Last week we talked about how much we need nature to survive both physically and mentally. As we continue to observe mental health awareness this month, I wish to explore another method of self care. The journal.
A journal can be a place to retreat from the rigours of everyday life. I have journaled in various forms for several years. Now that I draw and paint a lot more, I have gotten into visual journaling which combines text with imagery to express emotions, thoughts and ideas.
I've been neglecting my journal lately, so I was thankful to participate in Ahkela's (Craftii Meraki) journalling challenge this week. I hope to see it through to the end! Ahkela's thought provoking prompts have really gotten me into a good space and has even helped me confront issues I've been facing.
The safety that a journal provides cannot be underestimated. It means you can truly and freely express yourself in anyway you choose without fear of being judged or dismissed. Your journal is not in a hurry, does not want you to get things out quickly so it can move on to more important tasks. It is there for you at any point in time.
Five ways to journal
Akhela says "I journaled because it was a space for me to complain and say how I felt without being a burden to others. My journal was a safe space".
She provides four uses for a journal that I'd love to share:
Brain dump - write out everything that is on your mind
Prayer - what do you need help, support, motivation or guidance with?
Gratitude - write out what you are grateful for in life
Letters to yourself - write what you need to hear right now.
To add to this, (No. 5), you can also include visual elements such as drawings, paintings or cut outs to your journal. I think the visual journal provides another avenue for self expression. Sometimes we're in a place where words simply aren't enough to convey our thoughts.
You don't have to be an artist....
A visual journal is for anyone and everyone! If you can't draw, don't worry about it! There's lots of ways to add a visual element to your journal. You can cut out photos from magazines or even print photos you've taken with your smart phone and stick them in. There's also a vibrant, welcoming online community of people that you can tap into for guidance and inspiration.
I urge you to check out Akela's #soejournallingchallenge and start journaling today. It's a great way to get started with this awesome practice.