Just like when I developed the sudden need for a sensible shoe, I’m now someone who needs to actively take care of their mental health every single day. For me, this means being conscious of what I eat and drink, how I exercise my body and mind, who I let into my life, where I direct my energy, and most importantly, how I talk to myself.
On top of using words like ‘biodynamic’ and ‘shadow self’ in a sentence, I’ve become increasingly aware of how hard I can be on myself. From the conversations I’ve had with friends, I suspect a lot of us are feeling this way. (Oh, how I long for the days when an iced coffee, bagel and belting out an Adele song in the car was the only fuel required to remind us of our power!)
It could be the constant comparison game we’re forced to play when we hop on social media, the confronting reality of the cost of living crisis or how polarized society has become, but man, do I feel like I’m barely keeping up or ‘not enough’ sometimes. In a quest to show more self-compassion, I’ve done what any red-blooded woman would do; I’ve devoured wisdom from people like Glennon Doyle, James Clear and Brené Brown. But possibly the most helpful thing I’ve done is start journaling.
At first, I journaled to get my emotions onto the page and out of the control room of my body. But pretty quickly, I found journaling to be a powerful way to reflect and show self-compassion. Have you ever noticed how much kinder we are to our friends when they’re having a low moment than we are to ourselves? We’re like hype girls, right?!!! We have no problem reminding them of how incredible, strong, capable and deserving they are…
Yet when we’re feeling flat or overwhelmed, it’s like we come down on ourselves with the rage of a teenage girl who was just told by her parents that she can’t go to a party. YOU’RE THE ABSOLUTE WORST. I HATE YOU. WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE SOMEONE ELSE?
Long story short, when I find that I’m beating myself up or feeling like I don’t know where to start, I now turn to my journal and write to myself as if I were giving advice or showing compassion to my best friend. It’s shocking how kind I can be. Girl, you’ve got this. It’s okay that you made up a word during your presentation. Everybody does that. It’s your energy, heart and brilliance they’re after!
The other thing I love about journaling is how intentional it’s helped me become. As a long-time yogi, I always strive to make decisions and act in ways that align with my mind, body and spirit. By taking time to check in with myself on the page, I’ve found my life has become increasingly more authentic and positive.
And so, if there’s one gift I could give everyone this year, it’s the mental health tool of journaling. You may begin a daily practice, weekly check-in or only crack it open once a year and that’s okay. If you do opt for the latter, I’ve provided my go-to prompts for ultimate reflection and self-compassion.
End-of-year Journal Prompts to Help You Learn & Grow:
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go well this year?
- What did I learn about:
- My values
- My time-management
- My expectations
- What am I clear about now that I didn’t know at the start of the year?
- Is there a particular situation I wish I’d handled differently? If yes, how would I change my reactions/actions?
- Did I avoid any difficult conversations? If yes, what were they?
- Are any of the above difficult conversations worth having in 2024?
- When things felt dark, what activities/practices/conversations helped me find my light?
- When things felt light, easy and abundant, did I let myself truly enjoy the moment?
- If I could go back to the start of the year, what advice would I give myself?
- Is there something I wish I could have had more of? (e.g. time, money, energy, guidance, fun, sleep, opportunities…)
- If yes, how can I add more ________ into my life in 2024?
- What habits and activities would you like to continue in 2024?
When I started Bryony & Birch in 2021, my hope was that it would be a place of home for whoever walked through its doors. So many of us had been stripped of our identities and our connection to friends/family in the wake of what unfolded in March 2020 that I was desperate for a chance to reclaim a sense of belonging while tapping into the powers of collaboration.
While collaboration is often used in a professional sense, I’d like you to think about how we can collaborate for the collective consciousness. What tools, habits, and mindsets can you share that will improve your mental health, as well as the mental health of your loved ones? Perhaps the best gift you can give someone this year is a notebook and pen.
“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s end. Don’t compare the start of your second quarter of life to someone else’s third quarter.”
― Jon Acuff
Continue reading The Bryony & Birch Times:
- If yoga is on your list of things to try in Exeter, NH, then you need to check out Bryony Body. On top of yoga classes for all levels, you can find relief, relaxation and clarity in a massage, bodywork or crystal healing session.
- If you’ve been considering booking a brand photoshoot on the North Shore, you’re going to want to know about Bryony and Birch’s all-inclusive branding package. Here’s a sneaky behind-the-scenes look at one of our recent all-inclusive brand photoshoots.