Many of us are so good at offering love and care to others, but are not so good at offering that same kindness to ourselves. We say yes to things we don’t want to do or pile on more responsibilities to an already full plate—leaving us less time to do what we want and need.
Our Take Good Care guided journal helps you begin to prioritize your well-being and strengthen your boundaries. It reminds you to carve out time for your dreams, for the things in life that bring you joy, and to tend to your own needs before tending to the wishes of others.
We reached out to author M.H. Clark and designer Jessica Phoenix about their inspirations behind this new guided journal—and asked them what they hope readers will gain from these exercises of self-love and self-discovery:
How does honoring our limits help us?
Author M.H. Clark: Honoring our limits is life-changing work because it allows us to respect ourselves at the same time as we respect others. It is not easy work to do, because so many of us feel there is always more we could be doing, and more we should be offering. But the process of learning to honor our limits contains a surprise, because when we begin to get better at it, we are actually able to be more fully present—both in service to others and in service to ourselves. We lose so much when we empty ourselves out completely. It is in the act of honoring our limits that we learn to value our own energetic resources, respect them, and share them more appropriately.
Do you have a favorite exercise or question in this journal?
M.H. Clark: I’m drawn to a lot of the boundary-based exercises in this journal, because that’s work I’m focusing on in my own life at the moment! The questions, “What are the places where your tendency is to prioritize others at the cost of your own well-being?” and “What are three concrete ways, no matter how big or small, you’d like to offer less?” make me both nervous and excited! The idea of not completely draining myself feels quietly revolutionary, and like a challenge I’m personally excited to be undertaking. I hope these questions feel as full of potential to other readers as they do to me!
The quotes in this journal are all from women. Why was that important to you for this guided journal?
M.H. Clark: This journal is all about self-care, self-advocacy, and coming to recognize our own boundaries, needs, preferences, and possibilities. And while people of all genders will benefit from the exercises in this journal, I think this work is especially important for women. Our culture asks women to hold so much, and often that work goes unrecognized—especially when it falls in the areas of caretaking and emotional labor. I wanted this journal to be filled with powerful women’s voices from this contemporary moment, and also from history. Luminaries like Audre Lorde, Louise Erdrich, Wilma Rudolph, Brené Brown… these women have so much collective wisdom to share, so much powerful knowledge that a big part of the book became about highlighting their voices, their experiences, and everything they have to teach.
You’re able to evoke a lot of emotion with your color palette in this journal. How did you land on this particular style?
Designer Jessica Phoenix: So many titles in the marketplace that focus on self-care and self-reflection tend to feel very soft and ephemeral. For our book, I wanted there to be textural softness, but I [also] wanted it rendered in a bold palette. Self-discovery isn’t a light thing, and this book especially touches on some really intense prompts. So I wanted to make sure that the palette reflected that intensity but was still welcoming and ultimately hopeful.
What do you hope women will experience as they encounter the art in this journal?
Jessica Phoenix: So much good work can be done with this journal, so ultimately, I hope women feel empowered as they read the words and experience the color moods of each spread. Some spreads call for deep reflection, so I did not want anything I created to be a visual distraction as the viewer looks inward or conjures memories. So much of how someone can fill out this journal relies on intuition, which is how I chose the colors and forms. I would get a general feel for what the spread was addressing, then begin to explore how colors would react. I hope my artwork helps support the reader on their journey through the prompts.
Our Take Good Care journal invites introspection and encourages you to set boundaries and honor what makes you you. It calls for exercising fierce self-love, putting yourself first, and advocating for all that brings you peace and joy in life. Discover it here.