Do you list New Years Resolutions each year? Or choose a “word of the year”, or simply jot down some goals for the coming months? Even if you don’t stick to them (sometimes those resolutions aren’t all that realistic, anyway!) writing can be a great tool for self care and not just in January.
When you journal, you choose to do something just for you—the very nature of a journal is that it’s something private, for your eyes only. It sounds dramatic, but the entries need not be confessionals. These days, everyone seems to crave a little more “me time” and committing to these quiet moments is one way to do it.
There is no wrong way to journal. If you just need to get thoughts down on paper, you can “free write” about anything and everything on your mind. If you need a little push to get started, though, there are thousands of journals with guides & prompts (we’ll share a few ideas below).
But what does journaling do for you? Is it really that beneficial? Here are a couple of benefits:
- Journaling can help you reflect on the past, whether it’s what happened earlier that day or year. In fact, a “year in review” is a great journal topic! Reflection can be an important step in moving on. Taking time to process the past helps us let go and feel more secure about moving into the future.
- Speaking of the future, journaling is a wonderful way to plan. But it’s so much more than that. When you journal regularly, you have this log that you can look back on, noting which dreams and goals have changed over time, what themes come up again & again, etc. This awareness helps you envision a future that is in alignment with what you value most.
- All the while you are writing down thoughts on the past and future, journaling is actually helping you to be more mindful! The human mind can have up to 80,000 thoughts in a single day! I love that I can write some down, then close the book and be more present in the moments I experience from then on, rather than dwelling or planning.
- Another reason to journal is that it is an act of creativity and exploration. It can be a form of play, even, where you let loose and follow your imagination. How many of us have remained intentionally imaginative well into adulthood?!
- While exploring, you learn a lot about yourself. Even more if you re-read your entries every now and then. Again, this is just for you. Take a look back and see how many times certain experiences, stressors, plans—you name it—come up for you. A journal can be full of lessons in this way.
When is the best time of day to journal?
That’s up to you! Doing so in the morning can offer a “clean slate” for the new day, since you’ve got all the thoughts about the previous day on paper, and can set intentions about how you want this one to unfold. But if you prefer to journal at night, it’s a nice, calming before-bed activity that helps you unwind. Experts say it’s important to unplug at least an hour before bed, so this is a great way to do so!
Lastly, you can always set aside a few minutes throughout your day to stop and write. Even a short burst may inspire new ideas, or at the very least help you destress and back away from the screen.
What journal should you choose? Click the links below and explore a few options we’ve found…
Do you journal? Do you plan to in 2020? Happy New Year!