Beating overwhelm with lists and journals

Last year my life fell apart. I unravelled and it felt like my life crumbled around me. Yet here I am today, laughing and smiling and feeling like I can achieve anything. Of course, there are lots of factors that have got me here, but one of my new daily habits that has helped me in so many ways is journaling and list writing. Last year, I had to stop writing lists because I used them to beat myself up (I basically made them impossible to complete). It feels good to be able to use lists again to help me manage my days. However, I needed something more. That is where journaling has come in – a chance to write and explore my thoughts.


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Journals for mental wellbeing

Some of you may have seen earlier in the year on my instagram that I was given some journals as gifts. I have 3 separate journals and they each are good for different things. I was feeling overwhelmed by having so many so I have defined what I use them for and don’t use them everyday.

The Wellbeing Journal

This journal was developed in partnership with Mind – the mental health charity. I was so excited to receive this as it not only looks beautiful, but I know it is designed by people who really understand mental health. I have decided to use this journal as my book of positivity; my journey of recovery and wellness.

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The bright colours in the book make me happy and the ideas make me feel good so it is a journal I am using to write down my progress and achievements. A place for gratitude, success and happiness. This works really well as the book doesn’t have dates or even an order that needs to be followed. So if you are feeling like writing every day is too much, or don’t want to feel tied down by an order, this journal is perfect. Actually, I cannot sing this journal’s praises highly enough. You can buy this book on the highstreet and it is available online at Amazon – you can get it through this affiliate link.


I have another journal really similar to this one – My Little Book Of Positivity. Sadly, Paperchase are no longer stocking it. It has prompts, positive phrases, space to draw and space to write. As it is from Paperchase, it is beautiful and brilliant quality. It says it is a journal for happy thoughts and positive thinking and I am sure it would be great used that way. However, as this has a space to add the date, I decided to use it alongside my CBT. I have taken this book to most of my sessions so I can notes if I need to remember something. It also has my homework in, thoughts that pop up and things I want to work on. This book is all about positivity which doesn’t 100% fit with my CBT … I need to allow space for all the feelings. But I haven’t found it to be a problem. If the prompt says positive thoughts only but I need to jot down my anxieties, I just ignore it. What a rebel. I know that The Wellbeing Journal would also have worked really well alongside my CBT – I just didn’t have it when I started.


One Day At a Time

I was sent this journal by another grieving mum. Claire lost her daughter Phoebe at 4 years old. I cannot even imagine the weight of her grief. You can read her story and some of the amazing things she has done on her blog: Beyond the Roundabout. She received a copy of this journal as a gift and thought I would benefit from it too. How kind, right?

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This journal is full of beautiful photography. It guides you through the year. You could just use it as a diary (in fact, it calls itself a diary). However, it includes prompts for things you could focus on to help on ‘A year-long journey of personal healing and transformation’. At the start, it lays out some different ways that you could use the journal to help you. There are lots of different ways to use it and if I am honest, this overwhelmed me at first. I didn’t know which to pick. I wasn’t totally sure how to best use it for me. Then Claire said she was using hers to write in three things she was grateful for each day and that seemed perfect! An easy habit to pick up and something that would benefit me and move my thinking forward. I am sure I will be able to use more of the features throughout the year too as I heal more. I also don’t actually manage to use this everyday. I chose not to let that bother me. These journals are here to help me and now that I have embraced using them in the way that benefits me most, I am finding them hugely helpful. This is a space for me to focus on grief and healing – and that is what I would recommend it for. It is available on Amazon and you can get it through this affiliate link.


Journals for goals

My Best Self

Of all the journals I own (of which, as you can see, I own many) this is the very best. This journal turned my life around. It showed me how to achieve my goals which massively helped with my depression and anxiety. You could easily use this journal to work through mental health goals and as you can see, the end result of my goal is HAPPINESS!

I used this journal to figure out what to do about trying for a baby and my career. The two big decisions that I made in January. Anxiety and depression had left it impossible to unpick all of my thoughts and I felt totally overwhelmed and lost. I had no idea where to start.

That is the genius of this journal. It takes you from a big goal (for me that was feeling happy) and then takes you through a number of steps to break it down smaller and smaller. The initial work took me a couple of hours to set out and figure out the steps. Over the three months I used it, I adjusted these as I needed. It has a calendar page so you can set out each month and a wall calendar that is dry-wipe. This really helped me visualise where I was going which was hugely motivating. Seeing your progress mapped out makes it feel achievable.

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After setting out the 3 months (apparently, according to science, this is the best amount of time to plan goals) there are then pages for each week (13 weeks) to set out your daily goals (habits) and tasks for the week. There are then a page per day broken down into hours. Finally, at the end there is extra space for you to get creative. You can turn the back into your own mini bullet journal, use it for notes, doodles, thoughts, ideas etc. Basically this journal is all about breaking big tasks down into tiny steps.I had no idea how to make decisions, but this journal guided me through the process. My brother was so impressed by this journal he sent it to me from half way round the world. Now that I have finished my 3 month goal (and achieved it and more!) I am going to buy another. It is slightly more expensive than the others but it is worth every penny. If you want to start a business, change career, run a marathon, decorate your house, save £1000, pass an exam, become mentally healthy, this journal will help you achieve that goal. Of course you have to do the work, but the journal helps you break it into such small and simple steps, it all suddenly become possible. It is empowering … and REALLY exciting! When I searched to buy it, the price comes up in dollars but it works out at around £30. Slightly pricey but even this broke half-employed Mama thinks it is way worth the money. You can buy it through this link (it’s an affiliate link) and see some of the other products they have to help you become your best self.




So how am I actually using these to beat the overwhelm? Well, I’ve just purchased a new copy of the Best Self Journal to help me manage my time more effectively. I know that I will be able to work out a way to manage my day to day life much better if I use it to help me break down my tasks. Secondly, now that I know how I want to use the other journals, and they each have a specific purpose centred around my mental health, I feel like I have my own support system at my fingertips. Here’s to keeping up with life better in March!!


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  1. Great post, thanks. I started a journal last weekend (mainly to help me get through my to do list but also as a place to keep happy thoughts and progress to my goals. It’s definitely helped me feel more calm and get more done this week. I didn’t know about the 3 month thing for goals, I’ll bear that I’m mind, thanks


  2. All of the books look lovely! I’ve not tried journaling. I think I would find it hard to fit in writing something every day, so it’s good that there’s flexibility to use the journals in the way that works for you. #FamilyFunLinky


  3. Hi, journaling looks a great way to become organised and help you stay focussed and feel in control. I am very much a list person and would be lost without them #bloggersbest


  4. There are some fab choices here. I have seen some good gratitude journals too. I think juts planning and getting your thoughts onto paper can really help! Thanks for sharing with #bloggersbest x


  5. I’m so glad there is a solution that works for you. It’s rubbish feeling overwhelmed and having a system is crucial. I use a bullet journal style system. I gave it up last year because I didn’t really have any plans but I’ve started again this year because I felt I needed to feel a bit more organised again now I’m blogging more. The 3 month plan is interesting, I think I’d struggle setting a goal like this because i would want to constantly roll that 3 months so every month I had a goal in place. Suppose it’s about changing a mindset and keeping things simple!! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬ a very interesting post!


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