What a time of life! At the time I remember everything being so important! I've learnt as I've grown older to prioritise, decide what needs my attention and dismiss what doesn't. Yet when I look back to my teen years it's a very different picture. Everything that happened held the same weight, everything was crucial and confusion was the most primary emotion.
To my knowledge, my first anxiety attack happened when I was 16. I didn't know what was happening and it came as such a shock. I've lived with an anxiety disorder ever since.
In 2020 I started working with a children's charity in my hometown. I spoke to them about my own experiences and how I had designed the diaries to reflex the techniques I've used to gain control of my own anxiety and stress. We started working together to design a journal for their young minds; adapting the current structure to reflect the issues a teen might be experiencing.
We focused on primary issues such as peer pressure and effects of social media.
We decided on a plain white cover in a durable paper to allow customisation (I don't know about you but when I was young I drew on everything and anything! in fact, I still have a pair of converse with smiley faces on the toe and my bedroom took 7 layers of paint to cover up the ink!)
We adapted the inside entries to suit a young mind, using funky titles to explain each section but sticking to the classic layout with tick boxes and circling activities.
This journal is focused much more on interactions. It's essential at this age to try and cut through all the confusion and be prompted to really understand who and what has triggered you during the day and most importantly understand that not everything is a high priority!
You'll notice at the bottom of this entry page is a specific section focusing on social media!
Now, this is my favourite section, because even at my age now there are times when I barely recognise how damaging social media use can be to your self-esteem. I've spoken before about how continued use of social media bad for your mental health, but as an adult, you understand this much better. When you are growing constant comparisons of yourself against others and their appearance or achievements can be extremely harmful.
This section just allows you to quickly note what you've been on and how it made you feel afterwards. This small addition should allow the user to identify the emotion quickly and give them time afterwards to think about the impact in more detail.
It may seem like just notebook paper but just having this open section after the initial entry to fill in is really important.
After coming to terms with what triggers have been experienced in the day, this free writing section is for further exploration and practising writing in further detail.
And of course, we have forgotten the mood calendar! Standard in every diary, the mood calendar can be started at any point of the year and should be filled in daily to create a pattern of emotion.
You can see more about our Teen Edition in our shop!