Benefits of Journaling and Earth Day Ideas

Helping you #LiveOutdoors in Everyday Life

When you think of journaling and your mind goes to a teenage girl musing “Dear Diary,” you are not alone. But truly, everyone can benefit from journaling, in its various forms. There are many different types of journaling, including stream of consciousness, to-do lists, daily events or memories, gratitude journals, sketch or bullet journals, food or fitness journals, dream journals and more.

The deliberate, cathartic act of writing your life is grounding. It’s an anchor to slow us down in the hurry that our souls experience day-to-day. It allows one to live an examined life.

By keeping a written account though journaling, it can help you strengthen your memory and improve your writing and communication skills. It can help reduce stress and anxiety by processing your emotions and bringing to light what is true and positive. This also leads to greater emotional health and perspective. It can bring you inspiration, vision, or dreams for your life, to deepen your own self-discovery or help track progress to achieving your goals.

To get started, take small steps. Choose your medium of journaling. Do you like pen and paper or will you be more consistent with it on a laptop or note-taking app? Start with just 2-5mins of free writing. Don’t worry about being grammatically correct or censoring yourself, let it all out. If you like structure, pick a time each day to journal and establish the habit. Explore some prompts or choose a purpose for your journaling practice. And give yourself lots of grace, because ultimately, how you choose to journal is up to you! There is no right or wrong way to approach journaling. Have fun with it and embrace the growth and benefits that can come from it.

A few Journaling Prompts to get You Started

  • What’s on my mind right now?
  • What do I need to get off my chest today?
  • What do I need to hear today? How can I uplift myself?
  • What do I want to accomplish today/tomorrow? Why?
  • What is my vision for my life in the next 3 years?
  • What stresses me out? What can I do to reduce this stress?
  • What makes life feel complicated? How can I simplify my life in little ways?
  • What thoughts have I been repeating in my head lately? Are they true?
  • What can I do to nurture my mind, body, and soul more?
  • What brings me the most joy? How can I make time for it?

This recipe combines the wonders of carrot cake, but it in a light coffee cake. It’s perfect for an Easter brunch or a just a spring coffee date with friends. Making this coffee cake is an April tradition!


Coffee Cake Batter:
2 large carrots
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Streusel Topping:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt


Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and grate the carrots (or use a food processor).

Make Cake Batter: Whisk sugar, melted butter, and eggs. Stir in carrots. Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix until just combined. The batter will be very thick.

Make Streusel topping: Mix ingredients for the streusel until you get a texture that looks like pebbles. You can use a pastry cutter or use your hands.

Spread batter into a greased 9-inch round baking pan or an 8 to 9inch square baking pan also works well. Sprinkle streusel generously on top. Bake for 30 minutes until the center is just set. Enjoy warm and with good company.

Optional: Mix 1/4 cup very soft salted butter with 1/4 cup honey. Spread or dollop on warm slices of carrot cake coffee cake.

This recipe is a household favorite from Pinch of Yum.

Looking to try a new hobby or hone your skills? Try watercolor painting with a beginner watercolor class taught by local watercolor artist Merryn Williams hosted at Season’s Yield Farm.

The class will be two hours long, from 10-noon on the morning of Saturday, April 30th in the Bread Barn. Visit Merryn Williams’ website to see the full details and register. Each ticket price of $40 covers your ticket, a latte and pastry, and a bundle of watercolor supplies (paper, brushes, paints, and a palette).

Saturday, April 23rd, from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be an Earth Day clean up event along the Greenway downtown and various connecting streams.  If you’re looking to lend a helping hand this spring, it’s simple to participate. Organize your group of volunteers for a half-day of community clean up you can feel good about.

Please fill out this form to register participate. You can also register as an individual. Waynesboro Public Works will provide trash bags, gloves, water, and trash pick up. For groups, you will receive public recognition for your organization or business.

More details will be provided once you sign up. Contact (540) 942-6626 or email <> with any questions.

Our love for spending time outdoors also means we want to love taking care of the Earth! Here are a few things you can do personally that will make a big impact! You can try these things for just a month or make them long-term goals!

  1. Connect with Nature. Whether you simply step out your backdoor or head out into the wilderness, connecting with nature reminds you how valuable our planet is which helps you make sustainable choices for the future.
  2. Shop at your local farmer’s market. Spring and summer bring the bounty of our local farmers. Not only is the local grown produce chock full of nutrients, but it is picked fresh and doesn’t have to travel across the world to get your home.
  3. Start a compost pile in your yard or bring it to a friend or neighbor that gardens. If you won’t use compost in your own backyard, find a friend that gardens and donate your compost goods using buckets or tubs.
  4. Pick a morning, bring your family or friends, and help clean up a community green space. Pick up litter and recyclables to help keep pollution at bay and protect wildlife.
  5. Look for ways you can recycle, reduce, or reuse in your own home.

Here are some Earth friendly Swaps to try this month:

  • Once a week, walk or bike instead of drive to something on your schedule.
  • Use a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated on the go instead of plastic.
  • Be mindful of your water usage for everyday things, like washing dishes or brushing your teeth.
  • Use reusable grocery bags when you shop.
  • This summer or once a month, line dry your clothing instead of using the washing machine.
  • Replace old bulbs and appliances with energy efficient options.
  • Switch to paperless for bank or billing statements.
  • Live minimally or use second-hand items from friends for things, like clothing or home decor.

Nellysford Screen Porch and Hot Tub Patio

Our Nellysford homeowner wanted to create an expanded outdoor space, including a weather-protected screen porch and paver hot tub patio, to have more space for family activities. The screen porch utilizes the ScreenEZE system. The screen room has beautiful yellow pile exposed rafters for a natural wood look. A ceiling fan was installed to keep it cool in the summer and overhead heaters were installed to keep them warm in the winter. This will truly be an all-season space. The paver patio below is an expansive patio, large enough to fit their hot tub and room to move around with ease. This is a beautiful secluded space to enjoy nature and family time together.

Articles written and content curated by Natalie Hall. Natalie is Bear Creek’s Marketing Manager. She is passionate about helping people enjoy the outdoors. She is an avid runner and hiker. She loves simple adventures to explore nature with her husband and three children.