The Importance of Keeping a Journal

I don’t know about you, but as an administrative assistant, I have a lot going on in my head.

I’m constantly thinking about everything I need to do for work and just when I think I’ve prioritized my to-do list, my lead agent hands me something new that takes priority over everything else. So I throw a mental temper tantrum and get to work on the new thing.

I know from experience that my brain loves to repeat the negative stuff over and over again. It’s worrying about whether I remembered to do something. It’s judging my actions and telling me I could have done better. It’s chastising my teammates for having fun at work when there’s just so much to do, who has time for fun?

If I don’t have an outlet for all that negative energy, it will keep piling on and eventually I have thoughts that I should quit my job and go work somewhere with a lot less responsibility.

That’s why keeping a journal is so important for my mental health. When I get the thoughts out on paper, I can remove them from my mind. I don’t have to remember to keep thinking about something, or trying to solve a problem in my brain, because I’ve capture it on paper.

Often, I just need self-compassion. I can see on paper how hard I’m being on myself and then decide if I want to keep doing that, or purposefully change those thoughts.

Several thoughts I have on repeat right now are:
It’s too much.
I can’t keep up.
I can’t seem to stay on top of everything I’m responsible for.

Does it look like I love my job right now, or does it look like I’m struggling?

The fact is, I’m not going to be able to wave a magic wand and suddenly have everything under control. I can’t control the amount of things coming at me right now. All I can control are my thoughts about those things.

What if I tried out some new thoughts? And not the typical everything’s-going-to-be-okay thought. My brain’s not ready to believe that yet. I need something more along the lines of:
I’ve just hired a new admin to leverage a lot of these tasks.
She’s learning the job and taking things off my plate each day.
I can only do one thing at a time, so do the first thing and forget about the rest.

Thoughts like these don’t alleviate all my struggles, but I do start to feel a little better when I say them. I start to believe them a little more when I see my hand write them into my journal in my own handwriting.

I like to write out scenarios in my journal too. I picture alternate futures and write about them and contemplate in writing how to go about making them happen.

It’s usually easy for me to write down what I’m thinking, because I’m always thinking about something! Sometimes though, I will prompt myself with something that happened and then write out all my thoughts about it. This helps me deal with people a lot. I sometimes write in my journal all the things I wanted to say to a person that particular day, especially if it’s someone I’m mad at. Writing it down is almost like I actually said it to that person and then my brain relaxes and lets it go. I like that.

Keeping a journal is a habit worth developing. Just writing for 10-20 minutes in the morning is enough to experience the positive benefits. Writing for longer periods on the weekend has proven insightful. I often have a-ha moments when I discover something or come to a conclusion about something that was unclear to me before. That’s really fun.

So grab a notebook and pen and start your journal today. Your brain will thank you!

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