Elisabeth Grover
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Category: Journaling

Journaling Your Way

In the last post, I looked at the basics of journaling your way and the process that can give such pleasure. Looking through others ‘Bullet Journals’ I have found lots of inspiration for spreads that resonate with me.

Weekly Spreads

Most of my spreads are weekly. The benefit of this kind of journal is that you can choose how you format it and I like to experiment. I have tried vertical and horizontal versions depending on how I feel at the time. I enjoy creating the boxes and thinking about the week ahead and how it will work for me. There’s something quite meditative about drawing the lines and lettering.

I feel envious when I look at others lettering as there are so many amazing accounts with beautiful lettering but then I remind myself that it’s the process and not the finished art.

Daily Spreads

At the moment, I haven’t got enough to write about in order to create a daily spread but when I start work again, I will use one. I have done this one as a practice to see how useful it would be for me.

Monthly Spreads

A monthly spread is good as it provides me with an overview of the month ahead. I tend to use a standard calendar type monthly and paint around it with my watercolours to create a little interest. I love the work of Little Coffee Fox and this is one of her monthly spreads.

Step Tracker

As part of my recovery, I have been measuring my step count daily. Having my step count in list form inspires me to continue on those days when I don’t feel like going out. It’s also good to see how far I’ve come.

I use a simple list form for my step tracker with steps, mileage and hours of sleep which I take from my Fitbit data.

The Mind Garden

I have a couple of pages for my thoughts and scribbles and I call it the Mind Garden. I have used some watercolour paint to create an interesting background and I sit down with this page when I have random thoughts.

Sometimes I use it as a Morning Pages kind of journal as I find it really helpful to write my thoughts and feelings on paper. There’s something about switching off from the laptop and the phone, finding a pen that I enjoy writing with and finding the space to write.

The Garden Sanctuary Goals

I have a few pages which I dedicate to my business goals. To separate the areas in my journal, I use Washi Tape so that I can look at the journal and immediately distinguish each part. Washi Tape is similar to masking tape but comes in a range of colours and patterns and is so pretty. For those in the UK, Susie B and Colour Splash Supplies have great shops on Etsy.

Values and Quotes

I love having a page of my favourite values on one page. It helps to ground me when I can surround myself with words that resonate with me. Quotes that motivate me are part of this page too with simple watercolour shapes.

Other Spreads

Pregnancy Spread – a month by month account to help visualise where you are on your journey. You can add your appointments to this and also news items or personal diary items that you’d like to remember. It’s a special time in your life and this is a great way of remembering it.

Birth Plan Spread – the power of visualisation to create your birth plan in your head has been shown to be hugely beneficial to your mental health. How about making a spread with all the aspects of birth you’d like to incorporate.

Birthing Affirmations – in the same vein, you could use your birthing affirmations in a spread.

Relaxation Spread – Ideas for self-care activities on one page.

Exercise Tracker – A log of the exercises you do in a week.

Over to You

I hope I’ve inspired you to get your pretty pens out and find a nice book to journal your life in. If you have missed my previous post about starting your own journal, you’ll find it by clicking here. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

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Creating your own Journal

My last post looked at bullet journaling as a new life tool. I have talked about the joy of writing things down on paper in previous posts and the enjoyment I get from creative journaling. Bullet journaling can be a hybrid allowing me to combine both of my passions in one notebook.

My last post looked at bullet journaling as a new life tool. I have talked about the joy of writing things down on paper in previous posts and the enjoyment I get from creative journaling. Bullet journaling can be a hybrid allowing me to combine both of my passions in one notebook.

Having said that, it is suitable for people who feel that art isn’t their forte too. A simple design or a printout courtesy of Pinterest can really help you in the early days until you work out what design you would like to use. A good place to start is with Boho Berry  as she has some great videos to watch. The original website is also good from the founder Ryder Carroll but personally, I find the system of symbols a little confusing. The joy of this kind of journaling is that you can make it fit your needs so if you are creative, you can paint some watercolours around your diary entries, but if you aren’t, then a list version will work equally as well.

Social Media

I enjoy looking at others journals and Facebook is a super place to start. My favourite group is Bullet Journal Junkies. Despite being US based and so the Etsy links don’t work for me (postage prices) and we don’t have a Michael’s (which sounds like my idea of stationary heaven!), the designs are great to look at and it’s nice to be part of a community of journal lovers.

I also belong to Bullet Journal Junkies UK and UK Bullet Journal Junkies which are also great for inspiration. If you put in Bullet Journal into the Facebook search box, you’ll find lots of choices to suit you – groups for beginners, professional people, artists and those groups where you share your spread for the week or month (your design).

