More stories

  • in

    15 Wellness Journals To Kickstart Your Year

    If being more present, more of a go-getter or hitting certain goals is your new year MO, you’re going to need one of these wellness journals to get there.

    Journalling is a powerful tool for wellness. It boosts your mindfulness by helping you reflect and stay on course. Journalling can help you achieve your goals, help you gain self-confidence and can even improve your writing and communication skills. Per Rochester University, it can improve your stress, manage anxiety and even help you cope with depression.

    Plus, research links journalling with boosted immune function, since journalers see fewer doctors for stress-related incidences. It also helps cultivate gratitude, which in turn leads to greater contentment and happiness with life.

    These wellness journals tick all the boxes and each is designed specifically to help you reach your goals, achieve greater wellness and cultivate inner peace. These are the 2024 wellness journals we’re loving.

    Wellness Diary by Typo

    This journal, which comes in a variety of hardcovers, is perfect for building and maintaining healthy habits. You don’t just use it to jot down your daily to-dos, either. Each day comes with a water tracker, and a brief reflection activity to fill out. Use it to track your mental health and see your gratitude grow.

    Wellness Journal By Arcturus Publishing  

    Use this embossed baby to record your physical and mental health accomplishments. You can record your daily fitness and health goals, set daily priorities and check in with yourself.

    My Wellness Journal By Melissa Christie

    This focused journal helps you tap into your hormones so you can harness their power. Learn more about your cycle, track its symptoms, note your meals, water intake and movement patterns. There are tons of prompts for reflections and making sense of things—an all-in-one health journal.

    The Manifestation Journal By Gill Thackray

    Manifestation is having its moment and you can harness its energy by learning to lean into what sets you on fire and how to manifest what you want. Learn about your fears and how to rise above them with this book, by mindfulness teacher and psychologist Gill Thackray.

    READ MORE: 15 Best Journalling Apps To Start The New Year With More Mindfulness

    The Anti-Burnout Journal By Bex Spiller

    You don’t need to start this journal on the 1st of January. It spans 12 weeks, and with it, you can learn about what causes prolonged stress and take charge of it. It spans 12 weeks with weekly lessons and challenges to help beat burnout, delivered through the pages of the journal alongside an online dashboard with lifetime access to video lessons in yoga, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition and breath work.

    The Wellbeing Journal By MIND

    This journal, created in partnership with MIND, the mental health charity, spans pages and pages of helpful, productive prompts that allow you to express yourself. Find colouring pages, drawing prompts and contemplative quotes within the pages and journal yourself to mental health.

    One Question A Day By Aimee Chase

    This five-year journal serves as a time capsule for your brain. Answer just one question every day and after a while, look back on this book and be taken by what your life looked like, what you thought, how you felt, how your world was shaped. Plus, when you’re faced with a blank page, it can be that much harder to pencil your thoughts. This book takes that intimidation away.

    READ MORE: 5 Morning Routines That Actually Work, According To Science

    Do It For Yourself By Kara Cutruzzula

    Made by creativity and productivity expert Kara Cutruzzula, this book is a go-getter’s manual. Find 75 thought-provoking prompts and work through the stages of getting going, building momentum and overcoming setbacks. It also encourages mindfulness through every word written.

    Life Balance: A Journal of Self-Discovery By Robie Rogge and Dian G Smith

    Finding balance is the MO of this reflective journal. In it, you can pose yourself questions like, ‘What threw me off today?’ ‘Am I off-balance?’, among others. A helpful place to touch base and slow down, mindfully.

    One Line A Day By Chronicle Books

    Take the work out of being mindful by writing just one line a day. This is for busy people who still would like to reflect, as well as for anyone else. It’s also great for looking back and reflecting on what was going on in years past. Capture your memories any way you’d like, using photos, drawings or paint. Each page is thoughtfully made for your creations.

    So Calm Fitness & Wellness Journal

    With this book, you can track your wellness but also set intentions, take note of what feels good and reflect on your goals, habits, meals and more. A helpful companion.

    I Am Grateful By Typo

    Creating more gratitude in your life can boost your contentment and happiness, per studies. This year-long journal helps you do just that with simple prompts that allow you to write, draw and express your feelings every day. It’s undated so could work at any given time.

    The Morning Journal By My Self Love Supply

    This hit Insta account, with over 3 million fans on Instagram, now has a journal for harnessing your mornings and taking the power of the day for yourself. Find gentle prompts to understand your needs, with reflective as well as planning pages.

    READ MORE: Are Wellness Shots With Turmeric, Ginger, Or ACV Actually Good For You? A Dietician Weighs In

    Becoming: A Guided Journal For Discovering Your Voice By Michelle Obama

    You’ve read the book, now use her smarts to direct your path with this voice-finding journal. Find inspiring quotes and prompts to help you discover your story. It’s a journal for doing the deep inner work and finding yourself through these reflections. A powerful tool.

