Journaling: The Simple, Free, & Accessible Tool for Nurses

by | Apr 8, 2013 | 1 comment

Being a Nurse Coach I have the privilege and opportunity to experience many, many self-care modalities. And as nurses know, we have a lot of stress in nursing. So what is a wonderful stress reduction tool AND an easy, sure-fire way to get-to-know ourselves at the same time?

Journal.

Now I know, I know- being a nurse it may be difficult to find the time to do this wonderful health promotion technique. Some of us may be thinking, “I’m not a writer. Every time I sit down to write I get stuck.

Now as a nurse health coach, I’m not proud to admit this- but I too struggled with a daily journal practice. I read a great book, ‘Journal to the Self,’ by Kathleen Adams about two years ago. During the book, and for some time after, I was ‘committed to’ my practice.

And then it stopped. I stopped.

Then- I heard about the daily gratitude journal. I’m sure you’ve heard about this practice- at the end of the day you write down 3 things in your journal that you are grateful for. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well… that lasted- and then it didn’t. I fell off the wagon… again.

Boy, not a very good Nurse Coach, huh?

You think that’s a lot of attempts? Here’s one more… I went through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition Coaching Program from 2011 to 2012. One of our teachers, Julia Cameron, wrote ‘The Artist’s Way.’ I was all excited to do my morning pages- and I did them- for about two weeks. My oh my, I didn’t keep up with that! (What kind of nurse health coach is this?).

This past February I was on a call with my own coach- probably the most influential conversation of my life… thus far. Together we realized I needed ‘a break’. “A break?”, you ask. “Don’t you work part-time, own a business you love and are passionate about, and engage in healthy routines every day?” Sure- but being totally honest with you- I did do all of those things… and in that way- I did too much.

She gently reminded me of the ‘Morning Pages’ from the Cameron’s book. I thought to myself, “Well, this is going to be a total bust- I’ve done this before…” But this time we created some flexible parameters.

  • I write my 3 morning pages every day as soon as I get up;
  • The days I can’t get to it in the morning I do ‘afternoon’ or ‘evening’ pages;
  • I write 3 ‘pages’ whenever I am struggling with a challenge;
  • I write 3 ‘pages’ whenever I feel like it!

I am happy to report that since February 5th (that’s 51 days ago)- I haven’t missed a day! Why is that?

My journaling has helped me to hear myself. It is an easy, FREE, and accessible way to get to know me. I can problem solve, investigate, heal, learn, and grow from my writing. There’s no schedule to keep (other than doing it every day); no coach to pay. I don’t have to be a perfect writer- it doesn’t matter what the topic is- I always figure things out. In hearing my inner wisdom, tapping into my inner guide, I’ve gotten to know me in a much more intimate and healthy way!

Writing daily (or as problems come up) is a healthy, whole, and wonderful way to teach and learn from the guide within. When I start out… it may be a ramble or a nonsensical string of who-knows-what. But what I love, what I am absolutely thrilled to observe in each entry- is that the lesson to be learned is always uncovered to me, through me.

Now… I know many of you are wondering “How did she make it stick this time?” or “When will she quit again?” I can tell you this:

I am sticking it out because I am enjoying myself. I am seeing, feeling, and experiencing the benefits of my efforts. Who knows if I will let go of the routine again- only time will tell. But when we have fun with our healthy habits- we are much more likely to continue with our routine!

Who among us journals every day? How have you benefited? What does your routine look like and what have you learned about yourself through your writing? I invite you to share a comment below so that we can all learn and grow from each other’s journey. Have a healthy day!

1 Comment

  1. Marti

    I used to journal for 2-3 hours/day! At the end of my day and while the children were watching tv, I would go up to my room and write. I would talk about my day, my feelings, my wants, hopes and dreams. I wrote it all! It really helped me to cleanse my mind of these thoughts that sometimes would plague me during the day while I was trying to work and concentrate. I, too, got away from it when life became busier and I had to take on extra side jobs to help get my three daughters through college. I felt like I had to time. I eventually got away from it altogether.

    Recently I have tried to tackle it again! Starting slow at just five or ten minutes/day and slowly building to longer. It’s not always easy but I am doing my best. It really does help to cleanse and heal the mind, body, soul and spirit of both positive and negative thoughts.

    Reply

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