This is one of those questions I have been asking myself for a while. What does joy look like, feel like, smell like, sound like to me. My joy will inevitably differ from other people's joy just because the things that bring me joy are personal to me. So I ask, If you cannot define in some shape or form what you want, how will you be able to work towards it?
Joy usually is associated to moments of happiness, when I think of joy I automatically think of happiness. I think of where I have been happy in my life and how much joy it brought me. But is that joy momentary, despite still being happy about how it made me feel? So how can I make joy be constant? I read about some interesting traits of a joyful person but how do people become joyful as a part of their innate nature?
It has been a hazy few weeks and hope can feel lost at these weird times, especially when you cannot find joy amidst the fear, sorrow, pain and uncertainty.
So I decided I will find and create my own joy as I have done so many times over before. My ability to have hope in better days is what propelled my to create Journal to Joy. Putting together this journaling programme has been a passion of mine for such a long time and I felt it is needed more now than ever with high and low energy in the air - people need to find balance and bring back hope. This can be achieved when exploring the spectrum of joy, what lens you perceive joy and how it presents itself to you.
Many people who know me know that I am a very big advocate of self-care and wellbeing. It is not only my profession but it is my projects, my speech, my poetry, my songs but in all it is reflected in my writing. I do this through finding hope in my situations around me.
Through journaling, I have been able to seek out my strengths, my powers to overcome obstacles and use this to write hope with intention and free flow! I have had to really come to terms with many personally testing moments over the past few years and I've managed to support my healing journey my way. In the way that helps me in the most effective ways through writing towards joy during every upheaved situation.
There is a huge importance on being able to support yourself long term and to be your own healer! So many people go to therapy for a perceived quick fix and think that it didn't work because they are "not healed". That is because they didn't do the work outside of the therapy sessions. They did not practice self healing.
Let's be real, how can you be truly heal in such a short time from the things that may be deep rooted within you. Judgement of yourself and others, unhealthy behaviours, guised view of the world and how you fit in it! That work is solidified outside of therapy! The long haul work. The life work. The work of hope and working towards more joyful and better days
I have found journaling to be my long haul therapy. Since I was 11 years old I have used journaling and diarising life events as my way to express without limitation. Blank pages never end and can never judge you. Blank pages allow you to be free, open and raw with no rules or restrictions!
Journaling helped me manage and express my emotions of loosing my mother, school issues, relationship breakdown, physical and emotional abuse, learning to become an adult, exploring the meaning of womanhood and discovering the importance of sisterhood within and outside of your blood line family and most importantly throughout becoming a mother. Journaling got me through being a mature student, a worker, a person learning culture, a person that is part of a community - absolutely everything.
Writing towards joy has guided me through understanding what I wanted and needed for myself as this changes day by day, sometimes by the hour. Self reflection has helped me build boundaries where there were none and remove the restricted walls to my soul. It has helped me overcome a multitude of life stressors that I didn't opt for or want and carve out what I do want at multiple stages of my life!
During this time of Covid 19, that which I call solitude season, I have utilised journaling more than ever. Firstly, creating and using journal prompts but then it got to a point where the flow just happened and using this method as my release as I navigate through my 'temporary normal' I have been able to create my new normal. Such an empowering experience that I had to share it with others!
So here is a word of encouragement, if you are struggling with managing your emotions, are stripped of hope and are seeking Joy, the next 'Journal to Joy' 28 day programme will run from 1st July 2020 until 28th July 2020. The programme can help to ignite hopeful internal dialogue and help you begin to write towards more joyful experiences. Engaging in the content will expose you to the benefits of creative expression and bring your attention to the joys of life you already have, are able to create and share with others, now and in an after life.
I want us all to come out of this pandemic as resilient beings, able to cultivate a journaling discipline as a piece of building your armour to combat hard times now and in times to come.
Check out some participants feedback
"A good guide to starting the journaling process"
Are you new to working from home?
Have you been thrown into the deep end with home schooling?
I get it, so many friends, family, colleagues and clients have been faced with the same dilemma. With school closures set across the country and the long standing uncertainty that the Coronavirus Pandemic has caused, it has left a mist of confusion, angst and worry in the air. Add a change to school, work and home life...this is something none of us had been prepared for.
