One of the most effective self-care tips that I recommend to clients is to create a ‘doodle diary’.
A doodle diary is a place to follow your primary process. It is not an art sketchbook and it is not about making beautiful images or improving your artistic talents. To the contrary, it is a place to put scribbles and images with a minimum of words.
Through movement and imagery, you are lighting up different centers in your brain and gaining new insight into your inner life. You are expressing and containing emotion that may be difficult to come by otherwise.
How to begin creating your doodle diary
Purchase a sketchbook 11 x 14 inches in dimension.
Pick drawing materials to your liking (i.e. colored pencils, colored beeswax crayons, pastels or chalk).
To make the best use of your diary, try to work in it 2 – 3 times a week for at least 15 minutes each session.
Begin to doodle in your diary as if you are following your dreams. If you find yourself staring at your diary wondering what to draw, try another tactic. For example, take a color and put a three-second scribble on the page.
Now do something with it. Anything. Color it in, move it around until you find an image you want to make out of it, add another scribble. Follow for your own impulses.
Maybe at this juncture, you’ll start a new page. Waste as much paper as you want and wait until something wants to show up and take shape.
Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. If you find yourself wondering what to draw and you think, “Oh, all right, I’ll draw the bird that is sitting outside the window,” ask yourself, do I want to draw the bird? If you have a clear impulse to draw a bird, maybe the bird that has human feet and purple wings, or anything at all that moves you, then put that onto the paper.
Remember it doesn’t have to look like a bird or anything else, for that matter. Maybe the idea of drawing is intimidating to you. Okay. Think about color, shape, and form. Start with a thought or feeling. What color might it be? What shape does it have? And what is its texture? Is it round, or does it have sharp edges? Is it soft, gooey, sticky or sharp?
When you have put your image down onto paper, put today’s date on it. If you can, give it a title. Then, move on.
A doodle diary can clue you into your inner world. An art therapist or expressive arts therapist can help you along in this journey.
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