Every single day my mom picked me up from high school, the first thing she would ask was "How was your day today?" followed by asking what kind of homework I had, next practice for softball, or what kind of activities I had going on.
When I started driving myself to school, we still had this conversation, but a bit adopted to best fit. Sometimes I would stop by my mom's office or we would talk about it over dinner. I had a very structured daily reflection with someone that loves and cared about my academic success and mental state.
After graduating high school, I moved about 800 miles away from that structure. While my mom is always just a text or phone call away, I don't have these daily reflections with her anymore. It wasn't until I met my best friend Lyndsey that I realized I struggled a lot without them.
It became very apparent to me that having a source of reflection made me less overwhelmed and anxious and by going over what all had to be done or the events that happened, made them easier to mentally digest.
So how do I reflect? It's very much in the same fashion of a diary, a mental note on a chain of events of why they might have happened or even how they made you feel. I enjoy writing, but keeping a journal felt too impersonal to me. My inner thoughts are something that are prized to me and there is too much symbolism in the act of writing for me to want them on paper.
Instead, I like to think about specific events and analyze them. I used to be that person that would have something happen and in the moment I would make a decision on how to react or even how my mood was. I still have an immediate reaction, but more often than not, our immediate reaction are not the best to reflect us in the long term.
That's why taking a pause and reflecting on how I felt in the moment, how someone else might have felt, or at least attempting to find the cause of the catalyst has helped me so much. Having the tools to help myself this way came from a combination of my mom and talking those things that really bothered me out with my friend. I still do both, but I can do it on my own and still feel that lift off my chest.