Last week, I went on a short walk in my local park and spent some time looking at all of the different trees. I wanted to find some pines as my husband would like some pine cones for a project he’s currently working on – a DIY bug hotel for our garden!
I found a huge cone but it was much too big so I left it behind and will return to the park another time in search of smaller ones. There were plenty on the trees but I couldn’t find any wind fallen pine cones of the size required.
This morning, I documented my walk and my learning about pine cones and bug hotels in my Webster’s Traveler’s notebook insert and though you might like to see my finished pages.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my journaling pages. You can find plenty of bug hotel inspiration online if it’s something you would like to have a go at making. Watch this space to see my husband’s creation when it’s finished!
We all find ourselves struggling at times and in different ways – maybe you have a really difficult decision to make, or maybe you’re finding it hard to fit it all in and still make time for yourself. Or perhaps, you’re having issues with a colleague at work or a family member and it’s getting you down. Or maybe, the cold and miserable weather has made you completely demotivated and you struggle to even get out of your cosy, warm bed in the morning.
Whatever you’re finding hard at the moment, and most of us can identify at least one thing, a technique which you might find really useful is to have a go at writing it down. There are lots of different approaches that you can try depending on your particular needs, but the act of writing has been shown to be really beneficial for improving your mental health. And, of course, all you need is a pen and some paper or a notebook (and perhaps a quiet space to sit).
As you write, you may find solutions or alternative ways of thinking popping into your head and this is your inner wisdom helping you work through your problems or look at things from another perspective.
Freewriting is a really simple technique where you just write whatever comes into your mind. Start with a blank piece of paper and just get out whatever is in your head. Try not to worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation, focusing instead on just keeping the writing flowing.
When you’ve finished your writing, try spending a few quiet minutes focusing on your breathing or thinking about how you currently feel.
Writing about your emotions
This is a good one to try if you’re feeling uncomfortable emotions such as upset, angry or frustrated. It can help you distance yourself from the emotion in order to rationalise your thoughts or empathise with yourself. Spend time journaling about how you are feeling and why. Don’t judge yourself in any way. Just record your thoughts and this will help you process them, rather than trying to avoid them by doing something else or, trying to switch them off.
Start a gratefulness diary
At the end of a busy day, just before you start to wind down and go to bed, spending a short time writing one or two things that you are grateful for can be a great mood booster. They can be simple things such as having an umbrella when it started to rain or a relaxing bath to soothe your aching muscles. Whatever made you happy or made your day that little bit easier write it down. You can choose the form in which you write, from a simple list to a random explosion of colour with little doodles for each one depending how creative you want to get!
Write a letter to yourself
This is one that I tried a while ago and I often come back to it and re-read what I wrote. First of all, you need to think about how you are feeling right now and what issues and difficulties are present in your life. Then, take a step back from your problems and write to yourself as someone who loves you unconditionally for who you are and shows kindness and compassion in their thoughts and understanding towards what you are going through. you don’t need to add in any solutions or advice but it might be helpful to offer support in the form of understanding and acceptance that things will improve.
Putting the day to rest
When you’ve got lots on your mind and are feeling really stressed, it can be difficult to quieten down your thoughts and relax at the end of your day. This can make sleep extremely difficult as you lie in bed analysing or worrying about what’s ahead. Putting the day to rest is a journaling activity which you can do for about 20 minutes each evening, not literally right before bed, but as a way of recording your thoughts and feelings so that you can switch off more easily. Here’s how it works:
Try to do this activity at the same time each evening – write it on your planner or set a reminder on your phone.
Use pen and paper rather than a laptop to avoid the glaring light of electronic devices.
Start by reflecting you your day – what are you general feelings about how it went?
Next, write down the main points of your day and identify what went well, what troubled you etc.
Write a to do list of anything which didn’t get done but is a priority.
Think forward to tomorrow – what is scheduled? How do you feel about it? etc.
Make a note of anything you are unsure about with regard to your day tomorrow and schedule some time to find out in the morning.
When you go to bed, if you start to think about things from your day or for tomorrow, remind yourself that you have already dealt these thoughts.
If new thoughts arise then you are already in bed, note them down on a piece of paper to be dealt with in the morning.
Ask yourself questions
As a keen bullet journalist, I use this technique regularly to help me to find ways to live my best life. I create a page with a question as a title and then list possible answers. Again, if you want to try this and like getting creative, you could add little doodles to your answers. Here’s some examples of interesting and thought provoking questions you might choose to ask:
How can I treat myself?
How can I get more organised?
What makes me happy?
What do I want to achieve this month?
How can I improve my relationship with …?
A brain dump is simply a page where you write words and short phrases to get down on paper all of those random thoughts that pop into your head throughout your day when you’re trying to focus on a particular task or activity. In this way, you can get back to the matter in hand and return to your random thought or piece of inspiration when it is no longer a distraction and you have time to further process it.
I hope you find these suggestions useful. Let me know if you try any of them or if you use any other useful therapeutic writing activities to help with the stresses and strains of life.
