Self-care is not a luxury. It is a priority. Discover a new self-care idea or something that you can do today to release and relax such as journaling.
Journaling is such a beautiful activity to help you identify patterns in your life, discover hidden aspects about yourself, find answers to your questions and track the success of your goals.
Writing down your thoughts, dreams, feelings, and ideas is a healthy and beneficial practice for overall wellness. Writing helps get to the heart of the matter by getting whatever you’re dealing with off your mind and onto the page. Writing about the pain of heartbreak, the confusing feelings that arise after an argument, or the mess of your life after a big transition helps make those feelings real.
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Types of Journals
Just as there are many styles of journaling, there are also many types of journals available. Here are some examples:
Journals don’t have to be fancy. You could use a spiral notebook or 3-ring binder, or some pieces of scrap paper tucked inside a folder.
Gratitude journals are specifically designed to help you focus on what’s good in your life. From people to experiences to possessions, these journals will lift your spirits even when life feels heavy.
It’s fun to look back on your life and see how far you’ve come. The Happiness Journal is one example of a log journal, which is a collection of your life events and experiences. My as a child I used simple calendars to jot down where I was and what I was doing on any given day. Then, every evening I’d look back one month and one year to remember those experiences. A word of caution though: re-reading memories can stir up both positive AND negative emotions.
If the focus of your journaling as self-care is to work through something that involves other people, it may be helpful to write letters to those people. In most cases, you’ll probably never actually send those letters. (I’ve burned many of mine—both to ensure they would never be read by anyone, and also as a cleansing exercise to remove the negative charge of the words I wrote.) You may want to consider working with a therapist to help unravel all the things that come up during your writing process. But my Hoodoo spiritual practices taught me to let go of what no longer serves me via fire. Fire is powerful and destructive-simply great for making things dissipate.
I’ve never personally used an online journal (with the exception of keeping a grocery shopping list in notes), but if you prefer to store your thoughts in digital format, it might be worth taking a peek at some options.
Where to Keep Your Journal
In addition to being a nutritionist and loan signing agent I am a writer therefore I typically carry my journal with me because I never know when an idea or thought will pop into my head, and I like being able to jot down a few lines here and there if I’m waiting longer than expected for an appointment. Or if I get inspired and ideas or titles start to flow out of me. But if you’re worried that someone might find and read your journal, here are a few hiding places you might want to store it:
Behind some dusty books on a bookshelf
A diary or journal with a lock
Small, lockable fire safe
Laundry room (who would think to look there, right?!)
A flash drive that you carry with you
Be Consistent. Set aside time each day to write in your journal, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. You may also want to set aside time to read back previous entries. I like to schedule a few days at the end of the year to read back over my journals and reflect on the year.
Be clear about your purpose. Know why you are journaling and what you hope to gain from it. Is it to download your thoughts and get them out of your head? Is it to brainstorm possible solutions to a challenge? Is it to help untangle an event or situation before having a difficult conversation? Is it to express your gratitude and lift your spirits when life feels overwhelming?
Be honest. Be open and honest about your feelings and do your best to write without judging what you’ve written. Trust your truth.
Be in love with your journal. Finding the right journal is personal. I absolutely LOVE the feeling of cracking open a new journal. There’s just something magical about the fresh start that comes with blank pages. That’s why I prefer smaller journals with fewer pages…so I get to start a new one every few weeks. Is journaling part of your daily ritual? If not, try out some different types of journaling and consider adding it to your daily self-care practice.
The most important thing to understand about journaling is that there’s no wrong way to do it. Even if you think you’ve found your journaling groove, your practice will likely continue to evolve over time.
Help Developing A Plan For Self Care
Do you want help developing a self care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability implementing a self care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self care routine and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self Care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.
About The Author:
Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director and a full time board certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC
Art Wellness Studio and Botanica to provide the Metro Atlanta area with a counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In live a life in recovery from sugar addiction. Loving her low sugar balance lifestyle.
Dr. Nikki LeToya White