The thing is, my day job has a remote working system and it took some time to get used to it. I went from doing support work where I literally slept at my job and was in the office first thing in the morning opening up, to then being in the remote-based working world, learning to navigate being somewhat my own manager. Luckily, i've grasped it now but I can only imagine the stress that this has caused many families all over the country who are not accustomed to this model of work.
Something that is new to me is the homeschooling part. After considering it for the last year or so, this experience of which has been placed upon us has brought to light some personal methods to manage the two. So, I have compiled a short list of 5 tips and transferable skills for both homeschooling and coping to work remotely that may be of benefit to you during this time of change.
1. Use your time management skills for work as you would for parenting. Something that the majority of parents struggle with...or am I speaking for myself here?? Time management can be either your greatest assets or your arch nemesis. If you have time management skills use them to organise you and your child's day in a symmetrical manner. School days have a specific structure, if you are able to organise your time and tasks in line with your child's typical school day (with the breaks) you will do yourself some justice.
Obviously there will be some meetings or calls that may be unavoidable but make the effort where possible. It will demonstrate to them good time keeping skills but will also show a disciple that is needed to balance the two. Be patient with learning how to do things differently, they are learning too. Embrace the gift of balance.
2. Take a scheduled lunch break.
Where possible take your lunch break at the same time as your child. This will give you both time to disconnect from the mental bustle and connect with each other. Try to prepare and eat a lunch together, if they are old enough this could even count towards a home economics/cooking class. Feel safe enough to take risks such as these, I would consider this a life skills lesson and counts towards my childs educational wealth.
Talk about how your morning has gone and have general conversations. Prevent yourselves from discussing the afternoon work and school activities until the end of the lunch break as this will become the focus of attention during the lunch break. Remember this is your time to pause, so do exactly that.
Another type of break we try to schedule is meditative. Light meditation breaks in-between tasks really help to clear my mind to detach from one thing and fully engage in the next. This is a practice I've encouraged with my child too, although there has been resistance at first, with this being part of his daily schedule he now completes his meditation tasks more frequently and is seeing the benefits.
3. Create the right working environment.
I cannot stress this enough! Creating the right working environment is so important for both you and your child. Make sure that you both are equipped for the journey. Many work places provide home stationary and equipment but further to that, if you require things such as a desk, specialist chairs etc then your work place should provide this to you to enable you to work comfortably from home. Ask about a remote based working policy where it should detail how the company will meet this need or make inquiries about getting an Occupational Health assessment.
For your child, ensure they have paper, pens, books, workbooks/textbooks and access to technology where possible. For many, internet access at home is an issue, in addition to devices to access schooling support. I would suggest you contact the school and set up a regular mailing system of the work your child would usually complete in the school.
Aside from the actual work and equipment, creating the right environment also means to have good lighting, fresh air and to prepare your work area to start the day right. Make your working area personalised, put out some candles, play light music, display quotes or pictures to keep you motivated. Have regular access to water and regularly tidy the workspace - clearing the physical space helps to clear your psychological space, it's like an automatic mirroring effect. You both can enter the day with a calmer and composed state.
4. Use a calendar/daily to do list to create lessons and life skills
This one is ultra simple but yet we can go so wrong by not utilising a simple tool such as a planner. We use a calendar for work/business appointments and important things to remember, it's the same in school with a lesson timetable. Don't abandon this at home!!
Something we do at work is schedule in admin days, although it doesn't always work that way, the concept is appreciated. So I've begun a shared to do list (confidential information hidden of course) which allows you to keep on track with yours and your childs tasks, optimise your work rate and ensures your prioritisation is monitored.
Include your work/school tasks and tasks to boost your wellbeing such as taking your break as mentioned in point 2. Try not to overwhelm yourself during the day to the point you now have to make time in the evening to do work. This is time to spend with your family and slow down from the full day of education and work. Check out our to do list on the downloadables page if you need some guidance.
5. Team work is vital.
You can't always take all the credit, give credit where credit is due. Having team effort boosts morale, it provides a lens of hope that you are doing something for a greater cause than just for yourself... especially when a task goes well. Something that I've realised is that although I am the parent I am not the only person in this equation that is part of a team.
My child was also part of a class where he had team mates to complete tasks, share ideas etc. I admit, homeschooling has been quite a pleasant journey because my child has had great input into what he wants to learn and I’ve grown to learn more about him.
