Everywhere you look there are articles and blog posts on how to relieve stress in our lives. We seem to be overwhelmed with stress, busyness, sometimes chaos and turmoil, anxiety or tensions, or mostly just “too much.” Too much of just about everything! Too much noise, too much stuff, too much activity, too much busyness, too much expectations and demands on our time and energy. Most of us fly through our days just barely getting from one exhausting event to the next.
For women, we are always running. Running through the hours, multi-tasking, trying to keep everyone alive and make sure everyone gets where they need to be, that they all have something to eat, clean clothes to wear, all of the homework done . . . . or any number of other responsibilities that we all have, just because we are women. And if you are a woman who has a family AND has employment away from home, it feels almost impossible to get a few minutes just to relax and dream. All that stress eventually causes a strain on your body, and your health suffers. I know because
I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve had all this miserable stuff going on almost all winter.
Of course, when I talk to my neighbors or friends at church, everyone tells me that whatever this stuff is that’s been going around this year just seems to hang on and hang on. I heard someone say just the other day that they felt like they had been sick with this stuff for the past three months! It seems to come and go . . . and unfortunately, it then comes back again, and again, and again. So perhaps all of this has nothing to do with being too busy, not getting enough exercise, not getting out in the fresh air and sunshine, and running from one event to the next, from one end of the county to the other on a pretty regular basis. But just in case, I decided to re-evaluate the role that stress plays in our daily lives and what I’ve discovered in the past that has been helpful. Just because it might be helpful to you, too!
One of the things that I learned a long time ago is that, even though we are all different, most people can relax and unwind a bit by being creative. Even if you don’t think you are particularly creative, you might surprise yourself and discover that you enjoy making things. Here’s a simple, fun, inexpensive, and really easy-to-fit-into-your-schedule kind of creative project. JUNK JOURNALS! Now I know that might sound kind of silly, but the truth is that just taking random bits and pieces of stuff and organizing them into a tidy little book actually has therapeutic benefits.
If you have ever put together old photos into a scrapbook, you might have found that just getting all of those old memories organized gave you a great sense of satisfaction. Not only did you get those photos organized, but now you know that they are stored safely for future generations – and one of the best parts for me, especially when I was working on OLD, old photos was that I was in charge! I could put those people anywhere I wanted them, and they couldn’t talk back! Well, maybe you don’t have those kinds of memories or issues with old photographs, but I’ll tell you that it was great therapy for me to tell all those people what to do!
But even if you aren’t interested in creating scrapbooks for your old photos, it is still fun to put together these pretty little junk journals. If you have even a little corner of your house where you can keep things available for cutting and gluing, that’s about all you need to get started. I made this journal back in January so the first few pages have a winter theme, but I’m working on new pages to celebrate the changing of the seasons and different experiences that I have throughout this year. Mostly I just use junk that is left over from other projects, including junk mail, old tags and receipts, bits and pieces of ribbon and lace, vintage buttons, and scraps of pretty paper.
If I am looking for something specific, I can always go online and find images for just about any season or subject I am working on – many websites have images that are free for personal use, and they are great resources for finding pictures of pretty much anything in the whole wide world! Here are the pages I worked on this morning while I was waiting for my girls to get dressed and ready for school. I just took a few things from my sewing room, some scraps of paper, and a couple of images I printed off the internet (and of course, a few vintage white buttons!) and cut and glued everything together to make something beautiful
You might want to try journaling for your health. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but even a few minutes each day to sort and organize through some tangible “junk” might help you navigate through the other “junk” in your life. I’ll be posting the pages of my journals as I create them, and even adding some free printables in case you want to make your own junk journal. I would love to hear how journaling is good for your heart!
Tomorrow I will post pictures and step-by-step instructions for making these two pages of my JUNK JOURNAL!