Writing is such an important source of support in my life. 

I hadn’t been keeping track of how I used it day-to-day, though. So, in March 2023, I set myself a challenge: to record my writing for wellbeing activities for one month and see what was really going on. #mywellbeingchallenge

Check out the results on Instagram or keep reading…

What a way to start… with a dentist appointment. 

There were questions I needed to ask. At times like this, I know from experience that if I don’t get my thoughts ordered in advance, then I get flustered (even if I don’t look like I am from the outside). From there it’s just a short hop to mind-going-blank territory – which is never fun.

So, I make notes!

Usually I do this on my phone, but I had a scrap of paper & pen to hand so I used those instead. I jotted down points to address during my appointment. Then underlined some key phrases to help fix them in my mind (I don’t always do this, but today I felt the need). I find it so useful to visualise words on the page; it helps me stay on track in-the-moment – particularly if time is short, people are busy or distractions crop up unexpectedly.

Did it work? Well, I found out everything I wanted to know! I felt more settled and confident going in, and more focused – I could ask questions knowing that I’d clarified things in my own mind.

A simple but helpful strategy #writingforwellbeing #mywellbeingchallenge

10th March 2023

A recent conversation has stayed with me… A good friend of mine @claireparentcoach was telling me about a technique she came across a while back. It involves the question: ‘Can you make yourself 10% more comfortable right now?’

This is such a great one for me. I often find that my body is tense – jaw clenched or shoulders hunched, or I’m sitting in an awkward position without realising.

So I’ve added the question to my ‘insights journal’.

This journal isn’t anything fancy… just jottings that I keep on my phone in Notes. Every so often, I read back over the entries to remind myself about insights I’ve picked up on my journey through the weeks, months and years. (For some reason, my memory is awful for these things otherwise. Is my mind resistant to change? Or eager to sabotage me in some way? I hope not!)

I only add things that resonate with me fairly deeply – often they’ll give me an ‘ah ha!’ or ‘oh yes!’ feeling. And I check my notes whenever I need a boost or am feeling a bit lost. Reflecting on it now, keeping this journal has been such a huge support. It keeps me on track, moving forward, growing, healing and learning.

It’s something I’d highly recommend to anyone.

#writingforwellbeing #mywellbeingchallenge

12th March 2023

Can it be done? The science says yes!

Today, I’m going to revisit a particular, research-backed writing activity known as ‘expressive writing’.

I’ll write for 15 minutes a day over 3 days – and science says I could be physically and mentally healthier as a result.

The first expressive writing study was published in 1986 by James Pennebaker and Sandra Beall. Since then, its findings have been replicated many times over, and expressive writing has been shown to help with cancer treatment, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis management, anxiety reduction, working memory, school performance, sleep and much more!

To hear Pennebaker himself talking about expressive writing and how to go about it, have a listen to today’s ‘Just One Thing with Michael Mosely’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001k0wg

Or send me a message and I’ll be happy to help.

Now, where’s my pen…

#writingforwellbeing #mywellbeingchallenge

15th March 2023

I’ve been taking my own advice this week… 

For context: Over the last few months I’ve been immersing myself in the latest science around sleep – and how writing can help to improve our sleep. 

It’s been truly fascinating. I’m now so passionate about the importance of sleep as a foundation for our health & wellbeing!

Plus, it’s been wonderful to explore how writing can help. My (free) booklet on the topic is out today so take a look if you’re interested: https://www.writewellcommunity.com/world-sleep-day-struggling-with-sleepless-nights/

But back to my point… 

It’s been a hectic week here, with illness (both me and my daughter), work deadlines and an out-of-action bathroom. On Tuesday night I’d been working late and got into bed with my head still buzzing. How could I sleep? I thought I’d give writing a go.

So I wrote a very short gratitude note. When it comes to appreciating my physical self, I fall seriously short. But I thanked my brain and body for keeping me going through everything. I told my brain ‘You can rest now’. And I fell asleep – fairly quickly, actually. Which was a win.

The next night, I stayed up even later. I was still buzzing when I climbed under the covers past midnight. I didn’t write this time – I just looked at the note I’d written the night before. It made me smile. Now, I was buzzing with happiness. And I fell asleep.

The biggest difference was when I woke up the following morning. Two nights of shortened sleep and I actually felt refreshed (this is coming from someone who feels groggy if they don’t get around nine hours a night). In fact, I felt great. And that continued through the day.

My takeaway? It’s such a nice feeling to fall asleep filled with happy, gratitude-focused thoughts. And if I can feel refreshed the next day, then that’s a huge win.

I’ll most definitely be using mini-notes of gratitude to help me sleep in the future, whenever I feel the need.

#mywellbeingchallenge #writingforwellbeing #WorldSleepDay

17th March 2023

What can we do when life feels overwhelming?

This list by @Gideon.Heugh resonated with me, so I’ve added it to my insights journal. A reminder for when I need it in the future.

What can we do…?

1. Nothing
2. Unplug
3. Go deeper
4. Have fun
5. Connect

Gideon Heugh is a poet and environmentalist who writes for Tearfund


24th March 2023

Do you ever have those days when your mind can’t settle? When it feels jumpy and distracted, but you’re not quite sure why?

