Writing A Christmas Journal
If any year deserves a journal, it’s 2020. Whether you are a caregiver or a senior living at home or in a retirement community, you have stories from this year. Writing a journal at the end of the year can help you reflect on the joys and hardships you’ve experienced. A journal can also be a place to write down rich memories from the past, gifts of the moment, and hopes for the future. Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences this season can remind you that life itself, with all of its blossoms and thorns, is a gift.
Beginning Your Journal
Maybe you have been keeping a journal for years and you know right where to pick up. Or perhaps you put down the habit of writing about your life and would like to try again. For some, opening a journal will be something entirely new. Now is a great time to get started.
Your journal can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. A spiral-bound notebook will do. Or perhaps this year calls for something more substantial, like a leatherbound diary and pages decorated with colorful drawings. You can even keep a journal in a document on your computer. Wherever you choose to write, the important thing is to just get started. The easiest way to order your entries is simply by day. Write the date at the top of the page and go from there. You may want to include an underlined heading on occasion for themes that stand out to you.
There is no right or wrong way to write about your life. If you’re looking for fresh ideas or prompts to get started, read on. Pick one or two topics that you like, or do them all! You will likely come up with your own ideas along the way. The journal is your space. You can choose to write about what seems most important, pressing, or pleasant to you.
What are the stories from this year that you need to write down? These can be stories of grief and loss or of miracles you’ve witnessed. They can be stories of the simple realities of your life that are a disappointment or a profound joy to you. These stories may feature themes like loneliness, or the particular details of your morning cup of coffee on a memorable day. You might write about a certain person you see most days and what your interactions are like, or someone you deeply miss, for example. Write what seems most pressing. Write what deserves to be written.
Stories from the Past
You may be grieving loved ones you’ve lost. You may be missing out on time spent together with family and friends that you’re unable to see due to the pandemic, distance, or other limitations. What are the stories you remember that stir up these longings? Write about them and include as many details as you can. What was it like being there? Who was there? What foods and drinks were shared, and how did you feel? What did it smell like, what did it look like? What sounds were going on around you? Was there laughter, music, children playing, food sizzling on the stove? Write down the rich details of the memories that move you.
The Gifts of the Moment
What are the everyday givens of your life that you are thankful for? Is it a certain rug that you love to feel underfoot each morning? Or the steamy comfort of an afternoon cup of tea? Perhaps it’s a favorite show, a bird at the feeder, or a person you talk with regularly. Take some time to write about the real gifts that you experience in your life each day—the gifts of now.
Hopes for the Future
The difficulties of 2020 have made many of us long for good times past. And the simple gifts of everyday life may seem more poignant than ever. So what about the future? The future may seem uncertain, closed, or even frightening. It is fair to write these fears down. Putting worries and concerns down on paper can help you see what really concerns you and what actions you might take (or ask others to take) to address them, if possible.
In addition, as you gather past and present griefs, joys, losses, and gifts into words, you may find hopes rising for the future. Take some time to write down what you hope for, big and small. Notice any hopes you have for later today, for the end of the week, for next year and years down the road. Write them all.
As you write, you will discover what you like best. Your journal will take a shape of its own. Your thoughts, stories, details, and hopes will be uniquely yours. They are always important, because they form the particular features of your one special life. Whether you’ve been journaling for decades, haven’t in a while, or have never started, 2020 is a great time to begin. What stories do you have to tell?
The Cedars Retirement Community
The Cedars Retirement Community is a beautiful lakeside retirement residence located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cedars believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors at almost all levels of mobility and health. We are operating with great care during this pandemic and are following all guidelines issued by the CDC and ISDH. Please contact us with any questions you may have.