Self-Care Journaling: Benefits and How to Get Started

The Benefits of Self Care Journaling

Figure out your feelings: We all go through highs and lows with our emotions and you may just put that down to having a bad day now and again. If you’re committing to keeping a journal and you make a point of writing it in when you’re experiencing negative emotions, you may find that there are actually patterns involved. These might not be obvious until you dig that little bit deeper

Clear your mind: A self-care journal is also a great opportunity to get all of your thoughts out there and clear your mind. There doesn’t need to be anything wrong for this to work well - just “dumping” everything in your mind on the page declutters your mind and frees up space for new thoughts.

Forgiving yourself: If you tend to mentally beat yourself up for every mistake you make, writing about it in your self-care journal can bypass your negative inner critic. Think of it as a way to put some all-important distance between yourself and the situation. Looking at it from the outside in can give you a much more objective appreciation and help you to accept what happened. And if you can get to the acceptance point, you’re a lot more likely to forgive yourself. 

Changing your perspective: A lot of people use self-care journals to list some of the things that they’re grateful for. This can be very underrated from a self-care perspective as it switches your mindset and turns your attention from stressing about what you don’t have to appreciating what you do have. Gratitude lists are an easy way to train your mind into seeing the good parts of your life and glossing over the things that may seem important but don’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things. 

Increasing your confidence: If you’ve got low self-esteem, it’s likely that you dwell on the negatives and never 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 self-esteem boost. 

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. It started life as a productivity tool but has evolved into a self-care tool as well. A few examples of how people use it include to-do lists, books you want to read, 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!

Paper journals: Love the prospect of literally putting pen to paper? A traditional paper journal might be your best bet.

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. There are lots of self-care journals available that will ask you to answer key questions about the day, such as “Today I’m grateful for …” and “3 big wins that happened today…”. All you have to do is fill in the blanks!

Multimedia Journaling

If you are a private person you can just record audio/video and save it for yourself. If you want to share your thoughts consider using social media as a way to share your experiences with video. If you don’t want to talk about how you are doing, dance it out, write a story on your computer, make a vision/mood board, or share your creative projects that help you manage your experiences. You are only limited by your imagination.

Idea prompts for your Self Care Journal

A few of the things that you might want to include in your self care journal include:

  • How you’re feeling 

  • Things that you’re grateful or thankful for - even the tiniest things count!

  • Log the compliments you’ve received 

  • Your daily “wins”, which can be anything that has gone well that day

  • Your goals (both short term and long term)

  • Things that you have done that you didn’t imagine would be possible at the time

  • Observations about food and/or fitness activities and your mood

  • Quotes that really resonate with you, especially inspirational and motivational ones that relate to health, wellbeing and self-love

  • You can also use these quotes as a starting point for your discussion in your journal and write about anything that springs to mind when you read the quote

Be gentle with yourself in this process. Don’t try and be perfect with your journaling, whatever and however you do it will be just right for you.

In Wiggles & Wellness,

Nancy