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Jump Start Your Life With the Keystone Habit of Journaling

You can transform your life with a keystone habit. A keystone habit is one that influences other aspects of your life. Journaling, a keystone habit, gives you access to your authentic voice. It can be a centering practice and a source of guidance. Stumped for this week’s blog, I am happy to share with you that using one of my keystone habits, journaling, the topic was revealed. Over the years, I have developed a passion for journaling because it helps me in every area of my life. For example,journaling through a divorce and single parenting I maintained a steadiness and clarity that would not have otherwise happened.

Journal and journey have the same root. A deeply personal experience, journaling gives you a chance to relate to the parts of yourself that are clamoring to be heard. By putting your thoughts onto paper- journaling becomes a tool of discovery which can be fun, interesting and informative. It can broaden your understanding of unfolding events, clarifying health, relationship, career issues and whatever else is on your heart/mind. Even 5 or 10 minutes a day of time spent journaling may bring to light surprising options.

Depending upon your intentions, the circumstances of your life and your proclivities, different styles are useful: reflective/contemplative, lists, work notes/accomplishments, observations, gratitude journals, responses to events, letters to a higher power just to name a few. If you don’t like or can’t read your handwriting ~~ no excuse, you don’t have to write! You can use online options. AND/OR, you can use colored pens, pencils, pictures and collage with paper.   

To  start, consider why, how and when you want to journal.  Mornings can be good to set the tone for the day and before going to bed can be a great time for tying up loose ends of the day for a great night’s sleep. If you have concerns about privacy, there are many on line options to choose from. I prefer paper because doodling and glue help me to get to feelings and concepts that are illusive.  You will discover what works for you when you engage this private time with yourself. 

Additionally, you can journal with others.  In 2016 I gave the workshop Wisdom Journaling: Journaling for Clarity and Connection  at the AHNA Convention.  Participants enhanced their personal discoveries by sharing with the group and having others listen without judgement to their journaling discoveries and process. My children and I had fun journaling together and they both use journaling today, 20+ years later.

If you need more convincing to begin your journaling practice, Judy Willis MD, a neurologist, and former classroom teacher explains, “The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.”

Maybe you are already journaling. Please share with us how you journal. What mediums you use and why? What do you enjoy about journaling?  What are the benefits? How do you work with your need for privacy?

The Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses, the 90 day program supports nurses in establishing 3 keystone habits.  Journaling is often chosen as one of the practices in addition to being one of the tools used in the program. The early bird discount has been extended, so if you sign up in the next week, you will be able to not only get the discount, but get support in building 3 keystone habits for your life.

In the meantime, you might want to journal after participating in the 

Self Care for Vitality 

Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses           Phone 712-432-3066       Pin 177444

Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST

There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence
in community and optional sharing
We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as:
Setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
It’s free to all and you can join in with a share or just listen in.
May your week be filled with clarity, beauty and inspiration.
With love, Padma

If you want to jump start yourself with a challenge:







The Potency of Self Care Retreats

When was the last time you refreshed yourself with a retreat? Recently I returned to work from a 4 day retreat with a sense of optimism, contentment and emotional fullness as a result of engaging with the nourishing processes that supported my inner wisdom. Retreats and vacations are similar in that you take time away from your normal responsibilities. Both can be uplifting and renewing.  However, whether you take a “staycation” (not going away) or a vacation, the focus is usually outward- new people, places and, new experiences or working on projects in your home environment. The vacation may or may not be structured, and upon return you resume the schedule you left. With a retreat on the other hand,  your focus is inward using contemplation, reflection, meditation, Self or other inquiry, and possibly prayer. Often there is a structure to help you experience parts of yourself that are often not given time to be seen, heard or felt. After connecting more deeply with your Self, you return to your normal work and other responsibilities with greater insight, contentment and a sense of peace. The processes you practice on retreat often continue to nurture and fuel you into the future.

The goal of a retreat is to experience a sense of calm, a sense of oneness with what is, and a deeper experience of love and your inner wisdom.

When are you going to nurture your Self with a retreat?

There are so many kinds to choose from:

healing retreats

mindfulness retreats

nature retreats

retreats with a spiritual teacher

yoga retreats

silent retreats

12 Step Recovery retreats

what will nurture you?

If you don’t feel you can go somewhere and there is nothing locally available,
you can design a beautiful retreat for yourself.

The following are 6 suggestions and examples:

  1. When I had a limited income and my children still lived with me, they went to friends’ houses for a weekend, and I designed a 2 day retreat that included meditation, silence, reading, gardening, walking, journaling and plenty of sleep. I prepared by cleaning and preparing food before the kids left to optimize my inward focus time.  I told friends  I was unplugging- that I’d be in silence and available only for emergencies. This was not a “staycation”. Telling others of my intention was a way of creating accountability. Choosing to detach from all your electronic devices for a day or more can be very challenging, AND a totally nourishing experience after you go through the feelings of withdrawal- the compulsive reaching for your phone, the obsessive chatter in your mind and random feelings of FOMO- “fear of missing out,” which refers to the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation.  Sticking to the intention of being on retreat at the end, was refreshing, wholesome and empowering.
  2. Our local holistic nurses association chapter offers an annual Self care one day retreat in September. It is a day designed for nurses to focus in community on ourselves. Catered and held in a beautiful setting, we meditate, engage in activities such as journaling, coloring and walking a labyrinth with the goal of nurturing the caregiver in us. There are opportunities for us to give and receive healing modalities such as Reiki, Healing Touch, massage and Therapeutic Touch which encourage discovery of joy, beauty and healing inside and outside of ourselves.
  3.  A few years ago a friend and I decided we wanted to share a retreat and to deepen our friendship. We designed a schedule of meditation, walking, and listening to a series of talks by a healer we had heard of. We tent camped in a state park, in silence for a weekend. It rained the full weekend, and except for laughter, we maintained our noble silence and had a memorable, enriching and powerful shared experience of a deeper friendship.
  4. A daily commitment to unplugging from technology for a given amount of time can be a mini retreat with yourself . “A retreat allows the mind to flow freely, to appreciate information and beauty instead of trying to process it. A quiet 15 minutes among nature can act as a personal daily spiritual retreat for some.” Done on a regular basis you can support your inner wisdom, especially if you combine it with journaling.
  5. Join us on our weekly phone call.    Self Care for Vitality
    Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses   Phone 712-432-3066    Pin 177444
    Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST
    There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence  in community and optional sharing. We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as: setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
    If you have not had a retreat in a while, maybe you want to consider the following:

 6.  Vitality in Progress is a structured, 12 week creative and healing home retreat to focus on your inner being. With our support you create your own Self care plan that invites you to tap into your inner wisdom as you explore the topics of commitment, habits, vulnerability, setting boundaries,  Self love, compassion, kindness and more. The next start date is August 27th, and there is an early registration discount going on now.

How often do you give yourself the gift of a retreat? Do you have a daily practice that feels like a mini retreat for you? Please share with us other types of retreats  you have used and use to nurture yourself.

Please take good care of you. Not only do you need to do so for your own sanity and well being, but your family, friends  and the world we live in wants and needs you to share your gifts and light. You can do this with greater ease by caring for your beautiful Self.

With love, Padma







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