Instagram is also a great place to search for inspiration. My favourite people to follow are:

Tiny Ray of Sunshine

BohoBerry

Show me your Planner

Pretty Prints and Paper

Bumble Bees and Ladybirds

Alexandra Plans

Roz makes Plans

Stina Journals

Show me your Bullet Journal

Little Coffee Fox

Page Flutter

and there are many more to look through. I like these accounts as I find them inspirational and I enjoy looking at other’s artwork. I am constantly amazed at the level of detail that some people put into their journal and it inspires me to try different ideas.

Tools

Notebook

You actually don’t need many tools in order to start but it’s fun to look around and buy some supplies that give you pleasure.  I have researched the various notebooks and the pro’s and con’s of each and I have bought myself a Scribbles That Matter dotted journal. You may wonder why dotted journals are the favourites of bullet journalists and the answer is that they offer some guidance without being too obtrusive.

Blank notebooks are clean and ready for your jottings but they can be difficult to keep neat and tidy. Some journal writers use squared paper but I find the squares too obvious. A happy medium for me is using a notebook with dotted paper. I love to put a few drops of essential oils on a small piece of kitchen towel and lie it in between the paper. This gives you a lovely surprise when you open up your journal and the smell is divine. I use Rosemary and Petitgrain oils as their scent really resonates with me but you can check out my other favourite oils in previous blog posts.

I love the Scribbles That Matter journal because the paper is so thick (100gms) and I can paint using my watercolours without any ink showing through on the other side, known as ghosting. The other journals of note are Moleskine Dotted Journals and Leuchtturm 1917  both of which come in lots of different colours and the reviews for these notebooks are great. The paper is thinner than the Scribbles That Matter so you may get a little ghosting but that will depend on the pens that you use.

 

Pens

I love trying different pens to see what I enjoy writing with. I have a selection of black writing pens:

Uniball Gel Impact – a broad pen which is nice to writing large amounts of journal entries.

Uniball Air – also broad nibbed and a good pen to write with.

Uniball Vision Elite – a medium roller ball.

PilotV Pen – a great disposable fountain pen but the erasable ink means that your writing with fade over time. Such a shame as I love writing with these pens and they come in lots of different colours.

And drawing pens for creating the diary boxes or drawing doodles. Both pens are filled with archival ink and waterproof so you can draw over your watercolours.

Pitt artist pens 

Sakura Pigma Micron 

Watercolours

Not everyone will use watercolours in their journal. Some may worry that it will make the pages buckle or the paint will show through the paper. I find that the Scribbles That Matter journal is perfect for this as the pages hold up to a generous amount of water and I like the slightly ‘lived-in’ look.

The paints I use are Kuretake Gansai Tambi  which are lovely paints and a great selection of colours (super price on Amazon too). I use the gold a lot in my journals as it has a lovely sheen to it.

There’s also the Winsor and Newton Cotman paints which are a great price too. You can mix and match these paints as the box allows you to buy half pans with colours you like, unlike the Kuretake set where the colours are set.

Give it a go

I appreciate that life is busy enough without creating your own journal, but this method of planning can really help you to slow down and take notice of the things around you that matter. Taking time out to create a page is a great way of making time for yourself, and the flexibility of the bullet journal allows you to make a planner that actually works for you.

In my next post, I will be looking at ideas for pages (or spreads) that you can try for yourself. Remember that making art is a process and you don’t have to show anyone your work. It’s taking time out for yourself that matters, not what the finished product looks like, so try it yourself and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Life Tools for the Journey

My last post described my story and I wanted to follow it up with another looking at the tools that have got me through.  Before I was affected by sepsis, I was an active person running my own business and coming to terms with the post-sepsis fatigue has been quite challenging for me.

Creative Journaling

I have enjoyed painting for many years but lately, it has been difficult to find time whilst establishing my business. My enforced rest has given me an opportunity to revisit my love and start creating again.

Initially, I could only do a little at a time from my bed but as time went on, I found it useful to stand while I painted. This helped me to start getting upright again and move gently but it also gave me immense pleasure to create.

I started small with little Moleskine watercolour books where I used watercolours to paint shapes of different sizes and colours. I was never going to win any art prizes with my work but, in a similar vein to the plethora of adult colouring books on the market, I found it mindful and calming.

I enjoyed watching the watercolours blend together and create patterns and I enjoyed looking at them the next day as the images changed.

Painting is something that we can all do if we let go of our expectations of creating a piece of art. It’s the process of creating can therapeutic, the gathering of supplies together – my paints, brushes, pens – and letting ideas flow.

