conditioner.  Then, our air conditioner in our house stopped working, on one of the hottest nights of the year.  I called 27 service providers on Saturday morning, and only one was available to come to our home that day.  I’m certain there is a message in there somewhere.  Like, maybe- regular maintenance is required for living comfortably. It wouldn’t be the first time the Universe has spoken to me through my car.

    Something else I have been awakened unto- my cruise/ vacation wellness practice has been leaking into my daily life.  I noticed that much of my wardrobe is now cruise friendly, iron free and wrinkle free. I’m perfecting my minimalist beauty routine, using only what I would travel with. Planning, to have fun- and making time for self-love.

    My post on Cruisin’ 101 was featured on Wellness Warrior.  My book earned another 5-star review on Amazon.  The book containing my Harry Potter & Autism essay went on sale.   Teaching with Harry Potter  is now $9.99 on Kindle! My music publisher mailed royalty checks on Monday- crossing my fingers that I made the minimum for them to actually cut me a check this time, LOL. Just when I was wondering how I might make a little more money, my children’s lessons were cancelled for the weekend, and I got called in to play piano for church.

    It’s like God is telling me: You already have the tools,  Just open your eyes.