My birthday is at the end of May, so this was as good an opportunity as any to start my journaling journey in June. New year, new journal, new me! The summer mood inspired me to make my first theme very cheerful and what better way to represent summer than strawberries?

To get me in the mood to paint these pages I listened to a lot of music by Japanese composer, musical director, conductor and pianist Joe Hisaishi who’s known for creating most of the music scores in Studio Ghibli’s films. I also spent some time watching the 4-part documentary chronicling the creative process of the legendary Japanese filmmaker and Studio Ghibli’s founder Hayao Miyazaki. I highly recommend watching it, if you’re into that sort of thing, I found it very inspiring!

My monthly goals relate back to the health pages I included at the front of my journal, that define what health means to me, aside from the physical aspect of it. The little graph is a visual way of showing how happy I am with each area of my health. This method was inspired by the website that calls it the ‘health triangle’. The goal is to keep the triangle as big and balanced as possible.

While I like the idea of writing down positive affirmations or keeping a gratitude log, neither of those terms really resonate with me. Instead I chose just to call my version of it ‘daily positivity’ and leave it at that. The idea is to write down something nice about (or to) myself, to lift my spirits when reading it back some day.

As a little girl I always wanted to keep a diary, but consistently experienced failure. I still own some of my ‘failed’ childhood diaries and so many of the pages start with “dear diary, I’m sooooo sorry for not writing for so long”. The experience left me feeling guilty and discouraged for not being able to write daily “like a normal girl”. Little did I know that I would be diagnosed with ADHD several decades later.

Keeping my diary to a single line each day will help me stay concise and make it less of a daunting task to keep a diary. It’s important to set myself up for success and this way I maximise my chances of being able to enjoy the experience of keeping a diary!

Part of my health revolves around keeping a healthy sleeping pattern. I tend to wake up several times per night, usually to pee, and when I go to the bathroom very early in the morning I often don’t manage to fall asleep again. Keeping track of the times I go to bed and get up is one way for me to gain insight into how badly my sleeping habits actually are, so that I can address them with a healthcare professional if necessary.

The symptoms page is meant for a similar purpose. It’s tricky to just go off of the subjective feeling of how well I’m doing. It can be easy to feel like my health isn’t doing well while I’m in a bit of a rut, when in reality it’s really not all that bad. It’s also helpful to be able to relate some of my symptoms to things like the weather, how much sleep I got and if anything unusual happened throughout my day. Gathering data is my way of gaining perspective, because I’m a nerd.

Achieving my goals hinges on creating habits, so keeping myself accountable by tracking those is helpful. Colouring each little square not only gives me the satisfaction of achieving consistent behaviour, but also proves to be a very mindful exercise. I love picking up my pencils at night and carefully filling in this grid!

The mood tracker is my favourite page for this month. I felt really engaged with my art and creativity which made me really happy and the little painting of a basket full of strawberries came out so nice and cute. I’m proud of the result!