April 04, 2023
Content created for the Bezzy community and sponsored by our partners. Learn More
Collage design by Ryan Hamsher; photographs provided by Mindflight Journal
Meet Nicole and Aisley, the mom and daughter partnership behind the Mindflight Journal. Building from their own experiences, they’ve designed a journal for those living with chronic illnesses. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.
Living with a chronic illness is a job in itself. Not only are we dealing with physical pain, but we also have to battle countless other struggles.
These include impacts on our mental health, booking multiple appointments, tracking our medications, managing — and sometimes fighting — our insurance, feeling invisible in a society that doesn’t always cater to us … the list goes on.
It can be extremely overwhelming for us as patients.
As someone who has struggled with a chronic condition for the past 15 years, you might think I would have figured out a strategy to organize my condition more efficiently. It wasn’t until last year that I finally found a solution.
Chronic illness never goes away, hence the word “chronic.” We will have good days, bad days, good years, and years to forget. 2022 was definitely one of those years I’d rather forget. It was a year full of medical tests, appointments, new doctors, new medications, new diagnosis, and tracking symptoms.
I was more than overwhelmed.
At the time, my Rheumatologist and I were trying to figure out what was triggering my rheumatoid arthritis pain — we still are actually. The minute I got home from one of my appointments, I hopped online to start researching medical journals. I wanted something that could track my symptoms and medications. This way I could bring it to my next doctors appointment and we could figure out what — if anything — was contributing to my pain.
For days I searched for a medical journal I liked. I even came across a website where I could create my own. But I was so busy that it was more of a last resort, plus the canvases weren’t to my liking. I even shared about my journey finding the right journal on my instagram. Since I have a large community of chronic illness warriors online, many people were invested in the search.
About a week or 2 later, I stumbled upon a journal called the “Mindflight Journal.” What caught my eye was a diagram of a body with a chart rating the different types of pain a person feels, such as stabbing, shooting, and numbness. I quickly fell in love.
The next thing that made my heart race (yes us chronic illness patients get excited over these things) was the Rx section. Rx is the symbol for a medical prescription. Each day you can track which medication you take, the dosage and the time you take it. This was a game-changer for me since I was starting new medications and I was having a hard time keeping track of what to take and when. At this point I was on 6 different medications and 10 vitamins.
Not only does this journal have ways to track your symptoms and medications, but I could also see journaling prompts and quotes for each day.
My decision was made right away. I ordered the journal, and decided to reach out to the company to express my gratitude. At first I wasn’t expecting a response, thinking they wouldn’t see my message. I was wrong. They replied straight away and we got chatting.
The Mindflight Journal is a small business run by a mother and daughter team — Mom being Nicole and Aisley being the daughter. Both Nicole and Aisley are very creative individuals. They love reading, painting, and writing, and all of this is channeled into the Mindflight Journal.
I wanted to know what motivated Nicole and Aisley to create the Mindflight Journal.
“We first came up with the idea for the Mindflight Journal when we were discussing how much journaling had benefited our lives. When it came to the topic of some of our most recent health issues, we considered how nice it would be if there was a journal that would help track our health and offer the benefits of writing at the same time.”
For those living with chronic illnesses, it’s quite common to get diagnosed with more than one autoimmune disease. This is the case for both Nicole and Aisley. Nicole now has diagnoses for hEDS (hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), multiple cranial neuralgias, and Hashimotos. Aisley has also been diagnosed with hEDS, and POTS. They want this journal to be as useful as possible for those just getting diagnosed, trying to get a diagnosis, and navigating multiple conditions.
“Since the beginning, it was never a question of should we or should we not create the journal. We knew we had to.”
I was keen to know more about the process creating the Mindflight Journal and getting it manufactured. I know many of us have brilliant ideas, but are nervous to make that big jump.
“It took about 1 year to develop the Mindflight Journal from our original idea to a physical copy. We started by deciding which components were most important to include in our journal. After our initial design, the bulk of the work began by creating 180 writing prompts and challenges, and then matching them with inspiring and insightful quotes.”
I was shocked that they created every single writing prompt!
“What these prompts have in common is that they take your mind somewhere else for a little while, and help you get all the thoughts in your head down on paper.”
Now this next part is the nerve wracking jump I was talking about.
“After the contents of the journal were finished, we found a manufacturer to work with and started production. There were many scary things about creating the journal, including ordering our first shipment of a thousand journals, and hoping they were printed correctly when they showed up on our door. It was terrifying. What helped us finish the journal was knowing how many people were out there with chronic illnesses who could use a tool like this.”
You’ll know the minute The Mindflight Journal package arrives at your door that this isn’t an ordinary business. I promise you, when that package is in your hands you’ll smile from ear to ear. Nicole and Aisley draw incredible art on the outside of each package and write a heartfelt message to each customer. I have never received a package like that before and I don’t know if I ever will again. Their reasoning behind it is absolutely beautiful.
“People with chronic illness can feel invisible for many reasons — whether their illness is not visible to those around them, they are confined to their home or bed, or struggle to receive treatment from medical providers. We know that struggle and want to make sure our customers know that we see them, and care about them individually. This is why each package is decorated with their name and some fun doodles to brighten their day.”
I can’t wait for when I run out and have to order my next one, just to see the artwork they create. It really goes to show how much Nicole and Aisley can relate to our struggles, and want to make us feel seen. This is why I love supporting small businesses that put their all into their product.
Since creating the journal, Nicole and Aisley’s family have had many medical challenges, including spina bifida, epilepsy, Chiari malformation and brain tumors. More sisters have been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, and Jay, aka “Papa,” has been diagnosed with early onset Lewy body dementia. Speaking about the importance of the journal for their own mental health, they explained that “creating this journal was a real blessing for us. We have put ourselves in the best position, mentally, we could for dealing with really hard things.”
Nicole and Aisley explained that it’s vital for them to stay connected with the chronic illness community. “We have met so many amazing and inspiring people through our work. One of the greatest things about the people in this community is their empathy for others. There is so much love and encouragement going around and we hope to share that too. If you need someone to talk to, we are here! You can always message us. We are also firm believers in snail mail, so we love communicating through a good old-fashioned letter.”
For me, the Mindflight Journal has been a complete game-changer. Once I started tracking my symptoms, medications, and triggers in the journal, I felt like I was back in control of my situation. Even though 2022 was a challenging year for me, I was able to book every single medical test that I needed, plus stay on track with my daily medications and symptoms. It was a lot easier to look through my journal before each doctor appointment and show up prepared than it was to try and remember what it was that triggered my pain.
Nicole and Aisley are in the process of creating a second journal with new writing prompts for those that have already gone through their first one. And I simply cannot wait.
I highly recommend this journal to anyone in the chronic illness community. Even if you have everything under control, those journal prompts alone will brighten your day and help reduce stress, which in my opinion every chronic illness warrior needs.
The Mindflight Journal brightens my day every day. It makes me feel proud to use a beautiful and effective product that has been so thoughtfully created by others in the chronic illness community.
You can find the Mindflight Journal at www.mindflightjournal.com and connect with Nicole and Aisley via Instagram at @mindflightjournal. They also offer a downloadable PDF version of their journal on the website.
Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author