Hi all, I know, it’s been ages since I did a new blog post but what can I say, I’ve been super busy with my growing Etsy Shop. I’ve been getting creative (mainly with my shop photos) and I’m still very much a bujo and creative journaling addict but, I’ve let my blogging slide. What can I say, something had to give and unfortunately, this was it… sorry!
But, I’m back and I would so love to hear from each and every one of you with a mini update of your creative / plannery life and what your priorities are right now.
So, here’s some of my (best) reasons for being AWOL, AKA what I have been dedicating my precious time to:
Planning and having a creative Monday – two or 3 hours, most Mondays when I shift focus from my shop to getting messy. I’m talking brush lettering (I’m a leftie so I always get covered in ink!), colouring in, drawing (I’m getting better, slowly), painting, cutting and sticking (AKA collage) and anything else which takes my fancy and can be crammed in to my time.
Making daily plans. I’ve discovered I work best if I sit and create a daily timetable each and every day. This is drawn up in my bujo during my quiet, focused time that I dedicate to planning and preparation before I start work on my Etsy shop.
Putting into place ideas from my two favourite (and newly discovered) books on productivity. (see below – one is on my Kindle so I’m making notes in my bulging bujo as I like to record most of my learning so I don’t forget!)
Reaching out to other planning and journaling addicts both IRL (Bev, that’s you my lovely!) and virtually (UKPA you are an amazing, wonderous group – where would I be without you!).
That’s it for now, but I (pinkie) promise, I will be back with another post very shortly (you can berate me in the comments if I don’t!).
Much love and best wishes to you and your loved ones for the Christmassy period.
As many of you who follow me on social media know, I got a gorgeous Webster’s Pages TN in fuchsia for my last birthday and have been using my handmade inserts to design my own planner layouts. I also add my habit trackers, shopping lists and meal plans in there as well as a notes section at the back. As I hand stitch my notebooks, and use premium paper, I was finding that the maximum thickness I could make, without the booklet looking too bulky, was about 24 pages. So, as I needed a WO4P (week on four pages) I was getting through a lot (and I mean a lot!!!) of notebooks throughout the months and kept having to transfer key information from one to another. I also had about 5 other notebooks on the go all at the same time and, unsurprisingly, I was becoming a bit overwhelmed by my system. Don’t get me wrong – I love notebooks, the prettier the better, but I was craving a set up where everything was all in one place.
So, fast forward a few months, to when I ordered a gorgeous Scribbles That Matter notebook from Amazon and became obsessed with watching YouTube videos and their related blogs on BuJo systems. I also started searching out creative bullet journal peeps on Instagram to follow for inspiration (there are so many amazing set ups out there). My favourite and most informative YouTube channel and blog has to be Kara’s at Boho Berry and you’ll see why when you check it out.
My A5 Scribbles notebook is amazing. Here’s a list of its main features:
A bullet grid for all of your amazing layouts
A page to write your key, including any colour coding you might have decided to use.
3 index pages
Page numbers so, with the index, you can find all of your collections easily
A space at the back for testing all of your pens (well, maybe not all of them, but the ones you intend to use!)
A fantastic pocket at the back for keeping stickers, receipts or whatever you want to keep with your planner / journal.
Two ribbon bookmarks (I’ve got mine marking my index and what will be my weekly page when May comes)
For my first bujo, I decided to keep it simple with some highlighting (using my fab new Mildliners – also from Amazon), some brush lettering (using my Tombow Fudenosuke hard for smaller text and Tombow Dual Tips for larger titles) and a few stickers (from Pebbles). I might also add some washi as the months go on (after all, I have plenty of it in my stash!).
Here’s my set up for May. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.
I started colour coding in my Traveler’s Notebook system a few months ago and loved how effective it was and how colourful it made my planner. I’ve stuck with the same 5 colours and I’m continuing to combine personal and business goals and tasks. As well as running my Etsy Shop I also volunteer for the RSPB once a fortnight by going into schools to deliver sessions to primary aged children with a focus on giving nature a home in the school grounds. I get bookings and have to keep in touch with my line manager regularly so I gave my tasks their own colour.
I hand wrote my calendars for my future log but I messed up with the numbering (and I didn’t use a Frixion pen!) so I had to create little stickers to cover up my mistake. For this, I worked on Microsoft Publisher, creating tables for each month for the rest of the year.
I deviated from the original Bullet Journal monthly set up, preferring to use a grid format:
And finally, my first weekly plan, which is now on just two pages. I’m hoping the rapid logging system means that I need much less space for each day but I can always change my layout if it doesn’t work. I have, however, swapped over to a 0.7 pen so my writing might not be small enough. If anyone knows of a decent fine pen which you can use Tombows or Mildliners over the top of, let me know in the comments!
If you’re new to bullet journaling and have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. And, if you have a must see blog, YouTube channel or Insta account which you want to share, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. If you are worried that my gorgeous Webster’s Pages TN is going to sit unloved on a shelf collecting dust, don’t be – it’s now full of my creative journals!