We can't help you, but here's some homework
And yet another way the mindfulness-and-journaling-will-fix-everything narrative is damaging is by making women feel like what they are experiencing is THEIR fault. If only you had laughed more, meditated longer, or ate more vegetables you wouldn’t be in this situation! (Those are actual suggests from the Mayo Clinic on stress relief). Surely systemic issues like the lack of quality, affordable childcare; the gender pay gap; gender bias in the medical system; or the disparities in unpaid domestic and care work between men and women couldn’t be to blame. 😡🤯
A few years back I was stuck in an awful - and I do mean *awful* - job, and desperate for solutions to help me make it through the day (beyond my nightly ritual of applying for jobs elsewhere). Over and over again, the advice the internet kept serving me, as I googled things like "how can I hate my job less" while sobbing on the toilet, was to keep a freaking gratitude journal. MFers, spending five minutes every morning writing down something I was grateful for was not going to help me sort out my bullying boss. I have kept a journal since I was seven years old, for pretty much every reason under the sun, and it is simply not a catch-all solution to life's lady-problems! (And it's always lady-problems, isn't it?
Are you presaging my doc appointment tomorrow, when they tell me the severe breast/underarm pain that I have for 10 days a month is DuE tO StReSs? Evil witches, indeed!
Just did a highly scientific poll of asking my husband if any of this stuff was ever recommended in Journalism for Men (tm). “Where are you even getting this…? Journaling?? Meditation????”
"“Be present” —> Leave"
Hahahahahaha!!!!! Can't wait to put this into practice.
Ann Helen Petersen recently talked about how self care is BS on her culture study newsletter. As someone deep in perimenopause- I’m sick of the medical establishment simply shrugging to every question I have and offering up self care as a solution. F. U.
But seriously how can we fix this when nobody with the power to fix this cares about fixing this???
Ugh! Having multiple lady issues that fall into these categories (although don’t we all at this point?) I always read mindfulness/meditation recommendations as “Sounds like your infertility/PCOS/anxiety/perimenopause/parenting concerns is a you problem. Have you tried not doing that? Just, you know, be mindful and not be anxious. That should straighten out those broken hormones and everything will be fine.” Spoiler alert, it does not. And journaling stresses me the fuck out. Don’t put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of the New York Times, but absolutely pour every complicated ugly thought and feeling you have out on paper. That will definitely fix everything and nothing could possibly go wrong. I had a therapist who was huge on journaling. I finally journaled sitting on the floor next to the shredder so that I could annihilate all evidence as soon as the pen left the paper. My anxiety over putting ugly thoughts into writing absolutely eliminated any benefit I felt in “getting them out on paper.” Give me a verbal bitchfest over cupcakes or cheese or wine or whatever any day of the week over a journal. Now I want cupcakes. And cheese.
"you may experience any number of feelings"
hahaha god I didn't realize how pervasive this is - I'm realizing I have indeed added these widgets to websites myself - like hey, maybe there isn't a drug for your condition bc research, but ~ journaliiiiiing! ~ Also, I hate journaling.
Late to this but… not sure if you’ve come across the book McMindfulness. It basically argues that mindfulness culture pathologizes stress (to make it an individual’s problem) and props up harmful societal structures (capitalism, patriarchy, etc.) by insisting on an individual remedy to societal problems, while making us MORE tolerant of the harms. I feel like most commentators are like, “mindfulness is good but…” - it was refreshing to read a take that was more “actually mindfulness is damaging and manipulative and here’s why.”
Lordy, I actually just finished a ghostwriting assignment for one of these "guided" journals and was promptly sacked, will see no royalties from the sales, and I'm certainly not going to be able to journal my way out of rent this month or the mountain of student loans I owe. No amount of meditating is going to solve the fact that my autistic daughter is going to require lifelong care that I cannot afford, but I will say that... while drafting this silly journal with my boss, I was trying to come up with compelling Esther Perel-style questions that fostered meaningful self-inquiry. I was also genuinely trying to open up a space where you could write/rant/say the most unspeakable, wackadoo things that no one else would ever read. The intent was never to create a space of self-blame for a woman's current situation, i.e., you're just not manifesting hard enough and that's why your life blows... because it's really deep systemic, structural change to our mental health care and social safety nets that needs to happen. But there have been times when journaling has helped me to recognize a pattern or fear I had--one that might not be entirely grounded in fact and, in that way, it was a useful exercise. Julia Cameron's 'Morning Pages' have also proven helpful to me for getting writing flowing... but it's never going to solve my life. If only... :)
I've been journalling on and off since I was 7 and always the same goddamn ideas and patterns, except it used to be "an itemized list of what I got for Easter" and now it's here is an itemized list of "the stuff we did on vacation" or "the stupid things I am fixating on ", and once in a while, a rant about why I am incredibly mad or embarrassed (often both!)
Journalling is just a tool for processing but it's not going to fix your job/your relationship/etc.
I HAVE been experimenting with intermittent fasting, that's where I just sleep all night instead of getting up every few hours to eat. Going okay. /s
I would recommend https://www.womanlymag.com/about
(I've illustrated for them in the past!)