Self-Care Challenge Day 2: Writing It Out

By: Amy Maricle

Self Care Challenge Write

I have found that if I don’t want my feelings to completely run my life, I need some outlets for them. Sometimes five minutes is all I need to purge my worries, whether before bed, first thing in the morning, or in the middle of the day.  Being able to them on paper let’s me set them aside and focus on the moment.

 

Try this exercise:

PIck a time today when you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or confused. Find a quiet spot and write uninterrupted for 5 minutes about what’s on your mind. When you are done, read what you wrote and underline words and phrases that stick out to you. Pay attention to any needs that arise, and take care of them as best you can.

 

Tell your friends about the 7 Day Self-Care Challenge using:
#selfcarechallenge on social media!

 

Comment for a Chance to Win:

Do you write out your worries, problems, or dilemmas? What helps you get it off your chest and move on? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

 

46 Comments

  1. Jamie

    I do try to journal regularly, and I’ve had stuff come up while journaling. But I haven’t made it a habit to journal when I need to dump it out. Good idea, for sure!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Jamie:

      Thanks for participating in Day 2 – write it out! Journaling can be such a wonderful way to explore our feelings in so many ways, can’t it? What’s on your self-care agenda for today? Please let us know if you end up writing, or taking a walk, etc. so that your entry for today counts!

      Take care,

      Amy

      Reply
  2. Sandy

    This is a good topic to consider. I tend to hold onto things and mull them over. I don’t journal. Because of this challenge I did spend five minutes before bed attempting meditation, which is really hard. I also started a little prayer box, as you suggested, to fill with little slips of paper of what I want for myself, my family and others.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Sandy:

      Everybody in this challenge better watch out for you because you are sure to get in a comment right away each day which tells me you are really taking the opportunity to focus on self care and/or you want that prize! I love it! The prayer box, which I suggest in my Free Self-Care guide that folks get when they sign up on the website, is such a lovely practice. I am enjoying this image of you writing down and storing your intentions for yourself and your loved ones. Did you decorate the box? I’m so curious!

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  3. Kim R

    I love this 7 day self-care challenge!
    I have seen significant changes in my spirit through journaling and whole-heartedly belief that “morning pages” (Julia Cameron) literally changed my life.
    Try to write 30 minutes of stream of consciousness writing every morning. Seems to clear and expand my Being for the day:)
    Those who know me well -also can tell when I haven’t been making it a regular self-care routine!
    Thanks again for this challenge:)

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Kim:

      Welcome to the #selfcarechallenge! Thank you so much for your participation in the challenge and in this community! I too was a HUGE fan of morning pages for quite some time. I am glad that you mention it. In fact, for anyone who is not familiar, here’s a link to her book, The Artist’s Way

      That book was one of the elements that helped lead me to becoming an art therapist and further developing my own artist side. I wonder if you find that the morning pages help you better recall your dreams since you do it first thing? I ended up doing lots of interesting dream analysis in those days too.

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  4. susan storm

    wow that was great! i set my timer and wrote-
    i read it over looking for themes,
    i saw chaos and overwhelmed on the page-
    saw things in a much easier perspective once i put it out there.
    very therapeutic ….. i feel refreshed-.
    – things are looking up-
    have a good day all.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Wow Susan, that’s so cool the way you were able to pull back and find the themes. I feel refreshed just hearing about it!

      YOU have a good day and thank you ever so much for sharing.

      Amy

      Reply
  5. Laura

    I took 5 minutes to write down how I was feeling before my workout. It was a hurried morning and Ii was feeling keyed up. I was planning to swim and realized as I was writing that I wanted it to be a workout but also a rejuvenating, nurturing experience. I was in an outdoor pool surrounded by towering pine trees. I took in the beauty. I stopped my laps for a bit to just float aimlessly and to do some playful dolphin dives. I even did a couple of handstands in the water. 🙂 I am astounded how taking some time to reflect before the experience enhanced it so much! I am going to try to do this more often!!! It’s like a journaling microburst!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Ooh, Laura, a journaling “microburst.” I like that! I love how the journaling helped you tune into what you needed and then respond to that. That’s been one of the really cool things that everyone is finding on this challenge – how the intention for doing self-care spreads throughout the day, even when you only commit to 5 minutes. Self-care is an attitude!

