Keeping a self-care journal is so different from the diary I used in my youth.
You remember journaling when you were a teenager. It was all about the latest angst with some pimple-faced boy you couldn’t live without and who is now an accountant at a local firm sporting a comb-over and polyester pants with creases at the knees.
“Lucky break Lamason” they should call me.
Or it was lines and lines of various ways you were going to do away with your sister for dobbing that you weren’t really at Julie’s house studying last night. Instead, you were sitting at the local pub with the aforementioned boy wearing enough makeup to keep Rimmel from ever going out of business.
Your diary was pink with a lock and key which you always managed to lose.
The self-care version of journaling these days is a little different and is so much better for your health.
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do with a journal.
Figure out your feelings
We all have bad days.. If you keep a journal and make a point of journaling when you’re experiencing negative emotions, you may find that there are patterns involved. They might not be immediately obvious but will show themselves over time.
Clear your mind
A self-care journal is great at dumping all your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. It is Marie Kondo-ing (it’s a thing look it up – declutter for those of you under a rock) your mind and frees up space for new and clearer thoughts.
If you mentally beat yourself up for every mistake you make, writing about it in your journal can bypass your negative inner critic. With this in mind, put some all-important distance between yourself and the bad situations. Looking from the outside in can help you to be objective and appreciative. Therefore allowing you to accept more easily. And if can move into acceptance, you’re more likely to forgive yourself.
Changing your perspective
Why not list the things you are thankful for? – Goes and writes in diary “so glad I didn’t end up with the combover king!”
Appreciating what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t is powerful. Train your mind to see the awesome parts of your life and gloss over the things that may seem important but are truly just specs of dust on a very fine, glorious life.
Increasing your confidence
Do you suffer from low self-esteem? You probably struggle to remember the positive things that people have said to you. A self-care journal can include these positive moments as a long-term reminder that you can refer back to when you need a little pick-me-up, or you could have a large whiskey. Kidding! Maybe.
Which Kind of Journal
Bullet journals: If you’re already on board with the idea of using journals for to-do lists and writing notes, you might like the idea of a Bullet Journal. It’s essentially a paper journal but instead of blank pages, you have creative prompts. Consequently, it started life as a productivity tool but has evolved into a self-care tool as well. A few ideas of what to use it for include: to-do lists, lists of thing like books or movies, logging patterns relating to your health and wellbeing, and keeping reminders of things you need to do that relate to your health, wellbeing and self-care. Everything you need to keep track of for self-care in one handy place!
5 Minute Journals
If you know you won’t have much time to keep up with a self-care journal, you may prefer the idea of one that prompts you on what to write about. For instance, it may ask you to answer key questions about the day, such as “Today I’m grateful for …” and “3 big wins that happened today…”. Just fill in the blanks.
What to Write in a Self-Care Journal
A few ideas for what to include:
- How you’re feeling
- What are you grateful for? The tiniest things count!
- Log the compliments you’ve received
- Your daily wins
- A mini food journal to spot patterns between your thoughts and feelings and/or your eating habits, especially if you’re an emotional eater
- Quotes that really resonate with you
- Tracking – income, exercise, sneaky pieces of cheesecake, goals.
Do you use a journal? What do you use it for?