In the May edition of Healthier Habits, we’ll look at some of the ways journalling can help your mental health and wellbeing.
‘Journalling’ is one of those words that never existed – and it’s now in the Scrabble dictionary! Writing a journal can seem daunting, as we tend to imagine the need for a leather-bound book with high-quality paper and an expensive pen, combined with staring soulfully out the window for an hour first. Of course, you can do this if you want to, but spending 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each day is plenty of time to record your thoughts. If that doesn’t seem achievable, have you heard of the ‘one sentence journal’? This is where you simply write one sentence about your day. Over time, you might progress to lengthier entries about your day, but one sentence is a great start!
Health and Wellbeing benefits of journalling –
- It’s the perfect spot to have a good rant or help you work through complex things that may be going on for you. You can ‘spill’ whatever you like, and then read it again at a later stage to see how you’ve progressed through whatever the problem or scenario was.
- You can simply write down things, such as special memories and funny stories so you don’t forget them.
- Writing in your journal can help reduce stress and even sharpen your memory.
- You may find it helpful to ‘dump’ your thoughts in your journal at the end of the day, and sometimes this can help people sleep easier if they are experiencing troubling thoughts which just keep surfacing in our heads as we hit the pillow.
- You can incorporate the idea of gratitude in your journal, such as ‘Three things I’m grateful for today’.
- It can help you sift through, and prioritize both your minor and major concerns.
- Journalling can be a positive part of everyday routines.
- Writing down something you are proud of, in regard to your own behaviour, can be very helpful and encourage us to feel positive and ensure we maintain a healthy self-esteem.
- It’s important to read back over past entries to see how far you have come and to recognise patterns of behaviour and insight.
- Your journal is the perfect place to record things that you want to achieve and goals you are working towards – no matter how big or small! Your journal is your own private space to write these things down.
Some journalling prompts and ideas to try –
- Who do you trust and why?
- How have you used your abilities or talents today?
- How have you relaxed today?
- What are your ambitions?
- How’s work going? Is it draining, boring, fantastic, great…..why might this be?
- What is something funny that happened today? /What is something cute that you saw?
- Can you describe yourself in 10 words
- Who is driving you up the wall at the moment, and why do you think this is the case?
- Write about something you regret/Write about something you don’t regret…
- Write about your favourite things to do – and – keep a master list at the back of your notebook.
- Write about your favourite book/movie
- Is there something that really surprised you? Write about that experience
- What are you proud of?
- When did you really have to ‘persist’ to achieve something?
- Nature journalling – sit outside and record your interactions with nature on paper. Discover more about this concept here.
We are listening to – Letters To You (Words of Support and Inspiration for Difficult Times) by Jazz Thornton
A beautiful book of letters to provide support, information, encouragement and tips on practical help for anyone suffering low moments. This book was designed to be read (or listened to) not just once, or in order, letter by letter, but to be used again and again as a tool when you encounter difficult emotions and experiences, to help you feel less alone. Available on BorrowBox audio.
We are learning – Journalling classes on CreativeBug
In the spirit of trying something new, take a look at our free Creativebug resource. Simply enter ‘Journal’ into the CreativeBug search bar and you’ll find classes on creating art journals, making a yearly planner and more. To get started, visit the Creativebug page on our website.
May Special Events and Dates
- National Volunteer Week: 16-22 May
- IDAHOBIT Day: 17 May
- National Palliative Care Week: 22-28 May
- National Reconciliation Week: 27 May – 3 June
- Discover more awareness days and special events during May here.
The opinions and recommendations in this blog do not replace advice from your doctor or mental health practitioner. If you feel like you need further support, you can access many free mental health helplines, support websites, online counselling, web forums, interactive toolkits, one-on-one counselling and group therapy sessions. Please visit the Better Health website for a comprehensive list of services.
Mental Wellbeing at MYLI
The Healthier Habits blog is adapted from the Myli – My Community Library employee ‘Page Break’ program. Page Break is an initiative from our Manager Volunteers & Community Participation, Kathie Olden. Kathie sends out regular updates to staff inviting them to participate in simple activities and conversation starters that focus on making small changes to their mental health and wellbeing.