      🙂 Thanks for sharing your journey!

      Amy

      Reply
  6. Jennifer Butler Basile

    So often my mind is swirling so fast that I have to write my thoughts/anxieties down to contain them. Seeing them visually, or giving them physical being, helps to release my mind from them and lower my hackles a bit!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Jennifer:

      I love that you have joined this conversation, given your lovely blog on motherhood, Chopping Potatoes. (If you other folks don’t know it, you should check it out. I love the pun-ny humor of commenting by throwing another potato in the pot. I am guessing that you of all people know a thing or two about this process we have all started here of using writing to care for ourselves and then sharing it with the world.

      I connect with your statement about releasing your mind and lowering your hackles. Whether in writing, art, or both, getting stuff onto the page and out of me is almost always helpful. Was that your self-care for today, or was something else? Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

      Amy

      Reply
  7. Deb

    I do frequently write in my journal, and my repetitive themes are anxieties, loneliness and friendships.
    Daily I am mindful about working on the first two, but also daily, I am grateful for, and rely on my friendships and other available support and resources.
    It has always been difficult for me to reach out to others for help, but with physical and emotional maturity comes wisdom. The load is so much lighter when friends and others in my support system help me bear them.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Deb:

      Thanks for participating in the #selfcarechallenge. I too lean on my friends a lot and value them like family. Did you journal today, or do something else for self-care?

      Cheers,

      Amy

      Reply
  8. Patricia

    I love journaling! I went through a season of tremendous change in my 30’s, and journaled each day for quite a few years. It was a time of finding my voice and learning to value myself, my thoughts, and my feelings. Fast forward 20 years… today I needed to find a tool I had purchased several years ago, and could not put my hands on it. Very frustrating, as I went through lots of boxes of paperwork… I found some nice treasures along the way, (a blast from the past, I am so sentimental) and while I didn’t find the cellophane bag with the forms, I did find one copy I can use (until the others turn up.) It made me realize I would like to get more organized. I journaled about my feelings of frustration and overwhelm, and amidst my rant, I found things to be grateful for: the chaos and overwhelming feelings are leading me to make some helpful changes, remember my strong commitment to myself, let my humanness be okay, and pray about it. God knows where those forms are. I asked for His help in finding them. I am grateful for His provision of the one form: I only need one for today, and it reminds me of living “one day at a time.” So amidst the information overload and disorganization, I have exactly what I need for today, and increased motivation to sort through my paperwork in the near future. Journaling helped me organize my thoughts and find beauty amidst the messiness that is life. I am here, I am committed to growth, and I am thriving amidst the difficulties. Thanks to everyone else that is sharing. I enjoy your posts very much. Amy, thanks for sharing your kind and wise responses. I feel like I am getting to know you better through this exercise. Thanks for creating the space to share… in an important way… the world is a better place because of this opportunity.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      OH Patricia, thank you for your wonderful energy and for helping to make this space what it has become! Your words are kind and very gratifying. This is even more than I hoped would become of this challenge. People are sharing so much of themselves here, like you. It’s humbling and inspiring. I too enjoy getting to know you as you comment and unravel more about your art and life. You illustrate so well how stepping back can help you to refocus and choose more of what you want in your life. Sometimes that means doing a bit of organizing I guess!

      Cheers to you,
      Amy

      Reply
  9. Andrea Monreal Castillo

    Well, today is a very important day because in a few hours I’ll have a meeting with my students’s parents so I was feeling really nervous, and this morning was too busy because I was getting everything together and cleaning my classroom, and I had a terrible headache, so once that I finished I came home and I was starving so I was eating, and then I started to write everything that I was thinking for the meeting and suddenly I found myself writing about some other things that I wasn’t even paying attention but in that moment I did, so it was great how I took everything out of my system and how now I’m feeling so much better and relaxed and I don’t have a headache anymore and I’m totally ready for this meeting!!! So thanks to #selfcarechallenge now I’m going to have a great meeting and I’m gonna be able to leave everything else out of my head!!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Andy:

      It sounds like you did a great job using the challenge to your advantage today. I hope your meeting went great and thanks so much for sharing your success with us all.

