I wanted to do something for Mental Health Awareness Week, so in a bit of a departure from what I normally write about, I'm going to talk about a non-fiction book which has really helped me over the last few months.
Your Way to Health is an all in one journal which helps you track your energy and mood. Basically, it's a page a day (for three months) and allows you to track your sleep, your motivational goals, energy level, diet, movement and medication.
At the end of each week is a handy balance wheel which helps you sum up the week. Really handy to compare to later weeks as you progress and not something I've seen anywhere else before. There are a monthly reflection and loads of information about self-care.
Last year, I went through a rough patch which drastically affected my mental health. Just being able to go to work without feeling the sky was about to fall was achievement enough. Toughing it out didn't work and until recently I never understood the importance of self-care.
Full disclosure, I know one of the creators, Vikki. She and fellow creator Kuljit have a history of chronic illness. That, along with Kuijit's training as a Recovery Practitioner, means the journal has the credit of being written for and by people who understand what support people need at these times. And while I used it for mental health, it's also intended for those with chronic illnesses.
This is a really beautiful book and as I've already mentioned, isn't something I've seen anywhere else before. I'd looked into other 'mood journals' but none had this amount of detail or felt as easy (or fun!) to use.
Each daily page has a place to fill in everything you need to monitor your health and hopefully start to spot patterns.
In fact, after about a month I began to realise how important winding down before bed was. Seeing the pattern down in black and white, how the lack of wind-down drastically affected the quality of my sleep and my mood the next day was a bit of an eye-opener.
My favourite part of the journal is the Reflection box. It allows me to sit back at the end of the day and look at my day with a cooler head, and figure out what affected my mood and why.
The journal is littered with inspiring quotes and cute illustrations which I personally appreciate at the end of a long day!
Unfortunately, I think the criticism I have says more about me than it does the book!
I have a real problem with creating new habits. I have an even harder time sticking to them. I'd find days to weeks I'd completely forget to fill it in. A page a day is a commitment, but one I learnt was worth making.
The difficulty this presented meant having to start a new week which means waiting until next week to restart - whereupon I'd forget, or carrying on and be out of sync with the pages.
But as I say, that's on me rather than the journal!
I'm not going to use my usual rating for this, mostly because my rating system doesn't work for non-fiction. But also because something like this is deeply personal.
So I'll just say that this book absolutely worked for me and may also work for you. You can buy get it from Amazon or directly from their Facebook group. The Facebook group actually has several videos up about the journal and how to use it, which is well worth checking out.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming! Can I interest you in a guide to the Steampunk genre?