Old school journaling will always be my first love but the new school hybrid of workbook in journal form? That’s my current love affair; providing I can get my hands on one based upon wellness practices but NOT unnecessarily preoccupied with goal-setting and achievement. I’m still searching for a magical mash up of workbook, journal, and planner all in one delicious tome of bindery so if you make one or know of one, please reach out. In the meantime, this Self-Love Journal from Switch Research was placed in my path recently. I was invited to participate in a mental health fair earlier in the month and encountered a short stack of them offered at a provider’s booth. I rendered the stack one shorter.
If you are one of those folks who tends to hit it and quit it with self-care journals, this might be your reset revolution. This is a thirteen week journal. That’s it. Not a year, not half a year. A short and sweet 90 days, so a relatively short term commitment. By the time you get tired of it, you’ll be done. The exercises are one page per day, with a half-page of reading and a half-page of writing — just a few minutes of doable. There is extra space for free writing as well but there is no overwhelm with this bite-sized presentation in an oversized book. I got the hardcover version, which is slightly larger than your standard spiral-bound notebook but I confess it makes it much easier to write in it if you like to curl up in an easy chair like I do.
You’re wondering how quality content is possible, or maybe how much quality work might be accomplished with the aforementioned brevity so I’ll answer both with one word: distillation. You know those folks who use 500 blabber words when 50 well-curated words would be more effective? I’ve owned their journals before. More words does not always mean a deeper dive. The ditches along the wellness road are littered with abandoned half-finished journals for this reason. Too much is worse than not enough, especially when the point is to inspire something to come forth from the user. I’m probably not going to plumb my own depths if I’m numbing out on too much input or the presentation is too daunting. With this journal, you can breathe. You can hear. You can think. Simplicity is potency.
There is a digital version if you prefer screen over page. I find the sensation of writing on paper to be soothing because it engages an additional sense (touch/vibration) but I do get the whole Paperless is next to Godliness vibe as well. If you finish your thirteen weeks and want more there is also a Self-Talk Journal available from the same researchers. I haven’t tried that one yet but a quick online inspection yields at least the confirmation of the same clean, minimalist formatting. The website also indicates a portion of each purchase is donated to mental health charities. I was stymied by the additional discovery of a very liberal satisfaction guarantee in which one might get a full refund. I don’t know how satisfaction with confidence and silencing negative self-talk is measured in such circumstances but more power to all parties.
I definitely recommend the Self-Love Journal, especially if you believe you hate journaling. Although I have no behavioral health credentials of any kind, I can see how this would be palatable for folks with ADHD or other struggles with focus and attention span. The print is large and easy to read for eyes of any age. The terminology is simple and easy to digest. For the crazy-busy, you can fit this in and it penetrates. If you are a doodler there are tons of white spaces for you to swizzle, swirl, swath, and scribble. If you’re wordy, same; generous margins and light color scheme, so the entire page is fillable even if you wanted to cover the illustrations. A free bookmark was also included with the perennial maxim What we think, we become. Every time I see it that particular neural pathway is reinforced. That’s subtle and powerful, folks.
I’m obviously not finished with my 90 days yet but if my convictions about the journal change significantly between now and then I’ll come back and update. Until then, I’m not eligible for my money back because if it works for even one day it can work any day, and it has worked well thus far. Any amount we manage to love ourselves more makes the world a better place and the humans within it more well. That’s all I’m really here to do — help with all of that. Perhaps this journal will help you too.
Be well, friends.