I’ve known the magic of journaling ever since I was a young girl.

I cherished my very first diary, a pink patent leather one with shiny silver edging and a delicate heart-shaped lock. Later, I shared a journal with one of my best friends, passing it back and forth, our handwriting alternating and overlapping as we chronicled the ups and downs of high school drama. In college, there was a shift to online journaling. And then, for a long time, nothing. The pressures of adult life always whispered, “We don’t have time.”

After I gave birth to my son, I felt a pang that the tender memories of his early days seemed to evaporate once I fell asleep at night, utterly exhausted. It was then that I made the decision to take up journaling once more. Inspired by the recent bullet journal trend, I purchased my first blank book in years. Five years later, I would be lost without it. It functions as my calendar and memory keeper and as a place to explore my own creativity. In it, I record my days, both magical and mundane: the changing of the seasons, the trials and tribulations, and most important, the ephemeral joy of life’s sweetest moments.

When it comes to my daily journaling habit, its benefits to my life cannot be overstated: It is a safe space for me to process my feelings and brainstorm solutions to difficulties that arise. Even if it’s only managing to write out a single page over my morning coffee or a half-asleep note before bed to record a precious memory, the ritual of journaling has been an anchor for me through the constant ebb and flow of life. It calms my anxiety and gives me a breath to set my intentions, refocusing my needs and goals. Just five minutes a day can often be enough to help me ground and center myself. Try it, and you will see the benefits too!


Traditional journaling: Ahh, the sweet simplicity of a pen and a blank page ready to be filled with your thoughts. If you’re someone who’s gotta get it all out, this might be your speed.

Bullet journaling (bujo): If you’re someone who could use a little more structure, this might be the style for you. Bujos are a sort of planner-journal hybrid that have become quite popular in recent years. They often feature calendars, mood and habit tracking, to-do lists, and more. I’ve seen bujos where people record their daily tarot draws, and others that function as devotionals. Bujos are proof that a daily journaling habit can fit into even the busiest of schedules.

Art Journaling / Junk Journaling: More of an artist than a writer? That’s okay too!Lots of people use art to convey their thoughts and feelings in their journals, and write only a minimal amount. Junk journals often feature pasted-in ephemera: ticket stubs, scraps of fabric, intricate collage. Let your imagination be your guide.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your journal can be whatever you need it to be! Try out different styles of journaling, mixing and matching to see what works best for you.


The Book: Blank journals come in all shapes and sizes, and the variety can be overwhelming! You’ll find lined, unlined, dot-grid, and more. Before you choose the book for you, think about how you plan to use it. Will preprinted lines interfere with any artwork, or do you need the lines to keep your writing even? Are the pages thick enough? While thinner pages are often fine for pen and ink, thicker ones (140-160gsm) are often needed for mixed-media additions and artwork.

• The Instrument: Just as the magician must relish choosing the perfect wand, I love the ritual of choosing my pens. I’ve recently rekindled my love for fountain pens, and there are many wonderful and inexpensive starter pens available these days. Using a beautiful and dedicated pen for my journal is a tactile delight that inspires me to write, and deciding on the right shade of ink for each spread transforms my everyday words into something truly special. If fountain pens aren’t your speed, try gel pens that glide across the page, easing hand strain and giving you lots of variety.

• The Embellishments: This is where your imagination can truly run free. Give yourself a beautiful place to record your thoughts by decorating your pages with care. I often decorate about a week’s worth of pages in advance, using stickers, washi tape, wax seals, pressed flowers, and colorful markers to add magic to my own pages. Just be sure to use water-based markers so that the ink doesn’t seep through!


Your journal should be your space to celebrate your life. It should be a comforting place to revisit, filled with art and beauty that inspire you to come back again and again. For me, the key is this: As the archetypal Virgo, I’ve struggled with the concept of perfectionism for just about as long as I can remember. My instinct is to pick a template and stick to it rigorously. One of the most surprising yet invaluable things that journaling has taught me is that when it comes to expressing the soul, rigor is highly overrated. I’ve learned to let go of my ideas of what my journal “should” be so that I can let it work for me. After all, who else is it for?

If you peek inside my book, you’ll find a wild mix: calendar setups to help me remember appointments and events, habit trackers that remind me to read and hydrate, and pre-decorated pages just waiting to be filled with my thoughts. There are sections that function as photo albums, with pictures of loved ones and special trips to hold on to. I have pages that are dedicated to seasonal folklore, reminding me to take the time to observe the changes in the world around me. I also make special spreads for reviewing books and perfumes, two of my hobbies.

The most important thing for your journal is that it reflects who you are. Stick to that, and you can’t go wrong!

Visit Christina Allen Page on Instagram @sihayadesigns.

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