A journal can be used to find your voice, to share your thoughts, emotions, feelings,
ideas, inspirations, reflect, explore possibilities and rant.
A journal can be your best friend, a confidant even your therapist, or your supporting
self where you pose questions to your mind, body and soul, understanding yourself
There are many ways you can use a journal and all is individual. There are those
who like to write and document their day. There are those who write poems, doodle
They can be written in beautiful journals or in an old scrap book. Personally, I have a
few different books, note- books, art paper and even my phone and lap top.
Sometimes recording a poem helps to integrate the meaning, sometimes all that is
needed is the process of writing.
Sometimes, it is for myself, sometimes it is an idea to share. All relevant as what we
write is from ourselves and it is never wrong. Sometimes, of course it is best to keep
private to reflect on and to allow to germinate and grow into the idea thought
emotion, plan, future you desire.
Following are some examples if you are new to journaling to try
- Create lists
- Draw adding words
- Poems that rhyme and don’t rhyme
- Drawing cartoons with captions
- Music, lyrics, rap
- Mind maps
- Letter writing
- Prayer writing
- Mind maps
- Dream writing
The way you set up your journal is up to you.
Below are some ideas:
- Design the outside with your name and things that you like
- The first page write/draw the year adding your dreams and intentions
- Use a double page; left for drawing the right for adding words
- Date the page
- Title the theme
I like to have a beautiful journal for my thoughts and musings, where poems may
appear or just a documentation of my thoughts about the day. I have an art book
where I express emotions that have no words yet, through art, collage. This
stimulates the subconscious and adding prose and words becomes easier. For
ranting I use a note- book where I can write unedited and unashamedly then tear it
up and symbolically throw away the chatter in my mind. If it is something that needs
attention whilst I am on the lap top I will open a document and write without stopping
to read. Sometimes, I save it for later or sometimes I delete.
As one of my clients says,
‘when you print it out on paper you see it in black and white for what it is, as
sometimes you cannot see it because the mind is so cluttered with other stuff.’
‘Once I write it down, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel
I can breathe again.’
Christina is an author and Writing for Wellbeing practitioner, using the power of writing to help people feel better from the past and re-create their lives. Christina uses expressive writing techniques such as poetry, metaphor, journaling and unsent letters. She combines scientific knowledge with her own and other’s experiences of how expressive writing can assist with psychological and physical healing.
Christina writes and runs workshops and works one to one for non- profit organisations and her private practice. She has used these techniques with cancer patients, MS and ME sufferers and is currently running a course at Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS trust. Christina is researching how early childhood trauma impacts our mental and physical health, through the lifetime and how ‘writing our story’, can help re-create our lives. Her background is in counselling and psychology and works freelance as a teaching assistant in primary schools.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ― Anaïs Nin.
From the AGM we held a few weeks ago, the very talented Kurly created an impressive rap/poem summarising our work of the last year.
Home Grow -Edible Resilience for communities in Birmingham
Responding to the struggles that people have been facing due to Covid 19 and the lockdown, Spring to Life’s Mother gardens project received funding from The National Lottery and Heart of England Community Foundation, to support people to grow food and develop garden spaces at home as a way to aid positive mental well-being, stay active and connect with others.
Being a network, Mother gardens project is working with a number of organisations and food growing initiatives from around the city to deliver this scheme. These groups and their sites are Mother garden hubs which will offer households in their own localities advice, plants and seeds, and opportunities to connect with their community.
During the crisis of the last six months, we have seen a sharp increase in people’s interest in gardening and nature. With a large majority of people stuck at home, people have turned to their gardens as a space of comfort to help manage their well-being. We have also seen an emergence of a culture of solidarity with people in communities looking out for one another. The Mother gardens project aims to take advantage of these two new trends, through the ‘Home Grow’ scheme.
As part of this scheme we also aim to help people connect with other green spaces out in the community run by these local mother garden hubs. These connections between community groups and households then have the potential to last beyond the lockdown.
The best way to register/get involved is to get in touch with your local hub:
Ladywood & North Edgbaston- Eat Make Play
Handsworth, Birchfield, Perry Barr, Aston, Wilson Green, Wilton – Vegan Vybes Earth Gardens
Kings Heath – Highbury Orchard Community
Bournville, Stirchley – Kushinga Community Garden
Sparkhill – Springfield Allotment Earth School
Shard End – Shard End Community Project
Smethwick – Birmingham Community Solidarity
These three organisations are running separately funded home growing support projects, but are still part of the Mother gardens network:
Stirchley – Let’s Grow Together & Fruit and Nut Village
Northfield, Frankley – Allens Cross Community Garden
Firs & Bromford, Hodge Hill – Greener Cleaner Firs & Bromford
If you do not live in any of these areas and are interested, please get in touch directly. Check out contact details on flyer below.
We also wish to invite any keen gardener or other community gardening project to sign up as a mother garden and join this network, to share and receive resources and materials.
Mother gardens is a Spring to Life project developed in 2014 promoting mutual aid through the sharing of plants, seeds and resources. Click here to find out more about the wider project.
Get in touch to receive support to home grow or to be mother garden.
In with the Trees
This summer and through the autumn to winter 2020 we are providing ‘restorative’ sessions for 11 – 13 year olds following any trauma they may have experienced due to Covid and lock down.
In with the Trees is part of a wider programme funded and supported by Living Well UK (0121 663 1217), where each child is allocated a therapist who designs a bespoke programme with and for the young person. Options for sessions include Sports, Writing for Well-being and Nature Therapy.
In with the Trees are our Spring to Life sessions run as one off sessions aimed at young people who would like to explore nature and together we will find out what we can learn from trees!
Trees grow from tiny seeds, into saplings, into young trees and finally into huge strong structures. They survive out in all weathers, seasons and withstand many conditions.
By attending the ‘In with the Trees’ session we will help the young person to consider their own qualities, identities and strengths which all contribute towards restoration and recovery.
In with the Trees – A Nature Therapy Session
Trees stand up in all weathers ‘come rain or shine’. We will meet the young people at the entrances of Highbury Park, Kings Heath, or Deers Leap Wood, Edgbaston, and take them on an experiential journey around a nature area. Taking time to reflect and notice the environment and compare ourselves to the qualities trees have.
We will notice nature’s patterns, search for things, make nature art, start a personal journal, learn to breath and relax, share stories around a camp circle. The young person can join in with as much as they feel able to.
If you want to know more call Philippa Allenby on 07967 119 839.
In response to the limitations of the Covid pandemic and lockdown we have created videos for people to benefit at home from our well-being work.
In addition to these, we have been working with Living Well Consortium, adding to their online presence of therapy resources in their Therapy Room, which include a range of videos from different organisations teaching anything from anger management, virtual fitness and well-being, to dance movement therapy, as well as more Spring to Life videos. Check these out in the Daily Well-being practices section found here.