    I Am Here Now By The Mindfulness Project

    By working through these pages, you can harness mindfulness and bring a new awareness to your senses, thoughts and emotions. The pages help you practise meditation with an audio track guided by internationally renowned mindfulness teacher Tara Brach.

    Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. More

  • in

    How To Reflect On The Year You’ve Had – And Prepare For The Year Ahead

    The end of the year brings a time to press pause and look back on your time in the sun. But learning to reflect on the year you’ve had takes a bit more skill than just writing down a few thoughts. We’ve spoken to Hilary Davies, Social Psychologist and Development Coach,  about how to structure your reflections in a productive way that brings about actionable results. “It is important to spend time thinking about the future to be clear about what we want to do and how we want to be. As we strategise for the future, we create an outline of what we are working towards, be it in our personal or professional lives,” says Davies. 

    Why you should reflect on the year 

    It’s a time to learn 

    “Firstly, reflection is a key component of adult learning, giving us the time to explore our lived experiences and understand them in retrospect rather than in the moment,” says Davies. “This often means we have more information and fewer emotions that may be influencing our responses.”

    It boosts self-awareness 

    “Reflection can also teach us about ourselves and increase our self-awareness, especially linked to emotional and subconscious influences. Reflecting on how we felt in the moment, what was driving that emotion or behaviour, and understanding our triggers gives us a greater ability to manage how we respond in future,” says Davies. 

    You’ll fine-tune a new mindset

    “Reflection on positive situations can create sensations of gratitude and well-being, which in turn have a positive impact on how we show up in the present,” says Davies. “Similarly, reflection on negative situations can help motivate us to create change in our lives. We often get stuck in repetitive cycles of behaviour and thought patterns that become automatic. Reflection can help us to take a step back from the “as is” and explore how we can be more intentional about what we do.”

    READ MORE: 11 Ways To Get More Energy When You’re Feeling Tired

    Reflecting 101: Your Guide 

    “The overall process for reflection and strategizing can be compared to planning a road trip,” says Davies. In this way, ask yourself probing questions that frame the year and you can start working forward from there. 

    Ask yourself questions 

    What did you enjoy? Was there anything you did not enjoy? What could you have done differently? Per a Harvard Business School study, three themes that shape what executives in business reflect on are failure, success and frustration. Tap into these themes in your reflections to uncover some truths that could help you shape your future. 

    Decide your new direction  

    If you compare a year’s reflection like you would a trip, you can strategise your moves, says Davies. For example, ask yourself where you want to go and what you’d like to do. Is it something new? What kind of information do you need to get to this new destination? How long do you plan on being there? Do you need a budget of sorts? 

    READ MORE: How To Really Harness Self-Care

    Plan your next steps 

    Now, you can break down your goals into bite-sized steps that will help direct your path. What would you need before embarking on this trip? 

    Change gears if you need to 

    “The most important part to remember is that once you are driving, you can decide to change your destination or the route to get there. In the same way, in real life you can continue the process of reflection and adjusting the strategy,” says Davies. “Reflection is a continuous process that helps us to optimise our decisions and behaviours in the moment so that you can get the most from whatever you’re doing.”

    Don’t hold yourself back 

    When you reflect on the year, be careful not to criticise yourself too much, cautions Davies. “We should not be overly self-critical – reflection is a learning opportunity, not a chance to beat yourself up. To do this, it is important to adopt a growth mindset,” says Davies. “If you find yourself being overly self-critical during reflection, think about what you would say to a friend in the same situation as you. Remember – we all do the best we can with what we have at the moment.”

    Look at things holistically 

    Whatever happened in the year, remember that things don’t work in isolation. Various factors influence the happenings in our lives and we only have a finite amount of resources. “If you feel like you didn’t achieve what you wanted to in one area, look at the big picture. Did you overachieve in another?” asks Davies. “The key is to remember to find balance. If your reflective strategy focuses entirely on work, be aware of how this may impact your relationships with friends and family.

    READ MORE: Enjoy Your Downtime (Without Feeling Guilty) In 3 Easy Steps

    Get realistic 

    When planning ahead and reflecting, it’s important to stay grounded and realistic. You want to strive towards things that you can achieve so that you don’t get burned out, says Davies. “Health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, are two of the most important life areas that often get overlooked as we focus our attention on other areas where we are seeking achievement or success.” Be mindful of how much time and energy you have.  Is it realistic to achieve everything in all aspects of your life?”