He is offered the opportunity to explore his own desires as well as incorporate the structured work from his school. I recently had a "supervision/appraisal" type discussion with my child and asked for feedback on my home teaching methods and he was very honest. There are some things that need to be tweaked and the plan can be be refined. The importance of getting feedback from your child (verbal or observational) and implementing some changes can be the antidote to elevate some stress. It is okay to make adjustments and not know how to make everything work perfectly. Many parents didn't opt in to home schooling so we are all learning along the way. The art is finding a good balance and being gentle on yourself while you learn new methods to communicate and educate.
Another factor of team work that needs to be noted here is the challenge of co-parenting and homeschooling. It has been a working progress and I may not see eye to eye with my childs other parent, luckily the co-parenting home school discussions are had on a regular basis, that in itself is team work. I suggest creating an space where you can all put forward your ideas for a homeschooling plan, inclusive of the child and the other parent, to ensure there is symmetry and a continuation of standards.
If you are a single parent, seek advice from other parents on what they advise too, again a form of team work! Search in forums, websites or parenting groups on Facebook, these are all forms of teamwork. Work with your childs teachers if you are really struggling, this is probably one of the best forms of team work if you are really at a loss.
However you choose to go about this, try not to stress! You can always find a team willing and ready to help you – we are in this together.
I hope this has been helpful
Until we meet again, stay safe, stay well, and most of all become and remain happy!
Okay, so summer is over and we are now entering the Autumn and Winter months. My mind has been a bit frazzled with all these changes going on...the weather, clothing, health, sociability....the lot....it is all changing!!! I need some order RIGHT NOW!!!
If your reminiscing on your summer vacation and all you have left is the pictures, sandy suitcase and memories....you may find it hard to focus because all you want to do is BE BACK THERE SOOOO MUCH!!
For some it is the issue of returning to your Monday to Friday at the office, for others it could be that the end of Summer has now meant that order and normal routine can resume, but then the children are on a break AGAIN once you have just got into the swing of it.
Your issue could be regularity with your fitness and well being, staying on track with your daily tasks for your gains and health.
Maybe your a Mumpreneur such as me trying to make your business thrive but have a million and one things to do without any particular order of importance, what ever you situation may be........let us try and help you.
We have devised a simple yet effective checklist that can help with getting simple tasks done. We have listed 6 spaces to ensure that you do not overcrowd your checklist (and mind) because research shows that when you have too many things on your to-do list, we can become overwhelmed with pressure to complete them all or nothing gets done at all.........we are trying to have an in-between approach, we want a good BALANCE !!
So why is our checklist different to the one you have now you say.....
1. Well, our checklist helps with motivation where you can list how committed you are to getting the task done on a scale of 1 to 10 - this is a major problem with all areas of life we bring a false sense of COMMITMENT, which leads to the GREAT PROCRASTINATION and inevitably things don't get done. You begin to feel a bit crappy and think WHY AM I DOING THIS ANYWAY!?!?!? So we eliminating this process by simply rating how committed you are at getting it done because it can then allow you to prioritise what is most important for your day.
2. The other aspect that our to-do list helps with is reflection, you can writ down the reasons why things on the list did not get done - we all know that we can add it to tomorrows list but this helps you really think about the obstacles you put in place of execution. Be careful not to write down a list of excuses, but think about the genuine issues that you faced in the day and track how best you can work with them or remove them to avoid this delay in the future. Distractions are the worst when you have an excuse attached to them!!
3. Lastly, the checklist encompasses a section for any lessons you may have learnt or pinpoint an overall lesson from the day you have had. This section allows you the ruminate upon your emotions, thoughts, behaviour and surroundings to conclude on how your day has gone from your own perspective. Ideally, this should be done before bed and can help with setting intentions/tasks for the day coming and just gets your thoughts out of your head before bed providing a clear mental environment for rest, relaxation, recuperation and most importantly.........SLEEP!!
Want to try it for yourself, click the link here which will take you to our downloadables page.
Save, print, use and feedback to us
With love and organisation
▪| S E L F • T A L K |▪
▪What is self talk?
Self talk is the ongoing language, words and phrases that you use to have personal and intrinsic conversations about yourself to yourself... whether it is said aloud or in your head.
