Sport in mind is the UK’s leading mental health sports charity, delivering physical activity projects (sports, walking, dance and movement, gardening and exercise sessions) in partnership with the amazing NHS toaid recovery, promote mental wellbeing, improve physical health and combat social isolation since 2011.

With the pandemic having such a negative impact on our nation's mental health and physical activity levels, Sport in Mind wanted to offer people some additional support in a fun and empowering way so we created the new and exciting Sport in Mind journal. The journal is a fantastic way to help people get more active, feel more in control and put in place healthy habits. 

The response to our new journal has been overwhelming, this is summed up perfectly by Simon Cafferty's very moving blog of his experience using the journal:

The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, nearly 2000 years ago, “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid” which perfectly sums up how I felt when I first put pen to paper on 27th April 2020. 

After reading Ryan Holiday’s book ‘The obstacle is the way’ I picked up the Daily Stoic journal, which poses a question each day and gives you space to write a morning and evening reflection. 

In the UK we were into the first covid 19 lockdown when I started writing. I was feeling stupid and foolish, not because anybody else was going to read what I wrote but because I assumed journaling was going to be pointless, that it wouldn’t help and I’d get bored after a couple of days. 

Reflecting on that first morning: “How long does praise last anyway”  I wrote: 

“Praise doesn’t last long when it comes from others, because it is forgotten as soon as it’s said, due to life moving on. Praise that stays is built from within and moulded over time with reflection. It’s better to accept, but not rely on, the praise of others”. 

It reads better than I thought it would and shows me that even when I feel awkward doing new things it is better to do them and analyse later. 

It also reminds me of another Stoic quote, which came to light during my journaling and one I always come back to in hard times, by Seneca who said: 

““There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” 

Those last nine words always provide me with enlightenment and have helped me through so much over the past year and if I hadn’t begun journaling, I may never have picked up on them. 

My time writing each day is what I call diving into my underground. I now journal twice in the morning and twice at night. The daily stoic gives me a specific focus and prompt and the other is a chance for me to be creative and write about anything that I want. This includes song lyrics, inspirational quotes and any negative feelings I have stored up inside. 

I have found that setting time aside to journal each day helps me to fill my cup; it enables me to gain Clarity, Understanding and Purpose. 

I can write out my problems and see areas I might not have looked at. Sometimes there aren't people around for me to talk to or I don’t want to share my problems, yet my journal is. It helps me to be honest and understand more about those situations and who I am. It helps me to mould my own philosophy. 

With depression I can waste away some of my days with doing nothing and being in a constant fight with my own thoughts. I won’t get anything done and feel as if I have let myself down. But having the journal for 10 minutes in a morning and 10 minutes at night, gives me purpose. It allows me the opportunity to know that I am sticking to something.

If you are thinking of journaling but worry you don’t have the time or feel you have to write for a certain length of time, you don’t. I have found that some days I want to write more, but on others I won’t know what to write, so I will jot down a few quotes which stand out to me. A journal is a personal space and can be filled with whatever suits you the most. A line a day is better than a blank space. 

Life is unpredictable and the only thing which is guaranteed is this moment right now. Everything can change in an instant but no matter what, I have given myself the opportunity to take on any challenge, with a pen in my hand and following advice from Ryan Holiday by “focusing on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”     


If Simon's blog has inspired you, you can find out more about the Sport in Mind Journal and order yourself copy here - Happy Journalling!