Self-Care: Journaling

This week’s self-care idea is another obvious one. I think it’s good to start with the obvious though, gives you a good foundation for building your self-care. But this one’s still very relevant because how many of us actually journal on the regular? We all know that journaling is supposed to be great for getting our thoughts and feelings on to a page and out of our head. Yet so many of us fantasise about putting pen to paper rather than actually doing it. I’m definitely guilty of this. Just look at my atrocious posting schedule. I always want to get the words out but I often pick a different pass-time instead. Okay, fine, we all know I’m watching Netflix. But recently I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate writing into my day. (Mainly this month for Nano, which is crushing me by the way! I won’t be defeated though; almost at the 15,000 word mark.) Whether that’s starting your day off right with Morning Pages or ending your day in bed with your journal. Or maybe it’s during those five minutes when you’re on the train to work. Journaling is about finding the time for you. Come on, don’t we understand what this series is about yet? So if you don’t want to carry a notebook with you on the train just type in the notes section of your phone. If you’re just starting out maybe try writing one thing each night that you were grateful for that day. Or try a one line a day journal. There’s plenty out there. I bought one in June 2014 and I’ve been filling it out ever since with something boss that’s happened each day. I mean, it sometimes gets to a point where I haven’t written in it for four months and I have to work backwards and all I write one day is ‘Sorry, mate, it’s four months later I have no idea what you did today. Probably watched Netflix’. But I love looking back through it and seeing what my mischievous self was getting up to. It’s something I see myself doing for years to come.

But if you are looking for something a bit more hardcore then maybe work the Morning Pages into your morning routine. The general idea of Morning Pages is that you write three pages every morning, first thing. Personally, I think you should adapt everything in life to fit you, so I sometimes write three pages and other times I literally write one word. But the point is that you wrote something. So even if you just write ‘carrot’ one day you’re still incorporating the activity into your day and in time you’ll start adding more words. Maybe you’ll create a vegetable medley or maybe you’ll stop being an idiot and actually address your thoughts and feelings. I think people get put off journalling because you’re constantly told to bare your soul. Or it’s ‘girly’ and I’m a big manly man. Or it’s for weirdos with no social life. But if you’re going to let the thoughts of others dictate your experience then you’re not going to get to far with this self-care! So just start small and work up. And literally nobody is reading this so allow yourself to be selfish. Write the things you wouldn’t say out loud. Maybe they sound hurtful or conceited. But if you’re feeling it you need to honour that so write it down. Another thing people do is write their thoughts then burn it. If you really think there’s something in there you’d hate people to see then just burn it. Personally, I’d never burn anything I don’t think, because I find it interesting to read back months or years later. Sometimes it’s hard to see where you were at a particular time in your life but it’s always helpful.

I’ve had a lifetime of half-filled journals and childhood diaries. It’s only been this year that I’ve really made an effort to write something every day. And it’s changed me. I think it keeps me balanced. Grounded. And I think it could help you too. It’s never too late to start anything. So maybe for now start with some voice memos on your phone, or write it on a sticky note and then bin it. Find what serves you.

New Soul – Yael Naim


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