Today, I want to share a version of one of my favourite journaling exercises: lists.
After my daughter was born, I experienced a couple of episodes of “the baby blues:” a few days of feeling pessimistic, listless and tearful (N.B. this isn’t the same as postnatal depression, which lasts for longer, tends to be more severe and is best supported by professional attention). Each time, I knew that nothing was wrong per se. In fact, I was—and am—loving motherhood. The way I felt was mostly due to a combination of tiredness, hormonal changes, and the fact I was (and again am) still finding the balance between caring for my daughter and meeting my own needs. I knew it would pass but, in the meantime, I decided to do what I could do to improve my mood.
Something I found helpful was a simple journaling technique I share in The Ultimate Guide to Journaling: lists. Lists are among my favourite journaling techniques because they are quick but powerful exercise for getting clarity, exploring ideas and having fun. To start with, I got meta and created a list of lists to make when I needed a quick pick-me-up. Then, the next time I needed a quick mood boost, I’d pick one and spend a few minutes writing out as many responses as I could think of. Taking just 10 minutes to do this when I was feeling down helped me get out of a negative feelings -> negative thoughts -> negative feelings pattern and left me feeling refreshed and more like myself again.
I know we all have blah days, so I’m sharing my meta list in case it’s useful for you too. None of these lists are particularly profound, but they are a helpful reminder of the positive and potential in our lives during times when we might lose sight of those things:
20 lists to make when you need a quick pick-me-up
- A list of places you’d love to visit
- A list of people you can connect with/spend time with over the next six months
- A list of memories that make you smile from the last 12 months
- A list of values you want to embody (and a list of ways you’re already embodying them)
- A list of lovely feedback you’ve received recently, personal or professional
- A list of things to do for artist dates
- A list of books you’d like to read
- A list of films and TV programmes you’d like to watch
- A list of movies you loved when you were a child
- A list of things you feel proud of
- A list of people you’ve made a difference to, however small
- A list of skills you’d like to learn
- A list of 30-day challenges you’d like to try
- A list of recipes you’d like to experiment with
- A list of gifts to give other people
- A list of gifts to give yourself
- A list of feel-good music (why not create a Spotify playlist?)
- A list of things to look forward to (can’t think of anything? Then write down a list of potential ideas)
- A list of self-care ideas
- A list of the ingredients (qualities, values, beliefs) that make you you
What feel-good lists would you add to this list? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
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