Guest post by Mell Oliver from The Sunshine Bindery
Have you ever felt as though you had so much going on inside your head, that it all just felt too noisy, crowded or, even on some days, a little overwhelming? Well, you’re not alone! With so much of our daily routines nowadays being chock full of tasks, responsibilities and endless to do lists, it can really begin to feel like there is just too much going on, making it hard to keep track.
For me, this is where my daily journaling practice comes in. As a bookbinder, illustrator and owner of a quirky creative business, The Sunshine Bindery, I find that my job comes with wearing lots of different hats and, quite often, juggling many tasks at once. I have found over the years that cultivating a daily writing practice can offer a space to let all of that information flow out of my brain and onto the page, giving my mind some much appreciated clearing out time to get things in order, so that I feel more clarity to help make decisions and reflect on where I’m headed next. I’m a big fan of self care too, as I often struggle with bouts of anxiety, and I’ve found that writing and keeping a daily journal has really helped to keep my mental wellbeing calm and centred, as well as having a healthy outlet for my creativity.
Journaling is wonderful as an end of day winding down tool too; there is nothing quite like cuddling up with a hot cup of tea, some soothing music, my journal and favourite pen to truly give myself a few moments to fully relax without distraction from the world around me. I find that it’s really helpful to give our minds the space to really think and pour out all of those big ideas, daily thoughts, adventures you want to go on, dreams you’d love to see happen, joys and struggles you’re experiencing out onto the page, to have a moment to take stock of how you are truly feeling in the midst of it all.
Also, it can be a brilliantly rebellious act of self-care in a world that celebrates endless busyness and to do lists, just to slow down and take some time just for you instead.
There are many ways to start a journaling practice – here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Simply set aside some time, even if it is just 10 minutes in the morning or evening before you go to bed, grab your pen and write anything that comes out of your head organised into short, bursts of writing in a list form. This can be a nice, easy introduction into documenting what has happened that day without feeling the pressure to write loads. This works great if you are short on time and can be a great way of developing a short daily practice to ease yourself into the journaling habit.
This is a truly wonderful technique that was first introduced by Julia Cameron, the author of ‘The Artist’s Way’. This method is a great way of cultivating a more structured daily practice - you write 3 pages of free-writing every morning of whatever comes to mind. It may seem a lot at first, especially if you have never started a journal before! Don’t worry though - it can be anything from what activities you have coming up that day, to how you slept, to working through any emotions you have coming up for that zoom meeting you have planned tomorrow while single-handedly home-schooling your children. It simply gives you a space to breathe and have 20 minutes to yourself in the morning. I have used this technique for years and my notebook often feels like my own personal therapist!
Write 5 things you are grateful for every day – this is a wonderful way to intentionally document all the lovely little positive and joyful things that happen in life and can be a great keepsake for reading later to give yourself a boost.
Use journaling prompts if you feel you need a little more structure and want to dig a little deeper.
How am I feeling today? What have I done this week that’s made me feel really great? What are my top 3 goals for this year? There are lots of prompts over on my blog if you wanted a few to get started with!
And also – remember that journaling doesn’t always have to be about just writing. It can be a mix of drawing, doodling, poetry, scribbling down notes, song lyrics, quick sketches, art, painting, illustrations, photographs, decorating with washi tape and stickers, or whatever else your heart desires! Or you can keep it super simple with a pen and a notebook. Do what works for you – at the end of the day we are all totally different and need outlets as unique as each one of us.
If you fancy reading any more tips and tricks about journaling, or would love to come say hi, I’m usually hanging out over on Instagram at @thesunshinebindery chatting about bookbinding, sharing quirky patterns and drawing up positive illustrations. Or you can visit my colourful stationery shop with more journaling posts and resources over at www.thesunshinebindery.co.uk.
Fancy giving journaling a go? We have a gorgeous range of unique journals created by Mell on our website. Click here to have a browse...