As I sit sobbing at the screen, thumping out my grief into the keyboard as I try to articulate the swirl in my mind into prose, I realise that by writing out my thoughts I feel less lonely, less chaotic, and more connected to the loved ones I have lost. It helps me to also process missing my daughters who are still here today but I only see part of the week.
Following this cathartic process of writing, I feel calmer, more in control and I have even made the resolution to not keep trying to continue bygone ‘traditions’ feeling upset at what or who is missing on those occasions but to do something totally different. So instead of dwelling on not being at our annual Christingle Service or now watching the Strictly Come Dancing final alone which had become a family tradition where we would enthusiastically attempt to copy some of the dancing, I sat eating a Vegan takeaway Saturday night while writing and then on Sunday which would have normally been our Church day I watched re-runs of all my favourite political, news and debate shows, whilst writing again. This is my unique self-care. Incidentally, Andrew Marr closed his final show that same day and Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow plans to present for the last time, I realise that everything in life changes and is in this cyclical process, just like nature.
Let’s dance through life.
The process of writing whether it be to reflect, comfort, express or plan our future, can alleviate stress, make sense of our emotions and help us to feel more grateful. Not to mention, the positive impact it has on our overall wellbeing, whether that be “free writing” or “structured journaling.”
The key is to make time to write, ideally at the start of your day explains Kate and Toby Oliver in their book Rise and Shine.
“Free Writing is a powerful form of self-expression which by doing regularly can improve clarity, focus, and feeling in control.” Not to mention, structured journaling to reflect, set our intentions for the day and focus on what we are looking forward to.
“A to-do list can be useful but I like to focus on a ‘to-be’ list Ie. what do I need to be, to be fully present in certain moments that may be challenging?” Explains Therapist and Author Toby.
Writing is such a powerful tool that helps us to appreciate, achieve and alleviate challenging emotions. It has become an unwavering friend to me who has helped me to reflect on photo memories which I used to do through rose-tinted glasses to gloss over the reality of such images because I can look back at my scribblings and authentically remember. This is something my first published memoir has helped me to do and now I have closed that chapter in my life and I can write my way to achieve the life I want to create day-by-day.
Yes, I will still miss relatives, Christmas feels a lot more sparse this year and I had replaced my usual Boxing Day traditions with the kids for trekking up mountains rather than mope not having them, but now my aunty who I stayed with has passed away, so again this Boxing Day I plan on watching the football or going to a spa.
It will even feel weird not spending my usual New Year’s Eve performing at pubs, clubs, and hotels as I have been a journalist by day and a bellydancer by night up until the start of the Pandemic which is when I last saw my ‘dance family.’
Yet I feel grateful that despite having to constantly adapt, I am able to communicate with relatives via WhatsApp and over the phone, I have my vegan food on the table and, I have several friends who are now genuinely part of my family. I am able to shimmy at home and it was in the first lockdown with more time working-from-home that I began writing this column which has been a lifeline to me ever since.
Whether you need to express, communicate or plot out your life, we all have can write our way to wellbeing.
I may have decluttered previous traditions but the traditions served up on my table will always be ‘saying grace’ by writing gratitude letters, doing our teaspoon prayers aka every time you reach for the cutlery drawer you say ‘thank you,’ ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ for something and ‘wellbeing for all’ will be the main centerpiece dish on the table.
Or you can join us in person (or online if necessary) at one of our writer’s clubs:
Journey to Journaling Club for adults
12th January – 1 pm-2 pm At The Ridings – Please book by emailing [email protected]
Pay as You Feel. You receive a free journal thanks to Inspiring Community CIC to support wellbeing and writing.
Young Writers Club weekly on Friday 14th January from 4-5pm and Young Reporters Club. You receive a free journal if attending 14th thanks to Inspiring Community CIC to support wellbeing and writing. Pay as you feel.
Please book by emailing [email protected]