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February 18, 2021
"Journal writing allows you to write down your experiences and thoughts and use them to identify your future goals and aims. Writing down even everyday experiences helps in identifying various mistakes that have been made or decisions that have proven to be unfruitful." (Spreeder, Why you need to write a journal).
I could not agree more with the above words. Journaling is a wonderful way to practice self-care and mindfulness. To kick off the first week of season two, mental self care, I figured journaling was the best place to start. In this article I will talk about how I have hit pause every day by writing in my journal and will also mention six ways that journaling has helped me and my mental health.
Of course, everyone is different and may have different journaling styles. In the past, I always struggled with writing everyday as a habit. A journal on the nightstand is something easily skipped on a night when one is tired or too busy. So what I looked for was a journal that numbered my days for me and held me accountable for missing a day. It has become a ritual. Every night after I shower, I make a cup of tea in my Mora Mug, hit pause, and journal. I have been journaling for ten days and haven't missed a day yet.
As far as format goes, pick a journal with a format that you like and that makes you excited when you see it. Some love that vintage old paper vibe with no lines. Others like a lined journal with pretty pictures and stickers. And some like a bullet journal where they can make their own format for each and every page.
Whatever it is, make sure that you love the journal and that it brings you joy. Otherwise, after a few days, there will be no motivation to write in it.
My journal is divided into six sections: A blank page for writing, bullet points, a self assessment where you can give yourself 1-5 stars, a time table, daily to-do lists, and a blank spot on the bottom. In case you can't picture it, I'll download a picture below. I also love that the journal's theme is a 60 day plan. I thought it worked perfectly for my goal of writing in a journal for 60 days. Even though I'm only on day ten, I can still come up with many ways on how journaling has helped me. Here I will list a few.
My goal has been to write a full page every night in my journal and write about anything. Things that are bothering me, worrying me, irritating me, as well as things that made me happy that day, things that I'm grateful for, and my future goals.
What I've found is that usually when I write those things down at night, I no longer worry about them as I'm laying in bed. It's like magic. I often have a hard time falling asleep, but journaling has helped my mind almost turn off in a way and helps me relax. I can't believe how theraputic it has been!
I know this is probably making some of you laugh but seriously.... When PMS comes around I am so irritated at everything. I get depressed, I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, and I struggle with negative thoughts. My poor Jerry often was the victim of my sufferings.
But now that I have a journal to write in, I just pour out all my emotions and thoughts onto the page, and get it all out. Surprisingly, after I do that, I don't feel the need to complain to Jerry anymore. The things that were really irritating me don't seem that bad anymore. Like I said in the previous paragraph, using that pen to get everything out really is a relaxing process.
On the other page of my journal there is a daily plan. The night before, I write down what I want to accomplish the next day. This helps me get excited for the day to come, helps me get out of bed in the morning, helps me stay focused during the day, and gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I LOVE how my journal has boxes that I can check off. There is nothing better than checking off those little boxes throughout the day. Especially as someone who works mainly from home, it's so easy to get distracted, but a journal helps keep me in line.
Self Reflection is a critical part of mental self-care. If we do something we later regret, but don't reflect on why we did it, there's a good chance that we won't make any improvements next time. If I did something that I wish I didn't, I write the situation down in my journal.
Then I follow a format that I learned in a book on business, called "The Lean Startup". Even though the book is on entrepreneurship, this method also works amazingly well for self-reflection. It's called The Five Whys. Basically you take a problem and ask 5 why questions about it to find the source of the problem and a solution.
For example: Let's say I ate a bag of chips for lunch instead of a real lunch. Why did I eat the bag of chips? Because I was really hungry and there was no other food in the house. Why were you really hungry? Because I didn't have lunch till 3:00. Why didn't you have lunch till 3:00? Because I was focused on a work project and didn't want to stop. Why wasn't there any other food in the house? Because I didn't go grocery shopping for healthy accessible foods.
So just from asking myself these 5 questions, I can already figure out why I did what I did and how to prevent it from happening again. My future plan? Always eat at the same time everyday and don't skip mealtimes. I wrote this all down in my journal and I can see myself growing as a person instead of numbing my way through life day after day making the same mistakes.
My journal has 5 bullet points on each daily entry. I use that space to write positive thoughts for myself. Whether that's a reminder of something spiritual I learned, something I'm grateful for, or something I'm excited for in the future, I write it down so I can look at it that day and stay positive. Having a positive mindset is needed for a happy and joyful life. So instead of beating myself up like I sometimes do in my head, journaling helps me be kind to myself and adds happiness.
The goal section in my journal is different from my daily checklist section. Goals can be short term or long term. On the very bottom of my page, I like to write down daily goals, monthly goals, and a goal for the year. Goals are a great way to grow mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. They help with self-esteem, and give your brain and mind a challenge. Ever so often as we become adults and stop going to school, we loose the need to learn and grow. But growing is something that should never stop no matter how old a person is.
I am so happy that I have gotten into the habit of journaling, and if you're looking for a way to step up your self-care game, I definitely recommend shopping for a beautiful and functional journal that helps you achieve all the things I mentioned above.
Whether it's helping me relax, purge my negative thoughts, get tasks done, self reflect, or set and achieve new goals, I will continue to hit pause with some tea in my Mora Mug, write in my journal and reap the benefits.
Do you love to journal? Why? How has journaling helped you?
Questions or thoughts? Comment below or shoot me an email, I'd love to chat.
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I love you all and have a great day!
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