I read a lot of bad and sad news for work, which makes me unhappy. To cope, I have been keeping a "wellness journal"; I bought a personalised one from a quality paper company. It has pre-printed pages where you can fill in the date, your "intention for the day", your hours of sleep, your meals, your water intake, your activities, your "self-care," your mood, your daily successes, your thoughts, and what you are currently grateful for.
In the back there is graph paper, as in a bullet journal. I use it to record my hours of language study and time out of doors.
I kept diaries until l began to blog (and even after that I kept travel journals), so this combination of tracking and writing suits me well. Writing down everything I eat seems to make me eat less, and the fun of filling in the water symbols makes me drink more. I definitely spend more time outdoors, now that I deliberately think about it.
The journal certainly came in handy when writing my "Lenten Menus" post, as the original plans and the reality diverged so much, it was hard to make sense of the sheaf of paper in the kitchen.
The very word "wellness" smacks of the mindfulness movement, but I think mindfulness is perfectly compatible with Christianity--as is good health. Mindfulness, Christianity, and good health all seem necessary to me for writing about, say, a priest who calls the cops on a pregnant lady in a back pew far from the rest of the congregation because she is not wearing a mask. For some reason, that low-grade pettiness depressed me more that the outright evil of clerical sex abuse. Maybe it was like the final snowflake that causes the avalanche.
Fortunately, a delicious bowl of Ottolengi's "Tomato, Chickpea and Bread Soup" followed by a card game (which I won) cheered me right up. I finished my seventh glass of water and coloured in the symbol in my wellness journal, logged the soup and wrote down the things I was grateful for. There was already a note that I had planted "Pauline," spouse of Paul the Blackcurrant Bush.
If you are feeling depressed, dehydrated, sluggish, fat, and overwhelmed, I definitely recommend a wellness journal. Here's a British list of recommended ones, and here is an American one.
I also have a battered notebook in which I track our monthly spending, record our mortgage overpayments, and mention such helpful events as getting a lower phone rate after threatening to change providers. Financial bloggers often write about running one's household as if it were a business, which I think is sound to a certain extent.
It makes more sense to do that in a household of adults. I don't think it would be good for children to think that they were financial liabilities. Of course, they could be reassured that, in fact, their presence reduces income tax and (depending on the state) brings other financial goodies, and--indeed--their happiness and security is the reason for running a tight household ship in the first place.
I think children should know how much things cost, even if parents don't want them to know how much they earn. Growing up, I was blissfully unaware of how much ordinary things (like the electricity) cost my parents, and I think that was a pity because I just took it for granted. I also think it was a pity that I did not know that fancy clothes and cars and such things did not represent real wealth but just high spending. My classmates made fun of my clothes (a solid argument for school uniforms), and only now does it occur to me their clothes may have been bought on credit.
I longed for snazzy clothes---how surprised (and disappointed) I would be to know that when I was paid enough to (almost) afford it, I would not have a closet of designer clothes but instead rely on my good old indestructable denim maxiskirt of maximum traddery. Of course, were we to win the lottery ...
UPDATE: First ever endorsement of a company that I can remember. (Eeek!) If you were to order anything from Papier for the first time, using my name (or Dorothy Mclean--small "l" for some reason), you would save 10% and get me 10% off my next purchase, which I am very likely to make. I am not sure how this would work outside the UK. However, I really do like Papier's wellness journal. Just click here.
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