    Prepare for change

    Change is most successful if we’ve taken the time to prepare properly for it. If, say, your new goal is to ace a 10K run, prepare to make changes to your lifestyle to incorporate the training. “To train for the 10km run,  you may need to start getting up an hour earlier.  You may have to change our diet as we need more fuel,” explains Davies. “Understanding the future situation helps us prepare for the change we are about to make, both practically and mentally. Physical preparation helps us remove friction from the change – we know we need to get up earlier so we start going to be earlier, or we put the running clothes out the night before. Mental preparation is important so that we can manage any negative thoughts that create resistance to change. This is where mindset, agility and resilience are key in achieving our desired future.”

    Hilary Davies is a Social Psychologist and Development Coach, supporting people in their personal and professional development to adopt change, find purpose and fulfil their potential. She also specialises in Gender Transformation consultancy, addressing social barriers in organisations that limit women’s growth. You can find her at or on LinkedIn.  More

  • in

    Here’s How To Create A Morning Routine You’ll Actually Stick To

    Ann Stewart, Reiki therapist, Kundalini yoga and meditation student and mentor will be the first to tell you that she struggled to stick to a morning routine. It makes you feel amazing: you start your day strong and the rest of it is as productive. But come the next day, you’re exhausted, and the thought of hitting the snooze button is just so tempting…

    “For a long time I struggled to stick to my spiritual practices, even though I loved how they made me feel,” says Stewart. “We come up with all types of blocks to start our day the way we know we should. Some of the things we tell ourselves: I’m not a morning person, I deserve to sleep in, and I’m not feeling well today.”

    An inner power mentor, Stewart now helps other women empower themselves and achieve more. “A regular morning routine makes me feel more creative, focused, and my day flows without effort,” she says. “But it’s not always perfect – and that’s OK. When I miss a day, I just start again the next morning, but when I do skip I try to make quiet time for myself during the course of my workday,” says Stewart. 

    What’s a good morning routine?

    A good morning routine involves engaging in a healthful practice upon waking up. Science tells us a great deal about the benefits of waking up and having a morning routine. Successful people thrive by it. It can go a long way towards managing a healthy weight and leave you feeling focused and in charge of the day. Read on for Stewart’s tips to finally becoming a morning person.

    1. Just Begin

    The only way to change your current morning routine is to start creating new habits. The only way to create new habits is to actually start doing it. Not at the beginning of next week, next month, or next year, but now. Decide on three simple activities that make you feel more centred and connected to your soul. Reading, writing, meditation, and yoga will all create the types of positive changes you are looking for.

    2. Do it for 40 days 

    According to yogic teaching, it takes 40 days to change a habit, and 90 days to confirm that habit. Give yourself 40 days to make sure you set yourself up for success. If you skip a day, begin again at day 1. Make a challenge out of it and remember to have fun. Your subconscious, which directs about 60 per cent of your activities and responses by habit, has to get the message. By turning to your practice repeatedly day by day, choice by choice, the effects will start to seep into the deeper parts of your mind.

    3. Know your why

    Make a short list of all the reasons you want to create a new routine for yourself. Maybe it’s to gather your thoughts and become more centred. Maybe you want to incorporate exercise in your morning routine to make sure you actually get to it before you’re exhausted at the end of your day. Then list all the benefits you will receive by starting these new actions. This will help you during times when you don’t feel like it, and believe me, those times will definitely come.

    4. Keep it simple 

    When you first start, just keep your routine simple. Start by waking up 30 min earlier than usual. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon. Sit quietly for five minutes and then begin whichever activity you have chosen to engage in for the morning. If meditating for 30 minutes every morning feels impossible, start by committing to just three minutes instead. In just three minutes, you can have an effect on your blood circulation and chemistry.

    Making changes in our lives isn’t always easy, but it is possible. Remember to speak to yourself in a loving and compassionate way. Be patient. Working up to creating lasting change is part of the process and putting strategies in place to stick to your commitment will make it easier to achieve. More

  • in

    Want To Manifest Your Goal? Don’t Make These Manifesting Mistakes

    Want to manifest your goal? Welcome to the club. There are at least 8 million of us on Instagram and many more. And for good reason.

    Manifesting can be a powerful tool in helping you achieve your goals, whether that’s to run your first 21K, bag a promotion or find love. But many people feel that it’s about making a wish with all your heart and waiting for it to happen. Unfortunately, you’re not a Disney Princess. “It is impossible to manifest your dream partner who will make you feel alive and in love, while you are sitting on the couch, sobbing as you watch the Notebook, eating ice cream or drinking a bottle of wine, feeling sorry for yourself that you are single,” says manifesting queen and coach Nicola Loots.

    There’s actually a lot of inner work required for you to move from point A, the point without the thing you want, to point B, where you’ve reached your goal and are wrapped in that achievement glow. Here’s how to put in the work, avoid common manifesting mistakes and really move the needle.  