▪How can self talk impact you?
Self talk can be viewed as both positive and negative depending on the situation.
Self talk can impact how you behave towards yourself and perform tasks. It can make a difference to your self image and what you think other people think about your appearance.
It can also influence your self esteem and find yourself comparing your skills and abilities to others. This in turn can affect your self confidence in possibly taking good risks and your self worth in the values that you hold for yourself as a person.
Be it positive or negative, self talk easily becomes a habit and can become addictive when it validates your temporary behaviour until you understand how it is affecting you.
▪Self talk about your past, present or future
Self talk can address your history or past experiences, give advice on how to act or give clarity to your current self and influence the projections of your future self.
It is important to know that your thoughts can be hijacked at a split second so recognising where the self talk is directed...past, present or future, learning how to replace negative self talk, understanding how to take control of your positive self talk, practicing and refining your methods, learn how to apply these to all situations you are faced with.
▪Moments when self talk can come into play.
Self talk can come in and out of action at any point of the day, throughout the day, any day of the week, month or year. It is non biased to a situation, time in your life, place you are in or people you are with. If self talk wants to happen it will happen, it is impulsive and abrupt! Whether you are at home watching TV and know you should be studying, or your given tasks at work that stretch your usual skills and remit...even if your with your child and helping them with homework…..self talk will come out to play!
▪Self talk Game Plan
1. Identify what tense you are thinking in - past, present of future.
2. Decide what could have triggered you to talk in this way.
3. Challenge the self talk by picking out the facts and the opinions
4. Is the talk helpful or unhelpful, how does it feel?
5. Weigh up which statements are most valid and valuable
6. Explore how the truth in the self talk statements can help or add to you and the situation you are facing
7. Solidify an understanding that this is momentary and not a reflection of your whole life.
8. Create a statement of self talk that highlights any silver linings - things to work towards rather than away from
9. Repeat, repeat, repeat - confirm and reaffirm it
10. Apply and adapt to as many situations as you can
Shared with love
Critical thinking is part of our everyday life, it helps us to make decisions, weigh up pro's and con's and make informed decisions. This can help us understand the depth of our action which always have consequences be it positive or negative - we can therefore figure out what action to take based on the costs and benefits we have deduced.
Critical thinking allows us the time and space to reflect and regulate the way we can feel about a situation and is a helpful tool for utilising self control. Critical thinking skills are important to us all as it is also rooted in your ability to build up emotional resilience, creating logical decisions rather than acting solely on emotive ones helps us to fill in gaps that could be missing when making decisions.
Having and developing this skill from young age can be tough but not impossible if started at a young age. I wished I had access to a lot of the information readily available to me now when I was younger. It would have benefited me so much growing up through teenage and adulthood life because now it is like i'm going back to re-teach the younger me how to work with the older me that is placed in the adult world....but it is okay, I cannot guilt trip over something I have no awareness of when i needed it. The main thing is that I have he information now and I am willing to re-train myself to use these skills i have learnt in my adult body.
You may think to yourself, this article is how to develop a critically thinking CHILD, why is she talking about herself....you see there is a child inside us all that needs boundaries, support, parenting and love just the way the adult you needs it too. This article is aimed at supporting those who want to learn how to support their inner child as well as children around them that could use these tips - you will have a place of reference (YOURSELF) with their uses and can track any progress/regress and actively adjust where necessary.
So here are you have 4 simple tips to support critical thinking in young children and the child within adults.
1. Enable them to use their own experiences to envision how to solve a problem.
Sometimes it can seem as though children find it difficult to put into perspective aspects of thinking in different realms outside of their own experience. Talking from experience, it is easier to visualise in the mind and act out because it is a form of role play, but if themselves which is a fun way to get them thinking about problem solving from a somewhat external perspective while still having themselves at the focus. If you use an analogy that is reflective of their lives, there is a higher chance that they will be able to articulate a broader answer because they can see themselves in the story. For example, ask your child "When we went to.......and ........happened how did you overcome it?", "what you learnt there, could you apply it to this?", "what happens when you are presented with the same or similar issues again?"
