During the unpredictable weather of the winter and spring months, it can be difficult to find engaging and satisfying activities to spend your time on. But, whilst the weather may keep you indoors, it provides the perfect opportunity to start a new hobby - journaling.
A great hobby, journaling can have a positive impact on your mental health, especially during the colder, darker months. It helps you to lower stress levels of everyday life, travel back to your happiest memories, and feel empowered to look upon your past with fondness and joy.
Journal your Way
Journaling is an activity that is entirely personal to you, there is no right or wrong way to get started. The objective is to inspire creativity, increase vitality, and above all to enjoy yourself!
Play to your strengths - if you find peace in writing, start by putting pen to paper and writing your story longhand. You may find that once you fall into a rhythm you’ll find it hard to stop! Or if you find writing for long periods of time tiring, you could try typing.
If you’re a more visual person, try scrapbooking as a more colourful and creative way to share your story. Use old photos, tickets, recipes, postcards - whatever you want. These physical momentos are a prompt for the stories to unfold.
Perhaps you find speaking out loud the best way to get down your thoughts. Hearing someone speak about their lives can be a very special experience and seeing them on video even more so. You don’t need expensive equipment - digital cameras and smartphones are more than good enough to record your memories. There is also a range of apps out there designed to catalogue your memories in video or audio format.
Try out lots of different techniques to find out which one - or ones - work best for you.
Get The Family Involved
Journaling is a brilliant way to bring your family together and work together on a project that you can all be proud of, a book of memories that your family can keep for years to come. It’s important to make sure you include pieces that you want people to remember, such as favourite recipes that they can recreate, or your favourite song that will always remind them of you.
Revisit key milestones in your life with your family - even the tiniest detail which may seem minor to you could be fascinating to your loved ones. Who was your best friend at school? Where were the best places you went on holiday? What was the name of your first pet? Sharing the memories that shaped your life can bring you closer together, help your family to understand you better, or even help you reconnect with the person you used to be.
Enlist the skills of your children and grandchildren - someone tech-savvy may be able to help your with an audio recording, whilst an art-lover will be able to help you to create beautiful, colourful scrapbook collages.
The therapeutic benefits of journaling go beyond just a hobby. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal believes that journaling has a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Spending time immersed in your positive memories can increase happiness, keep the mind working, and cultivate an appreciation for life.
The act of writing is a powerful stress reliever. Seeing your thoughts down on paper can help you to organise them and see more clearly. Writing can not only ease stress but also further boost your immune system, which will help your body to cope with further stress. Keeping a record of your fondest memories preserves them and makes sure they stay vivid in your mind.
Take Your Time
There is a reason both “journal” and “journey” are derived from the same word. Creating a journal of all your memories takes time - no need to rush. The more detail that you get down, the more vivid the picture will be for your friends and family when it’s read back.
Focus on getting the stories onto the page - you can add, remove, edit and change your journal as you go. Organise your journal chronologically, by topic, by person, or however you like.
Journaling is a jigsaw. Don’t worry about ordering the pieces right away, they will all eventually fit together to create the full picture.