Put the journal back: Self help products, hype or help?

A Notebook a day will not keep the doctor away. Not even if it’s dotted, lined, with a to-do’s section and has a goals planner.

Everyday another product comes onto the market claiming to be aimed at ‘self-help’, ‘self improvement’ or to deal with stress, but I often find myself wondering how many of us are wasting our time, energy and money on products capitalising on an ever stressed world.

Whether it’s a meditation App, a notebook, a book, or a beauty product, the ‘self-help’ industry is a billion dollar business. And whilst we pick up the bullet-journal that we realistically know wont change the anxiety, depression or stress we face daily, we buy it because this is how society tells us it’ll get better… and well frankly, because everyone else is doing the same.

How pretty do your lists look?

No but seriously, if you don’t spend 2 hours a day journaling, scribbling and making list after list until its aesthetic enough to stick in your diary then you’re not invited into the club. That’s what the wonderful world of pinterest and #bulletjournalinspo on Instagram. Do we really look at these pictures of perfectly manicured schedules and goals and admire them? Or do we feel like a failure for just scribbling on a sick-green post-it with a pencil that you sharpened with your eyeliner sharpener…or didn’t sharpen at all?

Buy into it, you know you want to.

Tells everyone around us. Christmas comes around and what do we get? For most of us pretty paper bound together with motivational quotes and socks are always beneath the tree. And I’m not mad about it, hey although I’m bashing the notebooks right now, I’m as much of a fan as the next person. But there come’s a point when you open that drawer you usually don’t open and just ‘stuff’ stuff in or when you’re moving house, that you realise you actually own the forest you’ve been donating to save in your home. It’s pretty, it’s satisfying and it’s ‘goals’ but, as Lindsey Lohan found out with money, ‘self-help’ products aren’t going to make you happy.

Need and want are different things and so is something helping.

If you’re a fairly average human not sponging off mummy and daddy then you’re probably well within your rights to buy yourself a new notebook, pay for the premium version of the App that reminds you to drink water or whatever else that gets thrown at you though Instagram’s in-feed advertisements. Being organised is good -if that’s your thing-, being financially able to distance yourself from products that aren’t going to add personal value is better, and finding more fulfilling, personal ways to ‘self-improve’ or ‘self-help’ is best.

Hype or help?

Mostly, hype. The conclusion here is do what you want, but ultimately don’t be bullied into bullet journaling or stressed into ‘self-help’. Get the notebook, or don’t. But whatever you do, think about the trees, think about every company’s goal: the cash, and think about you. What will really help combat those stressful days? I’m guessing it won’t be realising you haven’t kept up with all your goals this week meaning you can’t fill out that last section of your ‘weekly overview’ page in those 2 complementing pen colours.


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