A Year of Notes to Yourself

Today has been a very “mental health” day for me.  This essentially means that I actually took time to think or talk about mental health problems or wellbeing.  It means, I spent a lot of time focusing on my own mental health today.  “Mental Health” days are really important I think.  You don’t have to go out of your way to do something.  It’s more about pausing for a moment and reflecting.  How’s your mental health recently?  Have you been looking after it?  Is there anything you can do to improve it?  Sometimes I think we forget to do this.  Physical health is usually easier to recognise, simply because if you’re in pain then you’ll know.  Although, it’s a bit like checking for any lumps or bumps or going for regular check ups.  I think mental health is something that’s easily neglected.

So today, upon reflection, I’ve decided to try and write some little notes full of love to myself.  I’m hoping to spend the next year filling a jar with things that matter.  Then, at the end of next year, pull them out and read them.  Alternatively, if I go through a rough period or have a low day, grab a few to read.  It will be full of happy memories, good thoughts, gratitude and lots of love.

I really wanted to address this today because I think we often forget about ourselves in the holidays.  Sometimes we get so busy trying to please others, buying them the perfect gifts or worrying about money that we just forget to pause for a moment.  Christmas is one of my favourite holidays but it’s not always easy.  It comes with financial concerns, stress, a mad rush, pressure and sometimes also loneliness.  It’s definitely not easy – especially when everyone around you might seem like they are having a great time.  I don’t have much advice in how to make Christmas better if you experience any of those things.  However, one thing I can always promote is self-care.  This is one way of helping your future days be a bit happier, I think.

What to write:

You can focus this jar on anything that makes you happy.  There’s a number of different things you could do.  Here’s a few ideas that I came up with:

  • Write about something good that happened that day
  • Jot down something you’re grateful for
  • Add a photo of something you did
  • Write down your happy thoughts
  • Keep a compliment jar, full of compliments you receive
  • Write down things you’ve done well or something you’re proud of
  • Add motivational or inspirational quotes that you like
  • Note down random acts of kindness you see other people do or do yourself
  • Come up with ideas of self-care
  • Write your future self some motivational words

Honestly, I think there’s probably more things you could focus this jar on.  You can stick to one, for example a gratitude jar or pick a few different things!  You don’t even have to stick to writing messages in it.  Why not throw in something drawings, random sketches and scribbles?  Why not just add photos you’ve printed?  A picture does say a thousand words, after all.  Basically do whatever it is that makes you happy.

What I’m going to do:

Personally, I’m going to keep mine open and allow myself to add anything that I think would make future Reema smile.  It is important to have a focus when you are starting out, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed by the task.  My focus will be to write down good things that have happened that day or things that I am grateful for.  I’ll try and add at least one thing every day.  If there’s three things I’m very grateful for, I’ll add them in as separate notes.

By having two focuses, I think it makes it more realistic.  I might, for example, struggle to find something good in a day if I’ve been stuck in bed with the flu all day.  However, I think there’s always something to be grateful for – such as having a nice warm bed to rest on in the first place.  In fairness, I’ll probably add a mix of the above items – and anything else I think of that makes me happy – as the year goes on.

What do you need to do this?

To be honest, not very much!!  All you need is something to write on (paper), something to write with (pen or pencil) and something to store it in!

You could go out and buy yourself some bits.  However, I just looked around my house when I got home and found a few things I could start using today.  Within a few short minutes, I found several different options.  You do need something to store the notes in, to start with.  I found:

  • A mug that I use to store some pencils in
  • A jar I got in a gift set
  • Some small boxes that currently hold make up
  • A small vase without flowers in it
  • Some empty storage boxes
  • Old packaging that I haven’t thrown out
  • Unused large cups with lids on them

These are all things I found in my house literally within five minutes.  Grab anything that you could use for this.  Don’t forget, you can always change it later if you want to.  I’m opting to use a small honey jar.  It’s really small so will sit nicely on my bedside.  Once it’s filled up, I can move the bits of paper to a larger container.  However, I like the idea of having something transparent so I can start seeing it fill up with little notes.

The jar I got is from a gift set from Burt’s Bees.  I used the products that were inside it a while ago but kept the jar as it’s very cute.  Honestly, any jar works for this but you could get yourself this one if you want to.

Once you’ve picked a container, feel free to decorate it if you want to.  You could permanently add something to it – such as write on it with a glass pen.  However, if you think you might change it or want to use that container for something else, why not just add a bit of ribbon or stickers?  This isn’t compulsory but it could be nice if you’ve only got plain containers.

Don’t forget the little things

This is the perfect season to get crafty.  You could literally take one of the boxes you get from an online order and use that!  If it’s got a company’s branding all over it then why not just cover it up?  Wrapping paper is so useful and you probably already have some lying around in the house!  The container can also be an envelope from a Christmas card you’ve received.

Honestly, the key to this whole project is the writing part.  Actually sitting down and writing the notes is far more important than what you put them in.  I think you do need some sort of container, so you can keep them together and not lose them.  But it’s not the most important thing for this!

Let me know if you get inspired to do something yourself.  There’s plenty of public challenges to promote the same idea but I thought I’d try something private.  Something just for me to read, where my messages can be very specific and honest without worrying about confidential information going out online!

This reminds me of keeping a journal – something I love to do but don’t always have the time for.  It’s like short snippets of the best moments.  I’m definitely going to try doing it daily – starting today.  I’d love to know if you do this or something similar too!

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