Last week, there was a lot going on and I was playing the waiting game in a few areas of life. My mind was restless. It kept getting distracted, spiralling off in different directions. So, I turned to writing, over the course of a few days. In particular…

1. Some stream-of-consciousness writing – to find words for my feelings and help identify what was unsettling me.

2. A thorough to-do list – to declutter my mind. I realised there were lots of little tasks flying around my brain which I hadn’t pinned down. So I put them on paper and cleared some headspace.

3. A question: ‘What am I actually trying to achieve here?’ – I tackled this question to help find focus. I needed to clear away the distractions and remind myself about what’s important. This writing activity was particularly helpful. It gave me an anchor.

For the rest of the week, I revisited my writing whenever I started to feel unsettled again. I reminded myself about what really mattered. And I celebrated my shrinking to-do list too!

#mywellbeingchallenge #writing #wellbeing

27th March 2023

Pick your battles, they say. But during stressful times, everything feels like a battle.

With illness, upheaval at home and disrupted routines, I’ve been snappier than I’d like to be. I don’t enjoy being that person, and in my mind it felt like things were getting out of control. 

So I decided to write a short list of the areas that I want to focus on as a parent right now – the values that can keep me on track as I ask the question: ‘Do I need to fight this battle?’ 

For my list, I went with themes, rather than specifics. I chose single words or short phrases to capture areas to work on… things like ‘moving enough’ and ‘learning’. Then, guided by these themes, I can deal with the day-to-day details – good habits I hope to nurture for our family and skills I want to teach my daughter.

I showed my daughter the list and she added to it. Then we both agreed to focus on these priorities together. 

We wrote the list yesterday; I certainly feel better for it. Am intrigued to see how we get on…

#mywellbeingchallenge #writing #wellbeing

6th April 2023

Wow, the time has flown. I’ve tracked my writing for wellbeing activities four weeks – here’s what I’ve been up to:

-I used writing to help me work out what to say during an appointment
-I added to my insights journal, allowing me to keep track of inspirational ideas & wise words that have resonated with me
-I completed 3 days of expressive writing to help improve my health
-I used writing to help me sleep
-I calmed my mind and found focus through a selection of journalling techniques
-I wrote a list of priorities and shared the experience with my daughter to help me through some parenting challenges

These are, of course, just some of the ways we can all use writing in our daily lives – to support wellbeing, to get through tough times, to stay connected with ourselves and others.

I’ll keep posting different techniques over time. [UPDATE: Check out my Writing for Life #30waystothrive challenge on Instagram or Facebook]

In the meantime, may the page be your friend!

As journalling expert Kathleen Adams says:

‘There’s a friend at the end of your pen which you can use to help you solve personal or business problems, get to know all the different parts of yourself, explore your creativity, heal your relationships, develop your intuition… and much more.’


7th April 2023

Have you been on a 5 minute holiday? I went on one today, and it was just what I needed.

It’s an activity I love to do every so often… spending just five minutes writing about being somewhere else – somewhere truly relaxing, somewhere beautiful, somewhere that makes me feel like I’m getting away from it all.

I focus on my senses in particular. My body even starts to feel some of the sensations as I write – my feet sense the warmth of the sand. I can hear the sloshing and swishing of waves.

The places I tend to go are imaginary, but it can work just as well if you choose somewhere you already know & love. As long as it’s a genuinely relaxing place for you, then you can enjoy the benefits of this quick boost of positivity.

I created a version of this activity, called ‘Positive Postcards’, for wellbeing community WriteWell – a resource that helps you to use writing as a tool to boost mental health, resilience and happiness.

Find out more here: https://www.writewellcommunity.com/


18th April 2023

In your wildest dreams, what kind of world would you love to live in? ❤️

Recently, I’ve been reading the wonderfully energetic ‘It’s Not That Radical’ by @mikaelaloach. I’m still digesting the details, but more than anything I have taken away a message of hope.

Hope that we can tackle the climate crisis together. Hope that we can create a society that’s better than what has been before. Hope that humanity has a bright future ahead!

So much hope, in fact, that I’ve been inspired to take action – and also to dream big.

The book includes a writing activity at the end. It goes like this:

‘Imagine what the best world ever could be. Go all the way. Remember that the best, most liberated and joyful world you can imagine right now isn’t even as good as it gets. Don’t hold back. Don’t be constrained by what might be realistic or achievable … I would love for you to take a few minutes to write down in the space below what that looks like for you – bullet points, full prose, whatever works for you. Just free-flow write it as it comes to you.’

Of course, I had a go!

It took me some time to warm up (which surprised me, as I do this type of writing so often). Initially, my daydreaming was hampered by thoughts like ‘but what would that look like in practice?’ and ‘that would never work!’ I pressed on, reminding myself that I wasn’t trying to come up with all the answers; I was building a dream.

After a few minutes, I started to find my flow. I focused for a while on my senses and emotions. How do I want to feel in this future world? How do I want others to feel? And then, rather than trying to deal with practicalities, I thought about overarching values. Which values feel most important to me in this bold and bright future?

When I finished writing, I felt full of energy.

All these things – sensory experiences, emotions and values – don’t have to just live in my dreams. I can take them with me into the real world.

I can use them to keep me feeling hopeful. And to keep me moving forward.

#writing #hope #mywellbeingchallenge

5th May 2023