Why a Paper and Pen is all you need – Self-Care Journaling: 5 reasons why you should start.
By Kelly Trivedy a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education in Post Compulsory Education and Training and MA in Education NTU Alumni
Journaling? “But I am not artistic and I cannot draw or write well and I don’t have time.” It doesn’t matter (and it only takes a few minutes). It may just change your life.
I am here to tell you why a simple pen and paper can get you started on your journaling journey!
First and foremost, I am writing this blog as someone who struggled to journal, to begin with, and was hugely sceptical! Over the years, I have developed my love for journaling and it has helped me in so many ways, both personally and professionally. It has enhanced my mental and emotional well-being in times where I felt unstuck. It’s now a habit that helps me to look after myself and process my thoughts and feelings (both positive and negative).
Before I take you on my journey, I would like to introduce myself. I am Kelly Trivedy. A former student (twice over) and formal employee at Nottingham Trent University. I now work as an independent Academic Consultant, Author, Tutor and Coach. I loved my time at Trent, so much so that I am due to embark on Doctoral study at Nottingham Trent in January 2021.
Journaling became a part of my life almost by accident and it has been one of the best things to happen to me! Whilst I was studying for my Post-Graduate Diploma in Education, I was first introduced to Reflective Practice. Being a former law student and having the ‘I’ and ‘me’ taken out the picture completely in an attempt to ‘be more academic,’ I had forgotten how it felt to write in the first person and put my personalised journey at the heart. Hello, teacher training! This gave me the reality check that I needed at the time! I would spend hours with what I call ‘blank page syndrome’ and couldn’t physically bring myself to do it. I’d put all my barriers up and didn’t want to confront all the feelings I had building up. I decided to dedicate 10 minutes every night to this and within 1 month, I was hooked! You couldn’t keep me away from my reflective journaling. As I was training to be a teacher at the time, it helped me to reflect on how I felt when a lesson I had planned didn’t work out the way I thought or to use the time and space in my journal to come up with creative ideas. Most importantly though, it helped me to take care of myself and getting enough sleep, rest and restored my energy levels (studying and working can take its toll on health and it was my release and my way to gain clarity).
Here are my suggestions for how a journal can help you:
First and foremost, journaling gives you permission to pause. In a world where we are constantly on the go (physically and mentally), journaling allows time to think about your thoughts, your feelings and communicate these to help you visualise them. Remember, this journal is for your eyes only. It’s like having a way to off-load but also to think more clearly. Let off that steam through journaling to allow yourself to reach a sense of calm and put the never-ending task list on hold just for a few minutes!
Journaling is a way in which you can record your own history and look back in a few days, months and years and track your progress. I recently looked back on an entry I had written in 2018 and it was fulfilling to see dreams actualised as a reality, problems turned into solutions. It acts as a reminder for all your achievements, however big or small these may be.
Get creative. If you don’t like writing, you can draw, scribble or photograph how you feel. You have full ownership of how you use your journal. Make it something your look forward to and it will feel less like a chore. Remember when I said I just couldn’t get started? It was also because all the pressure I was putting on myself to write a polished and publication-ready journal – when this wasn’t the purpose of it! Do what works for you!
Journaling creates a positive mindset and nurtures your well-being; it allows you to let go. This doesn’t mean you won’t have those bad days from time to time, you’ll just be better at dealing with the challenges you face.
Did someone say new stationery? Who doesn’t love a new notebook and pens? Getting yourself a notebook that you enjoy writing in can also make a big difference. If you are like me when it reaches December, do you get excited about all the new notebooks you can buy for the next year? If this sounds like you – add this to your list!
Journaling changed my life in many ways, much more than I could have ever imagined, I now specialise in Reflective Practice for both students and educators and here are a few of the moments that I’d like to share personally with you:
- I started to take control of my feelings and any negative thoughts. My journal is a therapeutic act. I am now someone who cares less about what others think about me and own my journey!
- From the deliberation stage to putting a plan into practice, I launched my own business in 3-months (something which I could not have done without using my journal to record my challenges and actions!)
- Although I am still on my journey and have lot’s to learn, I am better at being okay when things don’t go to plan and using my journal to create new plans!
What can you do to get started on your journaling journey?
Adopt these 3 starting points:
- Review these journal prompts and pick one
- Put some music on, any genre that you find relaxes you, here is a great Spotify playlist!
- Make it a habit and incorporate it into your daily routine
I hope that you find journaling as helpful as I do. Give it a go and enjoy!
Share your journaling pictures with me, I’d love to see on Twitter and LinkedIn.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness