Hi Friends!!! And hello 2022!!! January is almost over… but this is our first convo so Happy new year!
I really pray that this year is everything you WANT AND NEED it to be! Continue to stay masked and sanitised pls…. you know how these corona streets are.
In the spirit of a new year and with one of my intentions for this year to be more open and vulnerable, I really wanted to share a bit about journalling. Alongside food, I love a bit of mental health, wellness and self care and want to start sharing more about those on here.
A few weeks ago I was talking to my cousin about journalling. The JOY I felt and got from that conversation had me a bit shook. I realised the power that journalling has had and continues to have in my life, as well as the potential it has to touch other lives. My initial thought was to have “journalling hang outs” and i’m really toying with the idea – BUT I’m shy 🤭. If that sounds like something you’d love or are interested in, let me know!
But as I wait for the courage to possibly do those, the next best thing was to write a blogpost ASAP!
I started using journalling as a productivity tool through the bullet journalling method. I think i’m quite an organised person and i LOVE a list. I like to have my tasks written down where I can see them and bullet journalling was easy enough, cool and productive! Find more info on bullet journalling here.
As I was reflecting on my journey with journalling and through a conversation I had with an aunt, I realised that my dad has been journalling for decades!!! He says it frees up his mental space and this is very true for me too! I think for him it’s more of a productivity tool.
For me, journalling has become mainly a mental health tool. A sort of diary I guess. I don’t like calling it a diary because I feel like diaries are trivialised and almost seen as childish.
I have kept a journal each year for the past 5 years and it’s become part of my daily routine. I prefer to write before I go to sleep. It helps me decompress and re-centre.
Journalling is really what you make of it. It can be where you prep for the day ahead or where you explore feelings and thoughts – and that’s one reason why I love it so much! It can be whatever you want it to be. You can make it as artistic as you want or as plain and simple as you want.
2 things I always encourage people to do – and I’m sure my friends and siblings can attest to this, is journalling and therapy. They work GREAT together but I think journalling can be a great place to start your “work” if that’s something you’re interested in. (Disclaimer: I’m not a mental health professional by any means, but these tools have had a massive impact on my life so this advice is coming from personal experience).
You might be thinking “okay TMA I’m intrigued, now how do I start journalling?”. Okay, I hear you!
Here are some practical tips that show how i set up my new journal:
- start with a new notebook – I personally like dotted notebooks not lined or blank. I feel like lined notebooks can be restricting while blank notebooks have no guidance or structure and so dotted notebooks give you the perfect balance! You can write, map or draw as you wish.
- have a cover page of the year and have a cover page for each month. I also like to have a monthly log which is a calendar where I note down important things – birthdays, exams and things like that.
- I like to have an “Intentions” page and a “goals” page – no pressure to set goals or intentions but I feel like intentions come with a lot less pressure!
- Other pages I like to have include a “brain dump” – this is where you can jot down any ideas that come to your brilliant mind!
And of course, don’t forget to write freely!
Here are some videos that you can have a look at for more ideas on how to set up a journal – mine is very very basic compared to some of these:
Now moving on to my daily journalling practise!
The scene – dimly lit room for vibes, freshly applied night time skincare (I’m usually glithening like a glazed donut!), incense burning for maximum enjoyment and my jar of water – I drink from a mason jar not a cup…
The tools– my journal and a pen or 5.
I start on the next available space with the date first -I don’t do a page per day, I just use the next available space. After the date, I always start with gratitude!! and then I write. Some days its just my gratitude or a line and other days I write 3 pages.
Why do I love to Journal? Well, one of the reasons is because it offers a safe space to JUST BE with no judgement. I can also spiral in a managed way and it really helps with processing emotions.
I am a feeler for the most part but don’t always admit this and so journalling helps me manage all the big feelings that come with life.
Many times I start with a problem or an overwhelming feeling and by the end of the page I’ve eased my mind and freed up that mental space! Writing things down that are on your mind really is so freeing.
Journalling has served as a writing practise for me as well as a tool that has allowed me to develop self awareness. It encourages reflection and mindfulness. I also use it to track some things such as courses that I’m taking – so some productivity and organisation still!
Fun fact – It was actually through journalling I got into calligraphy – which I haven’t practised in a LONG TIME smh. Need to be more on it with the crafts this year.
As well as writing freely, I sometimes enjoy using journal prompts. I find these from all sorts of places but mainly instagram. Some of my favourite prompt writers include Alex Elle and Marbie’s Kitchen. Journal prompts can provide amazing guidance especially when it comes to exploring feelings and patterns or when you feel stuck.
One thing I’ve also decided to start doing this year is choosing an affirmation at the start of each month to reflect on throughout the month. My affirmation will be based around a name of Allah. Yours doesn’t have to be but this could be something you might consider doing as a reflection practise.
I think I’ve run out of tips and thoughts!
This has been a bit scary and nerve-racking to write because vulnerability is always scary but I hope you find some goodness in this and I hope you give journalling a try!
If you need a bit more motivation, send me a message on Instagram – I like to believe that i’m a GREAT hype woman.
Happy journalling and see you on the next one!