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How Can a Journal Improve My Self Care? Tips for Getting Started

Have you heard about the mental health benefits associated with keeping a journal and writing it in regularly?

It might bring back teenage memories of your secret diary but a self-care version is slightly different.

Journaling is one of the top self-care practices that I wholeheartedly recommend and it is one that I do every single day without fail. I wouldn't be without this practice.

My thoughts can feel very busy, jumbled and sometimes anxious and allowing myself the time to sit and write means it is no longer in my head. I find such a level of release about that and because I don't judge myself for what I write either, it is also very freeing.

Let's look at some other benefits of keeping a self-care journal and the kind of things you can write about to improve the relationship you have with yourself.

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 in it 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 helps to 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. Plus, 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 appreciate 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: Suffering from low self-esteem? It’s likely that you dwell on the negatives and don’t 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.

Now you know the benefits of a journal let’s talk about the types of journals you may want to consider.

Which Kind of Journal is Best for Me?

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, tracking 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. I usually get mine from paperchase but you can search on amazon to get an idea too.

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!

What to Write in a Self-Care Journal.

What would you benefit most from recording? Here are some of the things that you might want to include in your self-care journal include:

  • How you’re feeling: Your fears, hopes, annoyances....anything and everything

  • 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

  • A mini food journal to spot patterns between your thoughts and feelings and your eating habits, especially if you’re an emotional eater

  • 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

I have been writing in a self-care journal every day for 18 months and think it should be part of everyone’s daily wellness routine for all of the reasons I have mentioned. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Why not commit to keeping one for 7 days and see for yourself?


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