      🙂 Amy

      Reply
      • Andrea Monreal Castillo

        My meeting was awesome, the best part was that I share with all the team what I did and how it helped me and we all took 5 minutes to do the same thing!!!!!! Thanks for help me to help my team!!!!

        Reply
        • Amy Johnson Maricle

          Andy – HA! This is so great. We are spreading the self-care revolution to Mexico! I love that you felt empowered and then empowered them. Thank you for sharing that!
          Amy

          Reply
  10. Christine

    First when I read today’s challenge, I think it was a joke… I just finished writing my Morning Pages… I write a lot, everyday, everywhere, I have a lot of notebook and journals… I cherish the old from when I was a child or a teenager… BUT… then I wanted to do something for the challenge and realize that it wasn’t so simple… I write a lot but not so “good”, in fact I often don’t write really what I feel… even in the morning pages… so this evening I took 5 minutes and a piece of paper and I was very honest with myself, and I feel so relieved! I realize that I need more of those moments, and want give me those 5 minutes in the evening everyday (if I can…)…

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Christine:

      Thank you for sharing so candidly about your writing experiences. I bet a lot of people can identify with at times needing to get really, really honest about what we feel. I know that there are times, even having kept a journal for years, that I hesitate to write down my deepest, darkest thoughts, feelings,and impulses, because what if someone found it? What would they think of me? Or, what will I think of me if I admit to myself in writing my true feelings? This is part of why I love art journaling so much. It allows me to cover, hide, or keep safe under glued paper and paints things that I need to express, but don’t feel safe enough to leave exposed for someone to happen upon.

      Thank you for sharing about how getting candid with yourself can be so transformative.

      Amy

      Reply
  11. Teresa

    Ok Amy.. Here I am…
    Thanks for the motivation and courage to do the exercise … It was not easy … at first I did not know how to get started but once I started the words flowed and flowed … and … I can only say that problems are like cockroaches, when you are able to see them, they disappear …
    Thanks again for this useful exercise!…
    Teresa

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Teresa:

      HA! I love your cockroach analogy. I often use dark humor to deal with difficult things, so that really hit my funny bone. I’m so glad that you took the chance to do it.

      Un abrazo,

      Amy

      Reply
  12. Kara

    I actually set my timer to see how much I wrote in 5 minutes. I felt like there were a few minor pauses in my writing but when the timer went off I felt like I still had more to say. It was a nice opportunity to use my journal that sits by my bed.

    My journal is enscribed with the quote “life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” -unknown It was nice to remind myself of that this evening.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Kara:

      Setting the timer sounds like a really interesting experiment. Given how folks are also using stream of consciousness writing here, it sound like many of us are on the same page. I too love thinking about creating my reality.

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  13. Jill

    Five minutes went by so quickly! I felt it difficult to end, but adding a doodle helped. It was somewhat overwhelming, which tells me I need to do this more!! A faulty pen also made things interesting 🙂 To be continued… (I hope!)

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Jill:

      I know it’s amazing how we fight doing things to take care of ourselves and then when we sit down to do it, we don’t want to stop sometimes! I wonder what was overwhelming about it? Just that the time seemed too short? I wonder if drawing first would be better?

      Thanks for sharing your process.

      Amy

      Reply
  14. Tara

    It’s amazing how quick it can go by! After getting my little one ready to start VPK tomorrow and not feeling confident with this teacher, I needed this today!! Onward we go!

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Tara:

      Welcome to Maricle Counseling’s blog and the #selfcarechallenge. Geez, the anxiety of sending your little one off to a new place when you are not sure about the teacher – I an understand how some writing time for this was in order. I’m so glad that it helped.

      Onwards and upwards as you say,

      Amy

      Reply
  15. Chibi Jeebs

    I write about my day before bed and include a list of 5 things for which I’m grateful; however, I really needed this mid-day writing break. Thank you. <3

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Chibi:

      Thanks so much for dropping by again and sharing your process with us. I have often thought about a disciple of a gratitude journal -thanks for the reminder. I’m glad too though that this was a welcome contrast to that.

