Christmas Break

Christmas Ornament

Photo by Paul Hogsett

As my Christmas break begins to wind down and the dawn of a new semester looms ahead of me, I can’t help but think about all the blessings these three weeks of break have brought me.

First off, it gave me time with my family. Since my three siblings and I were home-schooled, we have a close family bond. There was always someone around to talk to, and none of us were ever really alone. That was something that I had forgotten about while I was at school where I have my own space and spend a large amount of time alone. That doesn’t really exist here at home. It did take me a while to adjust to it, but I have learned to love it again.

Secondly, it allowed me to see my old friends. I have many close friends from high school here at home, and so seeing them all again was a huge blessing. I think it’s important to have people in your life that you know will always be there, and I have two friends back here at home that are like that. The three of us know that no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, we will always have a great time together. Those are the friends that I know will always be there for me.

Finally, this break gave me time to relax. I have not felt this relaxed in a very long time. I’ve been able to sleep in late almost every day and take naps whenever I want. I cringe a little bit at the idea of getting back to a schedule at school. I think there is a time and a place for both lifestyles, but the lack of schedules has been glorious.

I hope your Christmas break has been just a relaxing as mine. Merry (late) Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Case for Journaling

Photo by Lindy Hogsett
Photo by Lindy Hogsett

“People who keep journals have life twice.” ~Jessamyn West

I am a thinker. It may have to do with the fact that I tend to be introverted, and my brain is almost always going MMM (a million miles per minute). It can be frustrating. Going to sleep after a long day is hard because my brain is processing, reprocessing, and replaying the events of the day. I have only found two ways to calm my brain and get some sleep: watch YouTube videos for hours or journal.

YouTube videos are entertaining and occasionally informative, but I think the reason that they put me to sleep is they overwhelm my brain and it just shuts down. I don’t think that’s the healthiest way to do things. The things that are often running through my brain are important in some way or another, so suppressing them and pushing them out doesn’t give them the credit they are due. So, while YouTube is great, it doesn’t do justice to the thoughts that are running a muck in my head.

Journaling helps me to save those thoughts. If what’s going through my head isn’t an event that has already happened but something I’m stressing out about, writing it down helps me to calm down about it and save the thought for latter. I learned that trick from my mom, and it may be one of the most important practices that she has taught me. Journaling also allows me to look back in time and remember what I have learned and experienced. I love looking at the journal entries I wrote when I was in elementary or middle school. I have learned so much about myself in those entries.

The biggest thing that journaling helps me with is processing. There is something about getting it out of my brain and onto paper. Everything makes a little bit more sense, and I can make connections that wouldn’t have been made just in my head. I think journaling organizes my thoughts into something that is physical and tangible, something that can be sorted through and explained.