The Art of Journaling

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a journal. I even remember my first one. It was baby pink with a puffy cover and came with a tiny lock and key which I promptly lost. At six or seven I wasn’t much of a writer but I still felt the power of having an outlet. Writing in my journal allowed me to give shape to the thoughts and emotions I was experiencing, and gave me a safe way of exploring my imagination and working out my problems.

Over the years I’ve continued to journal and with some exceptions it’s a practice I’ve kept up consistently. Out of all of my self-care activities I have found journaling to be the most helpful. Keep in mind I do not use this as a diary, or a record of my daily routine (although you’re certainly more than welcome to do so). I use more of a free-writing style; I jot down things that I’m feeling or experiencing, or something I want to remember. Sometimes it’s just whatever pops into my mind.

Sometimes waves of thought rage furiously through my head, one after the other, at a pace so roiling and intense that I’ve felt too overwhelmed to choose the right words, or felt that I couldn’t keep up enough to write anything down. Even then putting down something, anything, can act as a form of release. My entries then become bullet lists to organize the sea of my mind, each bullet a complete thought or feeling, without self-censoring or judgement, and with little regard to linear form. (Brains don’t really work like that, anyways.)

There are other ways of expressing yourself through journaling; I know some who use their bullet journals as both a calendar and personal diary. (Some of them are crazy amazing.) Doodle, use colour or stickers, or change up your writing or printing style (i.e., cursive, all-caps, different sizes, etc.)

If you’re a hardcore journal-writer looking to improve your journaling experience, there are entire websites, blogs and books devoted to journal prompts or ideas for list-making. Some books will even give you ideas on how to transform your journaling- for example, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, describes this process as writing “morning pages”.

For those who are inexperienced at journaling, there are lots of fun pre-printed journals and books designed for you to destroy, draw all over and make your own. A blank page can be intimidating to even the most seasoned writer, so having your own lists of things to fill out or doodles to finish could be what you need to jumpstart your creativity.

Journaling is a great way to process thoughts and feelings, work out problems, record dreams and experiences and express yourself. It allows yourself to be creative, which helps you with your self-esteem and improves your self-knowledge. Also, journaling has been known to aid in the treatment of depression, anxiety and those suffering from PTSD. If that’s not enough to convince you to pick up a pen and start writing, I don’t know what will!

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

How to Get Your Groove Back

Stella got hers back, so why can’t you get your back too?

Ok, maybe she had a little help from Taye Diggs (and who couldn’t use a little help from Taye Diggs?) but you can still find a way to get back on track even if you’re not the glamorous subject of a 90s movie.

Maybe you’re like Stella and you’re in transition- you’ve had a baby, just got married, changed jobs, moved houses, been through a divorce. Even though sometimes change can be for the better, we still face challenges when we mix up the status quo.

You’re not alone. Everyone has blips or hiccups that leave them feeling less confident about their lives, or their ability to make a change. On the other hand, giving yourself a kick in the pants may be just what you need to get your butt in gear.

What motivates you to take action? Some people respond to fear or stress, or even anger. If challenging yourself forces you to do something, do it, but leave out all of the negative self-talk. You won’t always have other people around to support you when you need it, so it’s important to learn how to be your own cheerleader.

See, it really all comes down to you. The key to challenging yourself lies in changing the behavior patterns or habits that are counter-productive to leading the life that you want to live. It’s one of the trickier emotional tasks you’ll face- it’s not easy to take a good, hard look at yourself let alone take responsibility for your own shortcomings. And, let’s face it, you’ll never be perfect. Transitions take time and you’re never going to change everything about yourself, especially not all at once.

You may not even want to change; unfortunately a lot of us are forced to once we’ve experienced an upheaval in our lives. That’s ok; we’re growing and changing all the time as we learn more, travel more, meet more people, have new experiences. It doesn’t mean you’re still not you- you’re just a newer version of yourself. If you can respect this process and respect who you once were, you’ll eventually grow to love the person you’ve become. And if you don’t, change! Humans are incredibly capable at adapting. Ironically it’s this ability that will always lead us back to ourselves- to finding our own groove, our own place in the world, wherever our lives take us.

Have you experienced a recent upheaval in your life? What was difficult about the change? How did you handle it? Let’s see if we can all get into the same groove and share each other’s stories by either commenting below or sending them to me at keepingbusyb[a]gmail.com. I may include them in an upcoming post!

I wrote about the benefits of changing up my own life here and here. Looking for more ways to makeover your life? I’ve got solutions on how to balance a busy schedule here, organizing your life here and maximizing your productivity here.

My New Wardrobe Rule

KBB_clutchesI used to play this sad little game with myself whenever I was having a bad day- I would go into my closet and I would pick out my most hated outfit and wear with an angry kind of pride, as if I wanted to project to all of the world that I was having a bad day. I was determined to make myself look as ugly on the outside as I felt on the inside.

The worst was whenever I received a compliment at the office or out on the street about the outfit that I had chosen. I couldn’t understand how clothing that I felt made me look frumpy and bloated could be admired by a stranger. Maybe they were just being nice in order to mock me, or worse, pity me. Then I’d get angry and think, “How dare you try to ruin my bad mood with your kind words!”

I am so twisted.

One day I was explaining this weird little habit to a friend of mine when he held up his hand to stop me. “Wait, hold on. Why do you keep clothes that you don’t like?”

So maybe he was a guy and he didn’t really understand. Or maybe I was the one not getting it. After all, I had half a closet’s worth of clothes that I didn’t wear half of the time because I had grown sick of them, or because they were old and had fallen out of fashion.

I think I said something crazy like I needed variety and we both thought it was weird so he dropped the subject, but ultimately in this scenario I really was the crazy person because I could not let go of things that made me feel badly about myself.

It took a lot of soul-searching but I eventually decided that I did not want to be that person that held on to things for the sake of having “things”. I wanted, I deserved, to fill my home with only the things that I loved. Why shouldn’t that ultimatum apply to clothing and accessories as well?

So I purged my closet of all of the things that no longer fit, were bad choices, or- let’s face it- were just plain unflattering. My wardrobe was decidedly slimmer, but I was satisfied- it was actually really easy to give up an abundance of choices in favor of a smaller wardrobe full of favorites that made me look and feel good.

It may seem silly to think of re-organizing or purging your closet as something that can improve your life emotionally, but paring down my wardrobe using my new rule has given me a boost in my self-esteem. I still have the occasional bad hair day (like, pretty much every other day) but I’m buoyed by the knowledge that even though I might feel like I’m dying on the inside, outwardly I can project an image of competence and self-confidence and show people the best of myself even when I’m feeling at my worst.

Plus, it makes getting out of the door in the morning way easier for this night owl. Trust me on this one.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you undertaken a closet re-organization lately? I want to hear all of the grisly details. Indulge me below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration on how to get your wardrobe just the way you want it, I’ve got some best practices for organizing your clothing and more here.