Self-care takes many forms. For some, it’s bubble baths and spa dates. For others, it’s drawing boundaries and saying no. And sometimes it’s identifying and changing demoralizing behaviors. For me, it’s all of the above, with the added commitment of authenticity. I’ve hardly wrapped my head around mindfulness, but I’ve identified that I journal for self-care. It’s the awareness of myself in those moments of reflection that allows me to feel that I’ve done something good for my mental health when I get it all out.
Here are 3 reasons I journal for self-care:
1. A strategy for goal-setting
Before I do my goal-setting and planning at the end of the year, I make an intentional effort to reflect. I capture my thoughts on what I learned from the year I’m in, and what’s on my heart to be a priority for the year to come. Out of this, I create a theme that guides my goals for the year to come. Sometimes I might even review journal entries to capture relevant themes. Maybe there’s something I want to change, maybe I feel something is missing.
This year for me was supposed to be “Living Well” which included taking in culture with a trip to the motherland. Thank God for the hesitation before I made it official because, hello pandemic. After some journaling during quarantine, I changed the theme to “Recalibrating”. My “journal for self-care” sessions allowed me to shift my mindset and priorities and loosen my grip on pre-pandemic goals.
2. Allowing myself space to process
Journaling for self-care includes making space for you to process what’s been happening in your life. The opportunity doesn’t always present itself to take stock of things that affect us as they occur. Making space to do so is important. Journaling is a great way to work through unexplored feelings that are lingering. You don’t always realize what’s sitting on your chest until you start writing about it.
Note: This is not a substitute for therapy, but it helps to be able to take stock of what you’re dealing with every day. Great for between therapy sessions, or even evaluating what it is you’d like to tackle in therapy when you start.
3. Track Mood & Patterns
One thing my psychiatrist had suggested for me to do was to track the intensity of my mood swings according to my cycle. I’ve discovered a very specific time where the world feels unbearable and everything irritates me to tears. We never got around to following up on this but for some people, these are symptoms of a larger diagnosis.
As far as patterns go, nothing has dragged me more than seeing cyclical thoughts about a person you’re dating and thinking girl, hang it up. This is why I initially started reading past journal entries, taking note of how a situation has been affecting me over sometime. Another harsh revelation was that I never wrote anything pleasant or amazing that happened to me. My journal was basically a doomsday capture and that killed that journal for self-care vibe I was trying to be on. The first time I wrote about something that genuinely filled me with joy, it hit different.
You should Journal for self-care too
For a long time, I’ve searched for a journal that was a good blend of prompts and guidance but also left ample space for free exploration of thoughts. I moved to create the #goAWF journal, having been inspired to do so for a long while. I hope you find the pages to be as thought-provoking as space giving as the journals I’ve wanted to see on a shelf.
Journals now available in the the shop!
What about you? Do you journal for self-care?