By : Janea Strickland-Nunn MEd

I love to journal, but journaling isn’t new. Remember that diary that you used to write all your deepest darkest thoughts in when you were a pre-teen/teenager. I’m going to call my age but I remember watching tv shows like Blossom and Moesha, where the main character would write a diary/journal entry almost every day. I thought it was just something to do to be cool and angsty, but now that I am older I understand that it was a way to reflect on the day. 

This is exactly why journaling is important for self-care. It’s a way to look at your daily activities in a reflective way and get into the who, what, why, and how of it all. It helps you focus on your feelings and reactions of the day, helps you manage stress and emotions, and grows as you reflect over your life. I love journaling because you can get all of your thoughts out on paper and the paper won’t judge you. 

Let’s talk about ways you can start incorporating journaling into your everyday life: 

  • Set Time Out Of Your Day To Write. 

I have read plenty of articles about the perfect time to write a journal entry. In my research and personal experience, I feel that the only right time is when you do it. In the morning, during lunch, or before bed; whenever you have the proper time to sit down and commit to writing in your journal is the perfect time for you to write. Journaling is one of those things that is meant to be organic and honest. I think when we try to shape our actions to others when it comes to certain things. Be true to yourself! I journal before bed because it gives me time to reflect over my day and get it on paper so it doesn’t keep me up at night. 

  • Set A Timer 

If you are having trouble with a time limit, set a timer for 20 minutes. In this 20 minutes focus on nothing but your writing. By focusing your mind for a certain amount of time you can focus on your feelings, emotions, and actions of the day. The timer will also help you from going down a rabbit hole. Sometimes we feel like we need to write everything that has happened in the day and this isn’t what journaling is about. Focus on the significant events of the day and keep that as your parameter. 

  • Pick A Topic Of The Day. 

If you don’t like to write or need more structure, pick a topic for the day. I have a book with 500 writing prompts, some are personal and some are quirky. Each one helps me to focus on my writing and to be truthful. One thing you have to understand is that your journal is for your eyes only, that’s why it’s a great tool for personal self-care. Which brings me to my next tip…..

  • Be Honest and Non-Judgmental

This is the best part of journaling: you can be as free as you want to be with yourself. There’s no pretense to hold up or faking the funk to save face. You should use your journal to be open and honey with yourself and be judgment-free. Now let me be clear, being honest with yourself doesn’t mean that you can be comfortable with the things that come out when you write. Be honest and open about your feelings and thoughts but know that you still have to deal with them to move forward. 

  • Reflect Over Your Writing 

Okay, you just read how you can be open and honest when writing in your journal, but you also have to understand that it is a reflective part of self-care. After you write you should reflect on the emotions and actions that you have put on paper. Look at the who, what, where, when, why, and how about your reactions to triggers. This is the best way to self reflect and figure out how you can deal with or improve certain things in your life. 

I hope this helps you start your journaling self-care journey. If you didn’t get anything else from this please know that writing is a good way to express yourself as your genuine self and nothing more. Now let’s get to it!

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