When you think of self-care, reaching for a pen and paper may not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, the benefits of journaling are well documented and regular writing is known to have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing. Not only is it a great way to harness creativity, it can relieve the stresses of daily life and help you process complicated thoughts and emotions.
Keeping a journal is a mindful habit that also complements and supports other wellbeing practices. The process forces you to be aware of your actions and behaviours. Setting intentions, writing down joyful experiences or tracking your mood can reveal positive patterns in your life that you’ll want to prioritise and repeat. At the same time, it can help you identify things you need to eliminate.
How you write plays a role in the benefits of journaling. Rather than observing broad emotions, the key is to focus on what you’re thinking and feeling. Here are some other tips to help you get started…
1. Pick a Medium
If you want to build a sustainable habit, you need to select the tools and materials that feel right for you. Keep things simple with a pen and paper or transform an empty notebook into an elaborate bullet journal. Purchase a diary filled with motivational quotes and daily prompts or journal digitally with a note-taking app such as Evernote or Google Keep.
2. Dive In
Don’t be afraid of a blank page. There’s no right or wrong way to journal and your practice will evolve naturally over time. You can write about what’s happening in your life now or things that have happened in the past. You can set intentions for the future or document how far you’ve come. You can reflect on relationships and experiences or identify small things you enjoy each day. Just start writing – you’ll soon find your flow.
3. Time Yourself
Establishing a new habit can feel overwhelming. Try carving out a small block of time and setting yourself a clear, achievable goal. Start small with just 10 minutes of journaling a day, extending your practice as your confidence grows.
Play around and make a mess! Some people will write pages and pages every day, others just a handful of words. Find a way to journal that fits your unique, individual needs and leaves you feeling better than before you picked up your pen.
To help you fill your first page, this post about personal boundaries and self-reflection contains some thought-provoking questions that would also work well as journaling prompts.
Love Lizzie and the SOL team x