Mental Health Monday – Keeping a Journal

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Living with mental illness or mental health issues or as I like to refer to it, recovery lends itself to keeping a journal. You don’t need to be a “real” writer to keep a journal. My kids all keep notebooks of some kind, and I’ve kept travel journals for trips and retreat/spiritual journals. I’m about to embark on my second Lent journal.
There are also so many options out there for any style of journal-keeping, whether longhand, calendar diary, record-keeping, bullet points, or sketching. Or you can dabble in all kinds, both to keep it fresh but also to experiment and see which type suits you better. I do several types all in the same physical book.

Pinterest is a great place to find and explore the varieties of journal styles that are out there as well as discovering journaling prompts to help you along. We can all use a little push now and then.

You can buy premade journals for specific areas or fancy blank journals or create your own with a small three-ring binder. These can be found online at Staples, Target and online as well as local boutique shops.

The possibilities are nearly endless.

Types of Journals

BulletBujo (this is a brand and a style), Dear Diary, Travel, Sketchbook, Prayer, Memoir, I even have a writer’s planner journal

Evernote is a good way to keep a journal digitally.

Things to Record:

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Instagramming Across May

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When I first heard about Instagram, I thought, oh no, not another social media thingy. But once I began to use it, I really enjoyed it. Especially the way I can post directly from it to my Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Because those two latter ones are more anonymous than my FB, I do need to be careful not to post any identifying information or at least to be aware of it when I do.

In getting my new smartphone, I’ve discovered that its camera is better than my camera-camera and my Kindle camera and having 4G that actually works is the bonus, so I’ve been using it more lately. I also love the way the layout on multiple pictures looks. It lets me be creative and really use my imagination.

This May has been incredibly busy as you’ve read in the posts I’ve made and in the lack of posts I haven’t made. But I have managed to make Instagram posts because they are just so easy to upload.

I wanted to share them with you.

As a writer, I hate the saying, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Resources for Travel

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AAA – I used to say that if you had a car or traveled by car, you needed AAA, but it really is so much more than for car travel. With membership, they have tour books and maps for free. They have travel agents that can help you plan your trip and reserve your flights and hotels. Some places also have car repair/maintenance shops. Not to mention the discounts on stores and attractions. When I’m in my home area, I always forget to ask for these and often the museums are buy one get one admission free or 10% off in the gift shop. There is also a discount at Payless Shoe Source among many other retailers. It’s defintiiely worth the annual membership fee.

Smartphone/Tablet Apps – In one trip, I will use the map app, the weather app, Facebook messenger, my banking app, browser to look up attractions and check out local news for information. Don’t let naysayers say that technology is bad for us; it is more useful than not and saves countless hours of time in research and planning.

Notebook/Journal app – I tend to use Evernote or Office Suite for my travel notes to use later in my writings.

Travel Hacks – great tips for traveling

Check out the free travel section on Kindle E-books.

Traveler Restaurant – I haven’t personally been there but I’ve heard great things about this place.

What is your go-to resource when you travel? Share below.

Online Organization

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Computers and the Internet were supposed to make our lives easier and reduce the giant paper piles on our desks. Unfortunately, what has happened to most of us is that we’ve simply transferred our piles of paper to our computers in the way of files. For those of us who are savers we have files we never delete, emails we never delete. Instead of weeding out what we no longer need, we keep things in triplicate and create new categories and new folders to hold it all. We crossmatch and cross-post, and we never get rid of it.

In the last couple of years, I’ve managed to begin to get a hold of my online/on computer world and declutter it.

It’s not easy to let go of things; especially when we think we are saving it for a reason. Why do we keep blurry photos of our kids? There is something holy and wholly important about those things we’ve created. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. The same holds for what we do on our computers – our writing, our art, our lives; pretty much.

I have found (although I’m always looking for new ones) some really good organizational tools, both online and through apps.

Many people who read my blogkeeping posts will already know that I do most of my work currently on my Kindle Fire with my keyboard. The one downfall of not having a mega-gig hard drive on my pc is not having a mega-gig hard drive. I really need a place to store my writing.

One way I store my writing is not to. If I post it here, I log in the word count in my blog planner (which is still on paper), and I either delete the “paper copy” or I upload it to Dropbox. WordPress already has my final copy, so as long as I tag and categorize properly, I can continue to refer to my posts and writing.