This led to creating my own planners, also known as Bullet Journaling.

Bullet Journaling

There are times when I really wish I lived in the States! Whenever I mention bullet journaling to friends over here, they look blankly at me.

On a very basic level, a bullet journal is a planner that you create yourself.  The original idea came from a product designer named Ryder Carroll in New York and you can see the original work here.

I have always loved buying planners and trying them out for size, but they never quite fit my needs, the monthly calendar is in the wrong place or there isn’t anywhere to write my goals where I can see them. As I’m not doing much at the moment, I can adapt the calendar to my needs with this system.  I create the spread according to whatever is going on at the time and I buy the planner that fits in with this. I place a few drops of essential oils onto a kitchen towel and lie it between the sheets of paper so that I have a lovely scent when I open my journal.

I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at others bullet journals too. Although the original design is beautiful in its simplicity, there are some amazingly creative versions out there and I feel inspired when I look at the work. My favourites are:

Little Coffee Fox

Boho Berry

Page Flutter

Christina 77 Star

Alexandra Plans

Tiny Ray of Sunshine

and they can all be found on Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube.

I will be following this post up with one dedicated to bullet journaling for those planner-addicts who would like some more information.

Walking

I’ve always found an immense amount of pleasure in walking in nature. My goal during recovery was to make a trip to the local bluebell woods and I was thrilled to have made it in time to see the little blue flowers pop their head above ground. I am very lucky to live between two small wooded areas so I can choose which bluebell wood to go to. They both give me immense pleasure to walk through and enjoy the magic that is springtime.

The great thing about walking is that it really clears my head. Being outside in the fresh air surrounded by the wonders of nature is such an antidote to life. I used to go out very early in the morning with my dog Coco and walk for miles.  I would take the opportunity to catch up on my podcast episodes (Sprogcast ,The Cord and Dearest Doula ) interspersed with a little classical music.

Nowadays I take short walks with Coco and my family or I take a wander around town but these walks are just as good in a different way. I know that it will take time but that’s fine, I’ll go with it.

Onwards and Upwards

So that’s my story so far. I’ve found my inner strength during these weeks and I’ve reminded myself of the simple tools that are companions in my life no matter what happens.

 

 

Support During The Dark Times

Sometimes life can throw us curveballs and it can be difficult to navigate through these difficult times. It can seem like the pain will never subside and day after day you wake up with that horrible, dark sadness.

I listened to a podcast on my dog walk this morning and the presenter was talking about depression in relation to a cancer diagnosis. His openness prompted me to write a short piece today with a slight slant on how reflexology may be able to help.

Openness

The more open we are about our struggles, the better, and deeper, our conversations. This depth of dialogue can have far-reaching effects for those involved.

I am immensely proud of the people I talk to who are open and frank about their difficulties as I know it can be hard to open up and be present with that level of pain.

I find sitting with someone and holding the space for them while they make sense of the world around them can be very helpful. I’m not a therapist so I don’t employ any ‘techniques’ but I do enjoy listening and really hearing what someone is saying to me in these moments.

Cancer Support

In my reflexology journey, I have seen clients at the beginning of their journey with a cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, and moving towards the end when the care I offer becomes palliative and supportive.

Some of those who have been given the all clear find life difficult to cope with after such a difficult journey.

My therapy can help people in their dark times and a listening ear is invaluable in supporting these people and their families. Although it is hard to measure the efficacy of complementary therapies, and therefore research is problematic,  there is strong anecdotal evidence that reflexology can help with symptom relief.

Sometimes clients can feel that a treatment is helping without knowing what part is providing the relief. It’s like an inner knowing and that can be very powerful to the client.

Depression

Talking with my clients about their thoughts and feelings before offering a treatment can help promote a positive mental state. Feelings of being supported, and walking the road together for a period of time, can help relieve some of the symptoms of anxiety and overwhelm.

This article by Mental Health Daily  looks at the systems of the body that reflexology can help with when someone if suffering from low mood and/or anxiety.  Similar to studying the efficacy of reflexology in cancer care,  it is difficult to measure the efficacy with treating depression but this research study has shown that statistically, it made a difference

Life’s Challenges

Although these two issues may not affect you or your family, I’d like you to think back to times when life was challenging for you and what helped in your darker moments.

I know that having friends who will just listen and be present with me was immensely powerful. I also enjoyed walking alone with my thoughts, taking in the energy of the trees and being mindful of my surroundings really helped me. Looking up at the tree tops and listening to the birds, the crackling of the fire and the smell of scented candles.

Simple things.

I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts and ideas about what helps you to find that peaceful place in your heart so drop me a line in the comments below.