Want to be more positive and experience amazing health benefits? It turns out journaling self care has some pretty great advantages. If you feel like you don’t have very much time to yourself or are experiencing burnout, journaling can make a huge difference. It can be a fun hobby, plus it's free and easy.
Writing connects us with our own thoughts. It helps us to process emotion, commit things to memory and it strengthens our communication skills. If you've tried journaling before but struggled to keep up with it, you'll find solutions here. For those new to journaling self care, know that it is simple and fun!
There are considerable benefits to taking the time to write down what you think. Psychotherapist Diane Barth of NBC News found that journaling benefits your mental and physical health. These benefits include lowering stress and boosting your immune system. It's incredible how something that seems small can genuinely transform your life.
Want more proof? Hayley Phelan of the New York Times shares her journaling story and how it helped her work through a difficult time in her life. So many have benefited from this process; it's worth checking out.
What does journaling self care mean?
Journaling is interesting, but how is it related to self care? Well, journaling is all about you and your well-being. And your mental and emotional health are worth taking some time for. You may work through situations that need solutions or realize a new idea. It's a way to give yourself a chance to grow.
Journaling can relieve your mind if you feel like your thoughts are overwhelming. And everyone feels this way at times! It's a very healthy practice that can allow you to explore your feelings and form new beliefs. Think of it as an outlet that is both creative and helpful.
Writing is also an excellent way to use your own mind to work through your problems. Rather than finding help by asking someone else (although that is fine and sometimes necessary), you use your own intellect and ideas to help yourself learn.
It's a great way to be more self-aware. In addition, you'll gain confidence as you learn to work through any situation. Again, there is nothing wrong with talking with someone else about problems. Still, you can use journaling as an additional technique.
How to start a self care journal
Self help journaling is not difficult, but beginning a journal might be. Sometimes the tricky thing about a new habit is starting. Here's how to prepare for journaling self care.
First, you'll need to get a journal. Your journal doesn't need to cost a ton or be too fancy, but it can be if you want! Something as simple as a blank notebook is perfectly fine when you're starting out. You can also buy one with a design or self care journal prompts, if you like.
Like a planner, you can add stickers and fun decorations to your journal to create space for creativity. Draw, add designs, or anything else that helps your journal feel like it's yours. Remember, this should be a fun experience!
But maybe you want some ideas for how to begin the actual writing. When should you journal? How do you journal? Here are a few tips to help.
Create the right atmosphere
First, create a good atmosphere with which to journal. Find a quiet room that you feel comfortable in, probably with good lighting and a comfy chair. Think about things that help you unwind, and add those to your space.
You might have a warm drink like tea or coffee, some soft music, your favorite slippers, or anything that allows you to enjoy the moment. This should be a relaxing process, so get comfy!
If your house is full of people and noise, or you find that you can't focus there, feel free to find a different place to write. A park or a coffee shop might have the atmosphere you're looking for. And you don't have to journal in the same place every time.
Go where you feel most inspired, and be willing to switch things up now and again. You can even pick a different spot every time you write. Do what makes sense for you, whether that's constant change or familiarity.
Pick a dedicated time
Choose a non-stressful time of day. For some people, this might be first thing in the morning, before their day gets going. Others may choose late at night or midday. Find a time when you feel comfortable and have the space to write.
You can also try timing yourself if you want. For example, focus on journaling for ten minutes or five if you're in a hurry. You may find that time of day doesn't matter as much as simply concentrating on writing for a set amount of time.
Make journaling self care a habit
Making something a habit is simple. Just find a set time or a place you like to be, and journal consistently. Or, if you prefer, just bring your self care journal along with you wherever you go, and jot down your thoughts when you have a moment.
An excellent way to begin is to pick a specific time of day, either every day or at least one day a week. That way, you're creating a routine where journaling is part of your life. This will help you form a habit quicker.
Here are a few sample routines to help:
- Journal on Saturday mornings while you sip your coffee for ten minutes.
- Write once a day before you go to sleep.
- Journal every weekday after work for 15 minutes.
Try a structured approach
If you want some ideas for doing the actual journaling, start with a loose structure when you write. For example, you might create a short outline of what your day was like. An outline is just a primary topic, with a few subpoints or highlights included.
You don't have to be organized about journaling, but if you thrive with structure, it can help. You might also choose one word to focus on or a subject and write about that. For example, you could start with the subject of "happiness" or "peace." Then write down some thoughts that come to mind as you ponder this topic.
A different tactic is to write as though you're writing to a friend. While your journal is just for you, sometimes it helps to pretend that you're creating a letter to give to someone. That way, you can think about what you would say or how you would phrase something. This can really help out those that are new to journaling.
Use a blank page to journal
Blank page journaling gives you endless opportunities for creativity. You can write about anything you want. Try freewriting, which is just writing whatever comes to mind for a set amount of time.
If you like to use art to express yourself, you might try drawing. You can write inspiring quotes or random thoughts. The idea behind blank page journaling is it presents you with total freedom.
If you're already used to journaling, a blank page is perfect. You can write whatever comes to mind without needing to stick to any prompts or questions.
Try prompts for journaling self care
Journaling prompts are great for the super busy and new writers. Prompts help you answer questions or write about specific things, depending on what is asked. This is perfect if you want to get right down to writing and use a simple process.
Prompts can help you practice writing and processing thoughts. While there are no rules, sometimes prompts can help. Follow them, or go a different route entirely. It's up to you!
Self care journal prompts
So, here are some quick ideas if you want to get started ASAP. And if you need some more fantastic ideas, check out our 60 Journal Prompts For Self Discovery article.
Your ideal day
Describe the perfect day. Include the places you go, the people you see, and your activities. Then ask yourself how you can try to create your ideal day on a regular basis.
A favorite memory
Write about a happy time in your life or a favorite memory. Describe what you did and how you felt. Recreate it by journaling all of the wonderful details about it.
A recent struggle
Write about something that has been difficult for you. This might be a challenge at work or a conflict with a friend. If you came up with a solution, write about it. If not, think about possible solutions.
An idea you have
Write down a great idea or two that has been on your mind for a while. This might be a business idea, something you've realized about your life, or a thought about a new project.
Your work environment
Journal about how you feel at work and what the atmosphere is like. Use details and be specific about what you like about your work environment and what you wish was different.
A task you enjoy
Write about something that you like doing, either during your workday or maybe a routine at home that you look forward to. Journaling about your passions can help motivate you to do more of what you love!
A trip you want to take or recently took
Journal some memories from a vacation that was tons of fun. Or, if you haven't been anywhere lately, describe what you want your next vacation to be like.
There are tons of self care journals with prompts, too, and it's one of the easiest ways to get started. Check out this great article from Bustle that showcases some of the best-guided journals. The main idea at first is not to write anything in particular but just to get into the habit of writing.
After you take some time to practice journaling self care, you get used to expressing thoughts and emotions in this way. You may then choose to write about subjects that are more challenging or emotional.
But you can ease into this until you feel comfortable with writing. Remember, self help journaling is not a test; it's entirely for you and your life.
How to commit to journaling self care
While it can be challenging to commit to self help journaling, try giving it a week and see how you feel. Don't be too harsh about your routine, but try to journal a few times to check for thought or attitude differences. If you feel any better than before, journaling self care could be a great idea for you.
Journaling is a pretty helpful practice, and there's a lot of evidence that it can benefit you, so don't be afraid to give it a try! At the very least, you might gain some perspective about your life. But you could also experience more peace, better health, and a new way of thinking.