This Wellness Journal Even Worked For Me, A Writer Glued To Her Computer All Day

I bought my first-ever wellness journal at the San Francisco airport a few months ago. I was optimistic that a diary full of whimsical, thought-provoking prompts would provide some scaffolding to my day-to-day wreckage. Unfortunately, that innocent booklet couldn't quell my destructive NYC writer lifestyle (working on the computer, eating at the computer, swearing at the computer...). It now rots away, neglected and ignored, in my bedroom. Despite not hitting it off with my first journal, I still wanted to give the medium a try — lo and behold, I now find myself jotting away in my second-ever (and Ordinary Habit's first-ever) wellness journal For Now: A Journal For Ordinary Moments."

We normally run to the female-founded craft retailer for remarkable puzzles that dazzle as much as they soothe the mind (and fund female artists). But today we'll focus on its newest release. This 120-page journal designed to slow your roll hit the market just last week and my doorstep soon after (compliments of the brand). While this was only a five-day experiment, it was enough time to get me hooked on For Now's peaceful yet compelling prompts and introduce a little mindfulness into my schedule.

What is a wellness journal?

Wellness gets a lot of buzz these days, and apparently encompasses everything from skincare to candles. But per the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is "the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health." From what it sounds like, the practice has three mental prerequisites: intention, self-awareness, and commitment. Some are designed to be used over a set period of time, like three months to start a new habit, and others are more freeform. While some provide an identical format every day (goal setting and tracking, or a place to write daily gratitudes), For You is more freeform. You'll often find prompts asking unconventional or abstract questions — instead of "How was your day?" the For Now journal inquires "What brings you warmth?" and "What feels like home?" Such original questions drive focus, spark introspection, and coax your brain into mindfulness mode. You stop and reflect on the aspects of life we busy bees often forget about and experience a rush of gratitude. At least that's what it does for me.

[The journal] represents an easy way for people to slow down, turn inwards and prioritize their mental health through tactile daily rituals.

ordinary habit representatives
Photo courtesy of: Alexandra Polk
My Cornflower Blue journal fresh out the bag.

What makes this wellness journal different?

It's only natural for Ordinary Habit to infuse its unordinary artistic perspective into its first-ever journal. I notice an emphasis on drawing, the five senses, and imagination on each page. The numerous questions about smells pique my interest the most. But, from what I see on the market, it's pretty normal for wellness journals to not be so normal — they have philosophical quotes, drawings, different individual page formats, and the like. You also can start anywhere you want, and there are no rules about how often you have to do it.
Every page keeps me on my toes, which is most likely why, at the very least, I doodle in it once a day. One page has dotted lines, the next is completely blank, another page has a daunting empty box accompanied by a few lines, and the list goes on. Plus, there are no rules. I'd go as far as to say the journal is a tad unhinged. I asked myself, "Am I supposed to doodle here?" Soon I remembered it was my journal and I can use it however I'd like.
That's the kicker: yes, For Now's formatting makes a wacky Wednesday look like any given hump day, but it also caters to beginners. A mindfulness habit requires time and commitment — two qualities that conflict with a fast-paced lifestyle. But, the journal's weird assignments and anarchical vibe take off the pressure of production. Each page piles on enough intrigue to make you want to flip another. One thing is clear: this journal was made by artists and not by a corporation.

5 Days Later...

Truthfully, five days isn't enough to lock in a routine. But, it's enough for me to notice that I enjoy something. Have you ever started a hobby or walked into a class you thought you'd love and boom that voice in your head whispers, "Girl, this ain't it." Well, that voice never showed up. In fact, I found myself excited to write a new prompt each morning and completed nine in total. Do you know how hard it is to make a writer who writes for a living write more? I think the space for doodles keeps bringing me back. Gripping a pen cramps my hands, and I know people struggle with filling up a page with thoughts. So, it's lovely to be able to take a break with a drawing.
As for the destructive lifestyle, no drastic changes but certainly some minor improvements. My eyes love taking a break from the computer screens for about half an hour, and putting a literal pen to literal paper gives any writer an ego boost. I'm introspective by nature but the lightheartedness of the prompts (i.e. "Write about a word you love spoken out loud") prevents me from piercing the page with angsty, brooding thoughts. All in all, I'm definitely feeling a wellness habit forming...ordinary or otherwise. Oh, and my favorite word spoken out loud is indubitably.
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