Destination Journaling: A Gift to Yourself

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Today I am pleased to share with you a guest post by the lovely and talented Maria Rainier.

One thing that many selfless givers tend to forget about or deliberately ignore is making time for themselves. I love to make other people happy, and I understand that others like me tend to focus on devoting their time and energy to everyone and everything but themselves. That only works up to a certain point: when you fail to acknowledge and meet your own mental and emotional needs, you’re incapable of serving others. I’ve come to this realization many times, but it’s hard to reconcile it with my desire to do things for other people. Fortunately, I have friends and family to tell me to go relax every once in a while, and it’s their encouragement that has led me to figure out my own way to unwind.

Finding Time for Journaling

I never would have started keeping a journal if it hadn’t been suggested by one of my favorite poets, Claudia Emerson. I had the opportunity to hear one of her poetry readings, and after she had read some of her pieces from Late Wife, she gave a basic overview of her creative process. I learned that she keeps a journal for the purpose of revisiting it and gleaning useful phrases from it that can be developed into art. As an aspiring creative writer, I can use all the help I can get, so I decided to try her approach.

Despite my professional intentions, the journal turned into a place to acknowledge my personal thoughts and feelings. I’ve benefited from this in several ways, from dealing with anxiety to recognizing and reducing negative thoughts, but it didn’t start as a personally therapeutic activity. I could have started enjoying the journaling process much earlier if I had been open to taking personal time for myself.

My advice to you is to start keeping a personal journal as a gift to yourself. It’s relaxing, informative, and therapeutic- so if you’re one of those workaholics, you’re still doing something productive. I reserve ten or fifteen minutes at the end of the day to reflect and record my thoughts, and that’s all it takes. You can give it a try without losing a lot of time, and it might help you rejuvenate yourself so you can keep helping others.

Seeking Inspiration from Events & Outside Locations

Every weekend, I make a point of finding a unique destination for an extended and luxurious journaling session. Taking your journal along with you to an inspiring location or event can help you record some especially unique thoughts and ideas. It’s a fun and relaxing process that can show you just how creative you can be. For example, I’ve taken my journal to the park so I can sit next to the lake, observing the wildlife and enjoying the sun as I write. I’ve also written at the art museum, in the balcony at orchestra concerts (very quietly), at the swimming pool, on the beach, and in coffee shops. There are plenty of inspiring places to write, so give yourself a treat by spending some alone time with your journal in a relaxing location.

Making the Experience Personal

It might seem strange to go somewhere alone for the sole purpose of writing, but it’s not lonely at all. Everyone on the planet needs some time for solitude every once in a while, even the most gregarious and social people. So make the time truly yours by focusing on introspection, enjoying the sights and sounds of your new journaling spot, and recording the experience so you can read about it later. This simple and relaxing practice can help you feel rejuvenated, preparing you for another week of giving love and creating happiness.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online schools, and the future of online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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