Journaling for Teachers
As teachers, we are always looking for a safe outlet to express some of our frustrations as well as talk about the successes we have throughout the day (no matter how small). Journaling is an incredible outlet and a great form of self-care. Writing in a journal is not only therapeutic, but it also helps us solve issues that plague our daily life. While I haven’t committed to journaling daily, I have committed to journaling at least once a week to reflect and to ensure I am growing in a healthy way.
Writing in my journal leaves me feeling calm, centered, and empowered. Because I know the power in writing in a journal, I thought I’d share some information and tips about journaling for teachers.
Often times one of the biggest hurdles in journaling is not knowing where to start. My goal is to leave you feeling informed, inspired, and ready to take action towards a better you. Before we begin, let me introduce you to different types of journaling.
Reflective Journaling for Teachers
One of my favorite types of journaling is reflective journaling. This type of writing encourages you to reflect on your day or your week. It can include good things, bad things, or anything that you feel is important. The reason why reflective journaling is so incredible is that it helps you learn more about yourself and where there is knowledge – there is power. During reflective journaling, you may discover triggers you never knew you had, habits (both good and bad), and also what people, places, and things make you happy. By making a habit of journaling regularly, you can discover things about yourself that you never knew existed. You can confront fears, heal inner conflicts, and empower yourself. You can literally become a greater version of you (however that may look).
Scripting (Or Journaling for Goal Setting)
Scripting or as some people call it “The Fast Forward Method” is an effective journaling strategy for goal setting. This type of journaling asks that you become greater than your current circumstances and visit a future version of you (LOL stay with me).
You pick a goal (or circumstance you’re currently in) and write “from the future.” How does life look after accomplishing that goal? What do you see? How do you feel? What would you tell your past self? You want to include as much detail as possible and evoke all the positive feelings that come along with accomplishing that goal.
Athletes and top performers use scripting all the time, as another form of visualization. Using the mind, an athlete can call up these images over & over, enhancing the skill through repetition, just like physical practice. The parts of the brain that “light up” when you physically do an activity also light up by visualizing the activity. This specific part of your brain can’t tell the difference.
So how is this beneficial? Visualization, especially in written form, stimulates the creative part of your brain. It helps generate new ideas that can help you achieve your goals or motivate you during your current circumstances.
If you’re interested in learning more about scripting, you can check out my private Facebook group – The Calm(ish) Teacher.
Journaling for Self-Love
I want you to think of self-love like a wrinkle in a shirt. You iron the shirt and the wrinkle comes out (you feel great). However, after time wrinkles come back. So again, you take our your iron, you do the work, and the wrinkle goes away. It’s a cycle. Self-Love is not a destination but a lifelong commitment. This was something I got wrong for a very long time.
One way to build self-love is to celebrate your wins (the little ones and the big ones). Did you work on for 10 minutes today? Holla!! Did you speak up during your faculty meeting? Woohoo! By drawing your attention to these wins, your brain focuses on the good rather than the negative things we say/feel about ourselves. This doesn’t mean your negative self-talk disappears, but it lessens and your self-love strengthens.
Another journaling prompt for self-love is – what things do you appreciate about yourself? Do you like your freckles? Your humor? That one time you stood up for yourself? The fact that you have fingernails? (Oh yes everything counts). Make a list of 10 things that you can appreciate about yourself.
Benefits of Journaling for Teachers
If by some rare chance this blog post doesn’t have you excited to journal, I wanted to quickly touch on the benefits of journaling for teachers. Writing has a positive effect on our health. It’s cathartic, but it also gets your creative juices flowing. Creativity is the backbone of teaching. When you feel inspired, that is when the magic happens. The cabinets get cleaned, you plan a bomb lesson, or you have fun with your kids.
Other benefits of journaling include improved self-confidence, self-discipline, and emotional intelligence. It can also improve communication skills and even your IQ! Source: Huff Post
How to Start Journaling
Start by purchasing a journal. You can buy a blank journal, where you free write and discuss whatever is on your mind. If you prefer structure there are a number of self-care journals on Amazon. There are also journals specifically designed for teachers – such as this teacher self-care journal.
Next set aside time to write. Do you want to write daily, weekly, or when you have a bad day? I prefer to write once a week. I sit down on a Sunday night and get myself in a good headspace before starting the week. I write 10 things I’m grateful for, 5 things I’d like to accomplish or have, and then I either reflect on the week, set intentions for the week ahead, or script. I change it up based on how I’m feeling!
Journaling Tips and Tricks
My number one journaling tip is to let go of your fear of being judged. There is no one to judge you. Your journal is a safe space for your deepest thoughts feelings and a place where you can be brutally honest.
My second tip is to stop thinking about it. This tip is weird but it’s important. Sometimes when we overthink the process, the end goal is lost. Sometimes my journaling doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. It’s really like one big brain dump and that is okay. The important thing is to just start without fear, overthinking, or anything holding us back. The goal of our journal is freedom.
Other journaling ideas for teachers are a bullet journal, gratitude log, dream journal, journaling for self-discovery and journal prompts such as:
What makes you feel happy?
What does your ideal day look like?
If you had unlimited wishes, what would you wish for?
What is the best thing that happened this week?
Write a letter to your future self or childhood self.
Other Self-Care Activities
If you are looking for additional self-care activities and strategies. You can sign up for my free self-care challenge specifically designed teachers (but can work for anyone).
You can also check out the following blog posts: