5 Ways to Use Your Journal for Self-Care
Journaling has always been a favorite of mine, but during 2018 I made sure it became a daily habit. This new habit came as a relief from nightly induced anxiety attacks.
I would get in bed every night after a busy day dealing with clients and kids, and my mind would constantly keep clicking. “Could I have solved the problem differently?” “What if I tried this for my clients?” “Soccer practice is 2 hours early all week, how will I get dinner cooked?” “I have to pay bills.” “My house is a mess.”.
My mind was going in every and all direction. I couldn’t fall asleep and the weight of this panic would suffocate me.
It is so easy to call up a friend during the day and chit chat to get your stress off your chest. Late night calls, and on a nightly basis? You may have a bestie that would totally be there for you, but they may also have a life and want you to seek medical help. Just kidding about the medical help. And kudos to you if you have a bestie who would let you talk to them until you fell asleep every night.
The one thing that makes you feel better after a call with a friend is being able to release the stress and get it out there. Journaling was my “call with a friend” to a certain extent. Most of all, it was a way for me to add self-care into my routine.
Once I began journaling every night, I felt so much better and could no longer feel that weight of panic. Now I fall asleep every night without the constant pressure of anxiety.
Here are 5 ways you too can journal for self-care.
1. It gives you a carved out time to focus on yourself. Pick a time of day or a certain amount of time that you want to journal every day. Let’s say you want to start your day with journaling, set your alarm 30 mins earlier than you normally would allow yourself time to wake up and focus your mind on writing. Before bed, you can do the same thing, I go through my normal nightly routine and then grab my journal and pen when I’m ready to get in bed. I write down my to-do list or bullet points of the things that I am thinking or a certain issue that is bothering me. I write until I have nothing left jogging through my head or when my eyes are too tired to stay open, whichever happens first. If you want more of a lax journal routine set a goal of 10 mins of journaling and fit this into your schedule.
2. It eases stress and anxiety. Writing is in a sense like talking, and when you talk about things that give you anxiety or stress you out–you in return can feel better after. Use your journal space as a place to write about the things that really bother you, write about the things that you are worried about being judged for. Your journal is your place to feel safe and express yourself openly.
3. One of the easiest ways to use your journal for self-care is to write a Gratitude List. Keep track of everything you are grateful for, and add to the list every day. Don’t save the gratitude for Thanksgiving. Practice gratitude every day!
4. Indulge in your dreams. Use this prompt: “If money or time was not an issue, what would I do…” to journal about dreams you have or items on your bucket list is a good form of self-care, as well as a great way to manifest them. (If you believe in that type of thing.)
5. Forgive yourself. I hold onto fails more tightly than I hold onto achievements sometimes. What I mean is, the time when I bombed that job interview over one question during a role-playing portion of an Insurance Agent job interview, still rings clear as day. Yeah, that was like 15 years ago by now, but for the longest time I would replay the interview over and over in my head and beat myself up for giving that ridiculous answer. There may be times similar to this that you beat yourself up over. Write them down, and forgive yourself. Even if you have to write out why it is ok or write out: “Let it go, what’s done is done.” Write it and leave it in your journal, and keep moving forward.
In regards to the interview fail, I had to write the whole interview out and then write why it was not the job for me, and how much happier I am being in the place I am supposed to be. I let that crap go!
Let us know how you use your journal for self-care or start journaling with the above 5 tips.