2. Encourage them to think inside the box as well as outside the box.
Streamlined thinking can be good when you need to answer a specific question, but when you have an opportunity to explore your mind you need to use a broader range of skills to deliver the information effectively and in a unique way that allows you to stand out. This type of thinking allows children to understand the need for thinking like others to get to a consensus or mutual agreement without taking away individual's thoughts and in a succinct manner. This type of thinking helps to challenge this thinking too, to have both sides of an argument, in order to think about staying in their own lane, developing strong character and a sense of individuality. Ask you child:
3. Prompt the impact of their future self into the equation.
Caught in the here and now, we tend not to think so vastly about the impact that our future self could make to the situation....if any. Reminding children to think ahead of time can help to compartmentalise how best they can solve the problem and how they can emotionally cope with their decisions or the outcome. This could also help to make a better decision that is of benefit to more people than themselves, bringing out the humanitarian in them. They may find that the thing they are trying to solve is not present in their future, the pressure to resolve it is not that great, it any no longer be relevant with changing times or simply thinking harder about it they may come to a conclusion that is more viable to themselves and others around them......For example, ask your child: How do you deal with it in the now then? Will it matter in the future? How does your decision now effect next week? How will this impact you in 6 months from now? What traits do you need to develop in order to get to there? What can you do now to help?
4. If it was your friend, how would you respond to them about it?
Children, young people and even adults tend to think better and give advice from a stance of friendship. This teaches them to think in ways that are selfless of their own inhibitions, wants and needs. Bringing into the equation someone who they hold dear to them, such as a best friend, they automatically think in the best possible way that could be solved as they should want the best outcome for their friend. Being able to apply this emotional link to other situations and dealing with issues can aid them to think about the greater good outside of their immediate friendship/circle group. It can help develop a social view on how their ability to respond can not only benefit others but inevitably help themselves in the long run with gifts of well developed character traits rather than materialistic things. This places value on a persons qualities and not on the quality of their possessions. Ask your child, if you put yourself in my shoes, how would you....", "If it was [insert best friends name here] how would you support them?", "When [insert best friends name here] helped you with ....., how did it help you and how could you do this for someone else?"
Comment below on any more strategies you can think of to support the development of critical thinking
Firstly, thank you for finding my website and checking out the posts. - Much appreciated!
OMD's!! Starting a blog and your first time post can be difficult to write about, daunting and exciting all the same time. But I have had a solid understanding of what content I would want on my website for a long time. So here is what to expect:
- Reflecting my views and stance on life
- Reflections on previous workshops and sessions etc
- Advice, guidance and support that has been tried and tested
- Reviews of useful books and resources for your journey
and much more!!!
Creating a website and being in charge of something sooo hands on and in depth, I can truly say is a heartwarming moment. I honestly did not even realise how much effort went into creating something that you love and to the standard that you want it to be. Although being a mother is a job within itself where you are raising a little human and molding them into a balanced being.....there is no competition to building a website by yourself without prior knowledge. This has definitely been a learning curve for me.
I have learnt so many skills over this time of updating and developing this site, creating content for it and ensuring there is a good frequency of updating etc that these skills are now invaluable to me - i'm EXTREMELY happy and proud of myself. I finally got there. YASSSSS!! Then reality hit....OMG will anyone even visit the site, will they search it, how will I build an audience etc. I just thought THERE IS SO MANY THINGS TO DO STILL!
But then I had to pause and breathe! During my long breaths, I had to think about the many times I have given up on something because it seemed too hard to achieve or it was done wrong in my eyes because it did not go to plan. See, there is so much that can prevent you from clicking that launch button....but I did it anyway....I can always go back and edit!!
Even starting this business was a leap of faith, simply because I want to help people...there are lot of people in this world to help but that does not mean that they want YOUR help. Learning along the way that I have tons to offer as a person before any service that I can provide and that is what counts and this is how my business has began, by just being a support network to those who do not have one.
So just a closing note to you is to be scared and do it anyway!! Have a leap of faith not only in yourself but your creative ventures. Know that there will be mistakes made, bumps in the road and turns for the worse......my question to you is ARE YOU EQUIPPED AND PREPARED FOR THE JOURNEY?? This is the true reflection of your character and people will want to support you just for BEING YOU, flaws and all!
So join me on my development and learning process of conjoining motherhood, entrepreneurship and self healing - I guarantee that you will learn something along the way