healing

My journaling practice this year

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been a keeper of diaries. It was always more a record of my days rather than a deeper delve into my thoughts and feelings. As I’ve gotten older, it has turned more into that. But I’ve always found it slightly terrifying to write my feelings onto paper, where other people could possibly stumble across it.

However, this year, I’ve found journaling to be an immensely valuable practice. It has helped me to unpack the many things that cause me to be anxious and has led to my being more aware of how these things affects my daily thoughts and wellbeing. I’ve always been quite self-aware which can actually be quite frustrating. Imagine knowing how toxic your thought patterns are, knowing exactly where they stem from and what they are caused by, and still not being able to do anything about it.

Another thing that has kept me from journaling in the past has been the pressure (that I’ve placed on myself of course) to write neatly, fill up journals and actually feeling like I have something interesting enough to write about. But once I gave myself the freedom to let my handwriting be messy and my entries erratic, I ended up doing some of the most useful journaling I’ve ever done in my life.

It gave me a place to physically get out my concerns and things that cause me to be anxious. I could read through my thoughts, and use it to come up with ways to deal with issues I was facing (when I could), and seek help when I couldn’t. It was not foolproof. Sometimes, it just became a place where I brooded and wrote awful, negative stuff down. But other times, it was lovely. Even just writing it all out and seeing everything on one page, in one place was enough to calm myself down a bit.

I let go of the idea that I have to write every day or even every week. When I felt like writing, I did. Sometimes it was two sentences. Other times it was four pages. And then sometimes I just didn’t write at all. I stuck random things in or used highlighters. when I felt like it. And sometimes, I just imagined writing stuff down (when I was too tired or lazy to actually put pen to paper) and that in itself was enough (I promise I’m not nuts – try it).

I made use of resources or prompts at times. Other times, I just did whatever I felt like. But the one common theme for my 2019 journaling practice is that I did what worked for me, at a given time. My journal is not a pretty thing to page through and it’s not meant to be. It’s the one space I allow myself to be messy, inarticulate and inconsistent. And I love it.

I really enjoyed this video and these journaling prompts, so check those out if you want some extra insight. (Some of the prompts felt a bit too intense for me, so I didn’t do them all. Just the ones I felt like doing).

Another thing I found since starting to journal is that my writing has improved a bit, so that’s another plus.

I hope you can find some value in picking up some kind of journaling practice. May 2020 be full of self-improvement.

Nabeela x

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

If If the thought of lying on the beach and frolicking in the ocean is enough to get you through a long, tiring double-period math lesson, you’re not alone. For many, the summer holidays are something that we look forward to the whole year. But just as quickly as they come, they go. Before you know it, you’re back in math and tackling yet another year of school or back at the office, working through a pile of stuff. It always feels as if they went in a flash.  And due to the busy nature of the summer holidays (think loads of coffee dates, dinner parties, getaways) its easy to feel even more drained than when they started. I’ve often heard people jokingly (is it a joke though?) say that they need a holiday to recover from the holidays.

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I’ll be going into grade 11 in 2018, the year many say is the most difficult of all the schooling years in the South African schooling system. I want to make sure that I go back well-rested and maybe sans the eye-bags that seem to constantly live on my face in term time. Here’s what I’ve been doing and am planning to do to get the most out of my holiday. Care to join me?

01. / Turn off and tune out

Even although we’re off from school (or work), with emails and even constant news and information from social media, our brains may feel as if they’re not on holiday at all. Take some time and make a conscious effort to turn off your phone and laptop, and just unplug for a while. It’ll do you a world of good, and you’ll be surprised how light you’ll feel (speaking from experience here. Mountain cabin with no reception = instant zen).

02. / Plan for nothing

Having a calendar to plan out how you’ll be spending your time off can put your mind at ease. However, its important to make some time to do nothing in particular – to check out that new breakfast spot you’ve been meaning to visit, or to get into that book that’s been on your nightstand for months.

03. / Ease up

Relating to what I’ve said previously, summer holidays can turn into the time we try and do everything, meet up with everyone, go everywhere. I have found that trying to make plans to see all my friends and be everywhere has been more stressful than anything else. Its a good time to reflect, and figure out who and what adds value to your life. You’ll feel more fulfilled and hopefully a lot less frazzled.

04. / Save it

Now, this may seem slightly unrelated, but if you’re anything like me, December is the time where all your hard-earned money seems to slip through your fingers, being lost to impulse purchases on sale items you don’t really need, and more. Be conscious. That’s all. Treat yourself, but not to the extent that your bank balance dwindles. No one wants to go into a new year broke (again).

05. / Stick with it

I’m certainly no stranger to the fact that holidays are a time that workouts go out the window and clean eating is nowhere to be seen. Balance is key. Enjoy the treats, but don’t let go of all your healthy habits. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll feel better too.

Here’s to a more healing, restful and fulfilling summer break. Sending love and light your way. Enjoy it all – you deserve it.

Nabeela x

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