12 Feb Self-care made easy in 2019 (Part 2) by Dr Lil Jedynak
‘The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.’
Have you ever wondered if writing in a journal could be beneficial to your health and wellbeing? Or perhaps you’ve tried journal writing for a while but lost touch with the process?
If you’ve ever written in a journal you’re in good company. Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, Herman Miller, Vladimir Nabokov, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf all kept journals.
I became interested in journal writing way back in 1992. I’d read a book called, ‘The New Diary’ by Tristine Rainer and decided to give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Not that I was keen about diary writing at the time, but I did want to explore the idea of becoming a better writer.
I started the journal by writing short stories about my life, venturing back into my past. They weren’t particularly well-written stories but that’s the thing about journal writing. You don’t have to ‘write well’. I soon discovered that the most important aspect of writing in a journal was writing freely, spontaneously, in the flow.
This feeling of freedom became quite addictive (in a good way). At the time, I’d moved to the Adelaide Hills and had left a job that I’d had for nearly fifteen years. I was feeling a little lost in this new environment and at a ‘loose end’. Writing in a journal was a way of learning how to take time for myself, something I’d never been good at doing in the past. It was also a great way to think through things. It was useful to get problems out of my head and onto the page. It was kind of like having a personal trainer, coach or therapist on retainer.
I soon found myself writing in the journal about life in the Adelaide Hills and, to my surprise, feelings of disconnection and isolation vanished. I began to investigate all sorts of thoughts and feelings and even wrote poetry, something I’d never attempted before.
A strange thing happened. The days that I didn’t write in a journal didn’t feel as good in terms of my general sense of ‘wellbeing’ as when I did. Not that I needed to write in the journal everyday but I found myself missing it.
Journal writing is still, to this day, my favourite form of writing because it’s so free (and literally free!). There are so many ways to use a journal and if you’re keen to explore it for yourself then please join our new ‘Writing for Wellbeing’ Workshop on Sunday April 28th.
You can find all the details and book in over on our Events page. We’d love to see you there!