Do you journal? We swear by the mindful habit that’s admittedly tough to start, but impossible to give up once you create the habit. Mindful mama and Nucifera founder, Meredith Baird shares a few insightful tips from a recent self-care workshop…
A few months ago I was lucky enough to co-host a workshop with Laura Rubin of AllSwell Creative and Hayley Feldman of Chez Tex. In this exquisite community of women, we were able to drink beautiful natural wine, enjoy delicious food and surround ourselves with florals by Fiore Designs.
Our theme was The Ripening: Non-Toxic Womanhood — Writing the Feminine into Being based on Laura’s writing workshop highlighting the cathartic and healing powers of journaling. For so many of us – and women specifically, our anxieties are our worst enemies, and the stories we tell ourselves don’t always portray reality. Taking our minds offline, and into the journal is powerful and these workshops provide a safe space for that.
I met Laura at the beginning of the year and immediately resonated with what she was doing. Using the journal as a tool to connect with ourselves mirrors much of what I hope people connect on with when using my products. Understanding that fulfillment is far beyond skin deep, and whether it be a journal, or a balm, or a delicious meal… these can all serve as tools to connect more deeply with ourselves.
In our digital world, something as simple as putting pen to paper can be profoundly life changing. Connecting the tactile experience of writing to our inner workings has a way of bringing things up and out more effectively than anything else. No one knows better how to facilitate this process and provide as safe space for you to flourish than Laura.
How To Start + Continue A Creative Journal Practice
There is no better time of year to start a journaling protocol than the frenzy of the holiday season. Here are Laura’s top tips to successfully start journaling this winter:
Take the pressure off and remind yourself that there is no third-party reader when journaling. You don’t need to be a great writer. Grammar, punctuation, originality—none of it matters in this context. I have yet to find a caveat about the quality of writing in any of the scientific studies I’ve read about the positive effects of journaling. It’s about the act of doing, rather than the output. What’s more, letting yourself create without self-judgement is an incredibly freeing experience. Gently notice when criticism sneaks in as you’re writing. Recognize it and then let it go because it’s neither needed nor helpful.
Choose your tools based on what feels good. It’s great if you want to use an AllSwell notebook, but ultimately I want you to pick what works best for you. What size notebook? What kind of paper (lined, unlined, graph?), writing implement (ballpoint, ink or pencil)? They’re small factors, but by claiming your tools you’re more likely to use them regularly, and the more consistently you journal the more benefit you derive from the practice.
Take note of when it’s easier to access your own creative flow. What time of day do you feel most inspired and have the bandwidth for some self-care? I tend to journal twice a day—morning for visioning or free-writes and evening for lists and “brain-dump” processing. By showing up for yourself at the same time on a consistent basis, you’re establishing a habit, encouraging creativity and committing to the powerful experience of putting pen to paper.
Use inspiration anywhere you find it. Not sure what to write about? Grab a book of poetry that resonates with you (some of my go-to’s are Mary Oliver, Jim Harrison, Joy Harjo and Hafiz), flip open to a random page and use that poem as a prompt. What does it bring up for you? How did it make you feel? What does it make you think of? And don’t get hung up on doing this activity correctly. Feel free to interpret this suggestion and make the exercise your own. Part of the process is how you interpret it.
Short on time? That’s okay. Just a few minutes is a great way to begin. For hesitant newbies I suggest what I call the 4 x 4 x 4. Journal for four minutes per day, trying to do it four days per week, and aim to stick with it for four consecutive weeks. Some days you will likely roll right past the four-minute mark and keep going, sometimes you may only jot down a quick gratitude list. And if you fall off the wagon, please don’t beat yourself up! Journaling guilt is unnecessary. Just open up your notebook and try again.