Dropbox is my first line of defense in the online organizational onslaught. Dropbox gives you space in the cloud that you can access from their app or an internet browser by signing in from any computer. You can get a paid account for more space, but whenever I hit my limit I get on my pc and transfer whatever I’m keeping to my hard drive.

Evernote. This is like that pile of scrap paper and post-it notes you keep on your desk or posted on your office cork-board/bulletin board. This is another app that you can use from the app on your smartphone, tablet, or from any desktop by signing in. There is also a paid premium account, but I’ve always gotten by with the free version.

I’m still on the paper version, but a good calendar app is worth getting. CalenGoo is one I used before my Fire came with one pre-loaded. In addition to that, I really like a list-making app. The one I use and the one I really love is 2Do.

Other apps that I use on my Fire (links are for Amazon, but all of these should also be found on Google Play and the Apple App Store) include:

Office Suite Pro
Adobe Acrobat
Pocket – this lets you save links – articles, videos, etc for watching later and OFFline.
Skype – great for communicating long distance/internationally for free. My family used this when my husband was in the Philippines on business and I’ve used it for my online groups.

A Print Plug-in for your tablet (I use Epson. A wireless printer was probably the best investment I’ve made in the last ten years.)

A Scanner Plug-in (I use MDScan, but I haven’t used it often enough to give a proper review.)

You’ll want some kind of email client. My Fire has one that keeps all of my various accounts on one client.

Obviously, you’ll want to figure out whichever social media apps you need by what you use. I will probably do a separate post on social media apps at another time.

These can be adapted to whatever your needs are, and most of them can be downloaded for free. Check out the paid options also; they might be better for professional needs.

As a writer, I’ve bought very few of these, and I almost never complain about them. I L-O-V-E love my Fire (which would be apparent to anyone who reads my page). I’ve done more writing and more posting in the last year than in the last several.

The organization keeps me on track and lets me write instead of constantly looking for things or keeping track of ideas.

Please add your own organizational apps in the comments and/or organizational tips that you find useful.

Recs – Organization Helpers

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Some of my favorite organization helpers, both on and offline:

Unfuck Your Habitat – obvious language warning. Great hints, tips, and motivation

The January issues of pretty much any and every women’s magazine on the newsstand, especially Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, and Martha Stewart Living. Those for will probably have a special organizing issue for the first two months of the year.

Day Planners/Schedule Keepers: I prefer Mead, which can be found at Target and Franklin Covey. Check online (Pinterest) for specialty downloadable ones.

List Apps: 2Do is what I’m currently using and I am very happy with it.

Note Apps: Notes and Sticky Notes are both very good.

Save/Read Later: Pocket(Read it Later)

Organizing your Notes/Note-taking: Evernote is the best there is, and can be synched between mobile devices, tablets, computers, and anyone’s computer through an internet browser. Don’t forget to sign out when you’re finished. Evernote also does what Pocket does and can be used for checklists.

Recommendation – Evernote

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evernote

 

 

My first smartphone wasn’t smart at all. It looked like an iPhone, but none of the icons were actually apps. I could surf the net but it wasn’t until the Android system that I finally understood and began to use apps.

I’ve been using apps for a few years now, and my favorite, most useful, the one I recommend to all, glowingly and effusively, is Evernote.

I have the app on my phone, my Kindle, and my computer plus I can access it from any computer by signing in at Evernote(dot)com. It is all synched and ready each time I open it up.

While I was still experimenting with this type of organizational app and trying out different ones, I was always drawn back to Evernote.

It really is the best one out there.

Evernote can be as general or as specific as you need. You decide how many notebooks you create. You choose and create your own tags. You can save things to a top menu for shortcuts if you’ll be using something more often for a period of time. You can even share your notebook with others if you want or need to.

Currently, I have seventeen notebooks and way too many tags, and I’m working on paring it down.

In addition to my long-hand notes, I also use it for checklists and collecting photos and links for other projects. It’s an all-in-one app; there are things it does that I haven’t even discovered yet.

I find it essential for my writing as well as organizing the information in my personal life.

It’s also free if you use the basic program.

Give it a try. You won’t be sorry.