    Manifesting mistake #1: You’re feeling lack (and not abundance)

    “I often hear people so excited, inspired, and optimistic to start manifesting, but after some time, usually, when it is taking longer than they had expected to see results, they get despondent, disappointed, and start thinking that it’s not working,” says Nicola. “Manifesting is not about declaring what you desire and then sitting on the couch waiting for it to happen, but it is also not about working as hard as you can and hustling to control the situation either. Manifesting is a fine line between taking inspired action and knowing when to let go and trust.”

    To this end, it’s important to have an image of what you want that’s so strong you believe in it and start to act in the way you would with your goal in the palm of your hands. “When you are manifesting, your faith needs to be bigger than your fears,” explains Nicola. “You need to believe that it will happen, not on your timeline, but in divine timing and you need to be completely satisfied and accept that when it will happen is out of your control.”

    READ MORE: How To Save Money – And Why It Matters For Your Health

    Manifesting mistake #2: You’re not taking action

    Despite what it seems, manifesting requires a bit of action, kind of like casting a spell. Yes, there’s magic involved, but there’s also special ingredients you need to collect, and then you still need to say the words with intent. There are three main steps in manifesting, that we’ve covered extensively here and here.

    READ MORE: 15 Best Journalling Apps To Start The New Year With More Mindfulness

    Manifesting mistake #3: You’re blocking your own progress

    “Manifesting is about the law of attraction and the law states like attracts like,” says Nicola. “If you want to manifest something that makes you feel good, you need to start feeling good now, so that it is attracted to you.” If, for example, Nicola explains, “you believe that you always get hurt when you open your heart, that you cannot trust men, all of these beliefs are going to block you from receiving. You have to work on your mindset and beliefs in order to manifest.” To this end, Nicola notes that you may need to work with a psychologist or mindset coach to push through the barriers preventing you from attracting the good thing you’re looking for.

    READ MORE: Can Manifesting Really Help You Smash Your Goals?

    Manifesting mistake #4: You’re not looking for the signs

    Yes, signs from the literal actual universe. Sometimes this manifests in the physical realm, like asking to see a butterfly as confirmation that your potential job is the one you should go for. But waiting can often dissuade you. When this happens, Nicola advises going inward. “When you are at a crossroads and are not sure what direction to take, quieten out the external noise and connect to yourself,” says Nicola. This might mean meditation, or just getting really quiet and asking yourself important questions. “From this space, ask yourself, ‘If I knew exactly what to do, what would that be? If I trusted myself, what would I do in this situation?’ External signs are inspiring to receive, but your inner voice and your intuition is so much more powerful.”    More

  • in

    5 Effective Ways To Beat The Dreaded Afternoon Slump

    It’s so easy to lose motivation as soon as midday strikes. From frequent strolls to the copier, scrolling TikTok and needing about four coffee breaks an hour, the Afternoon Slump looms large over the human population, threatening even the most productive of people.
    Blame your natural stress hormone, cortisol. It fluctuates frequently throughout the day as we deal with different situations. By the afternoon, our systems are fried from vigorous regulation. If you’ve got things to get done, ASAP, try out these invigorating pointers to energise your body and mind – and meet those deadlines.
    Disclaimer: The below don’t include sugar or a caffeine fix.
    1/ Stretch it out

    Stretching is a wonderful way to calm your mind. Regular stretching focuses on mindfulness and releases tension from the body.
    Do it: Stand up and reach down to touch your toes. Don’t be concerned about who is around you. Bring your hands above your head and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Tilt as far as you can, from left to right. Repeat.
    READ MORE: 8 Things That Are Sucking The Happiness Right Out Of Your Life
    2/ Close your eyes
    Did you know that closing your eyes is a great way to boost your memory? This is known as “quiet wakefulness”. Resting the eyes allows your muscles and body parts to relax.
    Do it: Place your hands over your eyes for two minutes and relish the time you have to sit and be still. Focus on your breathing and channel your thoughts on something positive.
    READ MORE: What Really Happens To Your Body (And Brain) On A Detox Diet?
    3/ Declutter your desk

    Your space is a reflection of you. Having a cleaner workspace can lead to increased productivity, while clutter can cripple your creativity.
    Do it: Recycle unnecessary paper that you’re hoarding on your desk. A clean desk makes for an efficient and professional student or employee.
    4/ Breathe in, breathe out
    Deep breathing exercises are the best for stress management and improving energy levels. Increased blood flow allows for more oxygen to get into the blood.
    Do it: Get comfortable. Sit or lie down on the floor and inhale through your nose, allowing your belly to fill up. Breathe out through your mouth. Repeat.
    READ MORE: Face Mapping: 9 Things Your Pimples Can Tell You About Your Health
    5/ Take a light stroll

    If you only have a few minutes to spare, taking a walk can do wonders for your blood flow to the muscles and will offer your mind a fresh start.
    Do it: Step away from your phone and computer and go outside for a walk. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase your steps. Your fitness watch will thank you. More