      Amy

      Reply
  16. Lori

    My self-care for today was listening to my (pregnant) body needing to rest this afternoon. After a fun morning adventure with my toddler, my initial plan was to tackle some nagging items on my to do list during his nap time. Normally, I’d feel guilty or disappointed in myself for not sticking to my initial plan to get things done or just power through the fatigue, but today I decided it was better to care for myself and the little one growing within me to rest and read. Today it was wiser (and more self-caring) for me to listen to the signals from my body rather than the “must get things done” thoughts of my mind. Feeling rested this evening, I was still able to cross a few items off my list.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Lori: I love how you are tuning into your needs instead of the “supposed to’s.” Thanks for that great reminder.

      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply
  17. Maura

    Hectic busy Tuesday today, but I took ten minutes around lunch to read a book while parked by a pretty lake in Walpole. It was short lived but better than nothing! 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Maura:

      I am all for a little self-care is way better than no self-care. That’s the whole idea behind this challenge, right? I like the image of stealing away 10 minutes to read by a lake too.

      🙂 Amy

      Reply
  18. Debbi Plemons

    The themes that arose during my writing today were; transitions, fear and sadness. There are a large number of transitions that are occurring, not all directly to me, but all have a significant effect on me. Just acknowledging the fear of and sadness as a result of these changes, leaves me feeling less vulnerable, and opens up space for me to experience the feelings without having to avoid or mask them.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Debbi:

      I always find it amazing how recognizing, and especially standing away just slightly and observing feelings does lighten their intensity slightly. Isn’t that strange? I too find freedom in naming my feelings, because I agree, when I feel like I have to hide it, it gets so much worse! If I am in a mad mood, I will frequently just announce to loved ones, I am feeling crabby, I just need to put it on the table! Not having to pretend brings me down a few notches. Thanks for the great reminder about ways to get space from your feelings.

      🙂 Amy

      Reply
  19. Jodi Hickenlooper

    Amy, thanks for the push to slow down a little and take care of ourselves! A couple months ago I started a 5 year journal – everyday I write on one prompt (365 in all) and the idea is to go through and answer the same prompts again for the next 5 years – I can’t wait to watch how my life evolves over time. Some days I write way beyond the prompt and some days it’s short and sweet. I find it a great way to process at the end of the day.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Jodi:

      Wow – a five year journal! It’s impressive to me when people set such long-term objectives for themselves. I would agree that watching your answers evolve over that time would be fascinating!

      All the Best,
      Amy

      Reply
  20. Joanna

    I’ve never kept a journal and although I recognize the potential benefits, am very hesitant to write down my feelings. Today I took a baby step and made lists of things in my life currently that bring me down and things that pick me up.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Joanna:

      I have always felt that taking small risks is one of the most important things we do in life. It’s part of what makes us feel alive. What you did was so exciting. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love the idea too.

      Amy

      Reply
  21. karin

    i wrote about some recent disturbing dream imagery. underlining the most potent words became a fascinating analytic tool. imagery no longer disturbing, now instead a subconscious message without sting to ponder….

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Karin:

      Wow – I love that! It reminds me of what Teresa said about feelings being like cockroaches, once you can see them, they tend to disappear. The sting is gone. That’s so great.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Amy

      Reply
  22. Judy Frisk

    I do write a journal entry each morning – I’ve kept a journal on and off throughout my life. In 2002 I began writing the stream of consciousness ‘morning pages’ style. Certain recurring themes (dysfunctional family issues) became obvious to me and caused me to seek therapy for about a year. I also began a visual journal to draw through those issues. All of that led me to begin practicing Mindfulness meditation. But it was an 8-week Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy workshop that successfully ended the anxiety I was still experiencing. So. Finally… in resolving these issues, the role of my morning journaling has changed! It’s less involved in working through issues, more positive and more focused on maintaining habits of self care, and finding a process of creativity that feels thoroughly authentic.

    Reply
    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Judy –

      YOUR WATERCOLORS ARE BEAUTIFUL! WOW! I just love what you are doing, both in process and in product. Thanks so much for sharing about your process. I know it will help others.
      Cheers,
      Amy

      Reply

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