How to Use Journaling for Self-Care

How to Use Journaling for Self-Care

photo of author on a hike

Lindsey Turnbull is the owner and founder of MissHeard Media, a media and live events company that empowers and inspires tween and teen girls. She is the keeper of her own journal(s) and writes before bed. She has a separate journal for affirmations and poetry. When Lindsey is not working on MissHeard or writing, she likes to read murder mysteries and listen to heavy metal music. Follow MissHeard Medias work on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! 

The Facts About Journaling

If you could do one simple thing to reduce stress and anxiety, gain clarity on your life, and improve your overall health, would you do it?

Research shows that keeping a journal is one type of healthy outlet you can use to manage your mental health, making you happier, less anxious, and calmer overall. A few minutes of writing, drawing, list making, each day can have huge rewards for the author.

Keeping a journal or diary gives the author a way to dump out some of their complicated emotions, feelings, and struggles, which can feel like lifting a weight off. Think of how you feel after venting after a hard day- you can feel that similar sense of weightlessness every day by keeping a journal or a diary. Writing out problems and struggles can give the writer some perspective, discover what makes them tick, and can even be meditative.  

Journaling can also be a place to build the habit of positive self-talk by giving the writer a space to track negative thoughts and patterns (and change them).

Finding Your Perfect Journal(s)

No two journals or diaries look the same. There are many types of journals, and they all serve the same purpose. Some common journal types are:

  • Bullet journals: for people who love lists and planners
  • Art journals: for those who express themselves better with art, rather than words
  • Morning page journal: space to free-write first morning thoughts, for go-getters and early risers
  • Gratitude journal: for those who want to cultivate a more grateful existence
  • Prayer Journal: for those who are religious and/or who want to speak to their higher power
  • Food/music/movie/book journal: for those who love tracking what media they consume
  • Digital journal or blog
  • A traditional diary-style journal

There’s also poetry journals, pocket journals, idea journals, complaint journals. Some people prefer to keep multiple journals, while others prefer all of their thoughts be in one place.

Or really, any combination of the above. A journal is your own space to write, vent, celebrate, brain dump. It should be a friendly, comfortable, and safe, supportive space for you. The journal you’re most likely to use regularly is the right kind of journal for you.

Journaling and Daily Routines

To best reap the benefits of journaling, make it a habit, part of your daily routine.

One easy way to build a habit is to add a new habit to a current one. For example, if you set your alarm each night, you could easily add in five minutes of journaling after you set your alarm. Or, if you’re bursting with ideas first thing in the morning, keep your journal next to your bed and jot down your first thoughts.

Another easy way is to be prepared. Buy a journal you like, with a cool cover or great quote. Keep it in a place that’s easy to get to, like your bag or nightstand. Tuck your favorite pens or pencils nearby. Write with your fanciest pen, if you have to, so it feels special.

However, whenever you decide to journal, write what feels right to you. Remember, no one ever has to see the words on the pages, so allow yourself to be fully honest, uncensored, and raw. When don’t feel like writing for an hour, don’t. If you only have three minutes, that’s fine too. And if you miss a few days, don’t beat yourself up or abandon your journal- try again when you have time.

The best journaling practice is the one you will do regularly and honestly.

Consider: Have you ever tried journaling? What did you like/dislike about it? What advice do you have for beginners?

Comment below or mind me on social media to share!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I love your post!

    1. Thanks for reading! So glad this can be helpful!

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