The Power of Journaling in Financial Self-Care
Hey girlfriends! As I talked about last time, we’re going to be spending the next several weeks talking about self-care. Financial self-care is about so much more than budgets, spreadsheets and math. Our physical, spiritual and financial selves are all intertwined and a big part of this, especially when we’re in transition, is our personal self-care.
When we feel good about ourselves, we start to feel better about our finances and our situation regardless of how long the journey ahead seems to be.
First, let me begin by proclaiming that starting your financial life over in midlife is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. There are too many women living in silent frustration because they are too afraid to reach out to other women or professionals for fear of being judged.
And yes, I was one of them, too. Even as a financial professional, I finally came to realize that after years of staying silent and harboring all of those emotions, I needed to seek out other women to confide in.
There's a big misconception that personal finance professionals have their own financial ducks all lined up in a row and are immune to financial pitfalls. Nothing could be further from the truth. It doesn't mean we don't know our stuff, though. All it means is that we experience the same major life events as everyone else and have to figure out how to navigate through them, too, the same emotions, setbacks, etc.
The mistake I see many women make is not seek help, not confiding in other women and girlfriends. By reaching out for help, you are already winning half the battle. It's a sign of strength, not weakness, and there are so many blessings in that.
Today, I am declaring that it IS now your turn, starting by focusing on personal and financial self-care. And, as I’ve said, they are more interrelated than you may think.
Start from the Top Down
Mindset is truly everything, so we're going to start at the top, with what's inside our heads. When we’re going through a major life transition, such as divorce or widowhood, or unexpected career transition, we have thoughts, emotions and ideas coming at us from all angles, at all times of the day or night, in every which way possible. It’s inevitably overwhelming.How do you sort through and feel and allow yourself to work through all of these? Anger, sadness, frustration, fear and so many more. How do you figure out where to put each emotion so that you don’t wind up so overwhelmed and stuck in not being able to make heads or tails out of any of it?
Journaling and getting everything ‘out there’ on paper is instrumental
in the healing process and financial recovery ourney.
From the summer of 2016 to late April, 2017, I think I journaled nearly every single day. I wrote down every thought, feeling, fact and question. It was years of everything being bottled up inside finally coming out.
My Journaling Experience
Years before, I purchased these small 5 x 7 spiral notebooks from Target in the $1 bin. They had these adorable covers and were supposed to be used to journal my adventures in Colorado. Instead, I wound up using them to journal a time in my life where it felt like the walls were caving in from all sides. I took them with me everywhere.
How do I describe it? It was like the waves of rough seas coming up against the rocks. Throughout the day, I would get these waves of emotion that overcame me with such intense feeling that I absolutely HAD to write down what I was experiencing. When I would do that, even the little details I had suppressed for so long, were finally coming into the light.
What a relief to finally get it all 'out there' even if I was the only one who ever saw it!
Hi, My Name is Patty and I'm a Paper JunkieI was the preteen who would walk up to the stationery store after school and would drool over the boxes of stationery, note cards and address books (now, we have Google Contacts, not nearly as pretty LOL).
As much as I love paper stationery and journals, this was actually the first time in my life I started journaling on a consistent basis. It’s one of those things I would say, “Sure, I’ll get to it tomorrow,” and then tomorrow comes and the next day and the next. By that point in time, our thoughts and feelings from that previous day may not be completely gone, but it’s not nearly the same as writing them down in the moment.
We have to allow ourselves to feel, experience and express ourselves if we are going to move forward on the path to healing. If we don’t, we keep it all inside and we stay stuck.
Journaling allows us to let it all out so that we can clear our minds in order to make room for healing. It’s an instrumental part of our self-care because everything starts in the stories we tell ourselves.
One of the places I absolutely LOVE to find journals is Tuesday Morning. Do you have one in your area?
I hope you found this helpful and encouraging to help you start journaling. Next time, we're going to look at the little things and how even the tiniest splurge can be part of a big self-care plan.
Until next time,
Patty Gale is a Financial Therapist and the Founder and CEO of Fear.less Girl Financial, a personal finance boutique offering heart-centered financial therapy and advice-based planning for women navigating midlife.