Hi everyone! Mary and Georgie here, your Welfare Officers, we wanted you to have a journaling resource for you to use when things are getting a bit overwhelming.
Sometimes it’s good to have a brain dump and get your feelings down on paper. We both love to make a list and get things written down, it can really help to clear your head! We hope you give writing it all down a go and find it helpful. Have fun and remember no one is judging you! Handing over to the Student President Poppy for all her top journaling tips!
Today’s theme prompts you to write it all down, but why? Writing things down, especially about something causing stress, has been proven to positively improve health. So much so it even has a name; Scriptotherapy. Scriptotherapy has a fairly loose definition because there are so many different ways to do it, but essentially it’s using writing as a means to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.
According to Dr. Sheppard B. Kominars who wrote ‘Write for Life: Healing Mind, Body and Spirit Through Journal Writing’, putting pen to paper and writing your thoughts down help you to change the problem itself and reframe it. By making the problem physical in the written form, your brain sees it more clearly. We are more used to problem-solving in this way, which I think is pretty cool.
If you’ve never journaled before or struggle to keep it up, don’t worry. Most of the time when we’re feeling ok, we don’t naturally gravitate to keeping on top of our self-care but being aware of different ways to keep it up can be really helpful!
My first tip is to always try and make sure you have a space to sit down and write, if your desk is a mess then it often demotivates you. Clear 5 things off from your desk when you finish working, even if that doesn’t clear the whole thing you’ll still have more space than you did!
I recently bought myself a laptop stand which I can use as a moveable desk, so I can go and get cosy in bed with it on my knee or even outside to sit and write about my day.
The easiest way to journal is to just splurge all your feelings out onto a page. This is often called free-writing. Just getting things out of your head can make your mind feel calmer. If you want to take it that one step further then I would really recommend the printable sheet at the end of the post which was provided by Anne, one of the the University's Counsellors. The great thing about Anne’s free-writing worksheet is that it encourages you to really get stuck in and actively process your brain dump, so that you walk away feeling like you’ve gained more knowledge about yourself.
Illustrating how you feel
An interesting way of interpreting this prompt is by creating comics or illustrating. Beck Carlton a.k.a Bear Patrol does a really good job of illustrating their feelings and talks openly about how this helps them process their emotions. If writing isn't your thing, why not try expressing your feelings in this way to get them down on the page?
Writing a poem
Writing poetry is a great way to get your feelings down onto paper. It feels creative, you can follow certain rules to keep your mind on track, and at the end of it, you have a new piece of art. Poetry can be wonderful for capturing how you felt in a moment or expressing a certain feeling, whether that be joy, anger, sadness, or gratitude. It can also be a way of writing how you’re feeling about something without getting too deep. Utilising metaphors and symbolism can be a great pathway into feeling your feelings, if that's not something you're used to or feel comfortable with.
Write a letter
This has always been one of my favorite ways to write things down, whether that’s to an idol, someone who’s not in your life anymore, an imaginary friend, or even yourself! Sometimes sitting to write a letter can make you feel like the practice has more purpose. An added bonus of this method is that you can also choose to send it if it’s part of your healing process. We live in a world where we can instantly message people 24/7 and sometimes taking a step back from that and going a little more old-fashioned means a lot to the person who receives it.
One line a day
A recommendation from one of half of your Welfare Officers, Georgie, is using the 'one line a day' method. By writing down little snippets every day, it becomes quick and easy to build a habit of writing. On top of that, once you’ve done a whole year you’ll be able to see how much you’ve changed in that time, identify seasonal behavior patterns, and more! Enter our Pamper Hamper competition to win your very own line a day notebook!
The 'Blooming Flower' method
Today's coping card talks about writing your feelings down and scrunching them up. Sometimes it can really help to write something down that’s frustrating you and rip it apart, to release some quick energy. Another way of achieving this is using the Blooming Flower method, which is actually adapted from a kids science experiment. All you need is some paper (thicker works better), scissors, pen and a small bowl of water. Start by folding the paper into 4 or more so that you can cut out petal shapes, much like when you make paper snowflakes. From here, you write a worry on each petal and fold them into the center. Once you place the flower in water it will slowly unfold to symbolize your worries melting away. For visual people, this can be a really helpful exercise and can also be used to practice gratitude by slowly meditating on each petal as it unfolds.
There are so many ways that you can write it all down and the best thing to do is find out which works for you!
Tag @leedsartsunion in all your Welfare Fortnight activities! Check out the What's On calendar for even more events here: https://www.leedsartsunion.org.uk/whats-on