I’ve never actually had to need an excuse to covet stationery, I just love it anyway! However it does actually have some very useful functions that make it a powerful aid in self care.
So here are just 3 of the ways I think Stationery can help with self care.
1. Journaling and Planning
In my own life I use my notebooks to help plan my weeks and write down and develop ideas I’ve had (I don’t find it easy to use my phone for these quick ideas as I find that actually manually writing something down helps my brain analyse and expand on the information more than a typed note).
Having used notebooks for these purposes pretty consistently for about 5 or 6 years has also meant that I have a really helpful resource to look back on, pick up on ideas I had back then to work on now or just see what was going on at that time in my life.
This act of planning and committing my ideas and thoughts to paper is one of my forms of self care and a notebook and pen is one thing I always have with me wherever I go.
More ways to incorporate self care into your notebooks might include:
- Tracking healthy habits.
- Planning your week or month - this helps keep overwhelm levels down and allows you to get organised and allocate time for positive self care activities.
- Analyse what you were grateful for this week.
- Note down your favourite recipes or ones you want to try.
- Do a day de-brief
Self care and journaling work well together with potential benefits including:
- Helping you work through your emotions and keep perspective about an issue or event.
- Allows you to express yourself in a healthy and positive way.
- Allowing you to track your progress or goals.
- Allows you to mindfully record or analyse your weeks.
- Committing your ideas and aspirations to paper.
- Expressive writing (like used in journaling) is shown to lower blood pressure, improve your liver health and strengthen your immune system.
- Improve your memory and cognitive processing.
- Mood boosting and calming.
- Hand writing in itself is very beneficial too and activates the brain in different ways to when we type write.
- However keep your journal entries light and brief as research has also shown that focusing too much on recording your every mood, feeling or daily events can make us live "too much in our own heads". It can also allow us to wallow in heavy emotions rather than resolve them.
While it is always generally better to connect with people face to face for the most social benefit, these last few years have shown us that this isn’t always possible.
There are also many people who can’t use instant messaging, video calls or texts - for reasons including:
- The financial cost of being “online” or the lack or slow speed of WIFI/Data availability in their area.
- A disinclination to get involved with what can be a very needy, overwhelmingly connected world, where messages and emails are expected to be answered instantly.
- Being intimidated by the technology.
While there are many benefits to social media and instant communication, it’s a mistake to not also consider the negatives when it comes to connection.
- The insatiable demand of endless messages, emails, chat requests and video calls - all of which expect an instant answer. This doesn’t allow you time to think, to actually formulate a good, well thought out response or message and is certainly not very relaxing or good for the soul.
- Instant communication might be speedy and efficient but it is also impersonal and not actually that private or secure.
So, if I can’t meet face to face, my second favourite means of connection with family and friends is through using letters, cards and parcels of treats.
It’s a slow method of communication that both sides find rewarding, relaxing and connection boosting.
It also takes away the stress of having to reply instantly and allows me to slip chocolates, paper confetti, magazine snippets or photos in with the letters to make it even more personal and special.
Connection with others is so important with studies showing many benefits including:
- Keeping our brains active and healthy - Research has found that staying connected with friends and family helps keep our thinking skills and memory sharper.
- Lower rates of anxiety and depression amongst people who feel more connected to others.
- Potentially lengthens our live-span - A lack of social connection can be as bad for our health as smoking and high blood pressure according to one study,
- Stronger immune systems - a weird but true benefit of greater social connection.
- Combatting loneliness - which is very detrimental to our mental and physical health and is actually at epidemic levels in many countries.
3. To decorate our spaces with cheering or beautiful things
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful” - William Morris
Stationery, in the form of postcards, prints, flyers or stickers, can be used in an almost infinite amount of ways to decorate and brighten our homes and workspaces with beauty, empowering messages or self care reminders.
In the last few years the variety of postcards, stickers and mini prints has exploded and also become much more affordable.
You can now find designs with positive messages, self care reminders, beautiful landscapes, cute illustrations and everything in between so there will be something perfect for brightening and cheering your space - whether it’s your living space, work space, laptop or water bottle.
So although stationery might just technically be attractive paper and card, it can also be a useful tool to incorporate in your self care routines, make connecting with people even more enjoyable and elevate your living spaces to the next level. So those are all pretty good reasons to start making use of that stationery hoard!
Or you can browse my shop here
Sources and Resources:
Age UK - social connections and the brain - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/staying-sharp/looking-after-your-thinking-skills/social-connections-and-the-brain/
Journaling for Mental Health - https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1
Social connection boosts health - Psychology Today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/202003/social-connection-boosts-health-even-when-youre-isolated
Writing to better health - Intermountain health care - https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2018/07/5-powerful-health-benefits-of-journaling/
Benefits of writing by hand - Universal Publishing - https://upub.net/blog/benefits-of-writing-by-hand/
The Good and the Bad of Journaling - Psychology Today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201309/the-good-and-the-bad-journaling