Journaling is today’s hot topic. It’s been a while since we’ve done a full blown image focused self-care post and boy is it time! You’ve been through COVID, you’ve been through an election year, you’ve been through a recession/depression and economic or job uncertainty, the new normal has come and gone and another new normal is pending. Where do you even find joy anymore?

For me? Cute colored pens. I have one weekday “off” a month and I usually spend it cozied up somewhere working on something. I always have to be working on something. It’s my blessing and my curse. I’m very serious about my self care now. I haven’t always been, and it definitely has shown. So now when I wake up feeling grumpy, I make sure to do at least one thing that day that I know brings me joy. Usually that’s making myself a cup of coffee. I’ll only drink half, my caffeine tolerance is very low I just like to feel like an adult. Then a healthy breakfast and reading or journaling, or both.

If you’re new to journaling, I highly recommend it. I have journaled my whole life and have journals stored away from when I was first learning to write. I just happened to love it, but every time I’ve ever been to therapy it is one of their first suggestions. It just has a healing property to it. Like you’re untangling the words in your brain and getting it out and organized so you can finally start to look at it objectively.

My most effective journaling methods usually center around my productivity- I get a rush from being productive and efficient- and having to be mindful about where I’m at emotionally. I don’t naturally run to exploring what I’m feeling, especially if I’m being very productive, so I have to make time to check in and process things or suddenly I’ve been grumpy for three days and have no idea why.

Journaling about productivity

If you’re into personality types, I’m a 3 (enneagram) and an ESTJ (Myers Briggs). I’m constantly moving forward and achieving goals in a structured and efficient manner. I’m like a shark. If I stop swimming, we’ve got a real problem.

The biggest problem with this is that when I don’t automatically see progress I get cranky and we all know that the world moves on it’s own time, not just when I tell it to move. (Though that would be nice.) My journaling around this is very simple. It just looks like a list of things I’ve accomplished that day/week/whatever.

Some of my list items are cheating. I always write down that I journaled- obviously I journaled, I’m writing it in my journal- but its a starting point. It’s an acknowledgement that I set time aside to do something good for myself. Then it could just be as simple as:

  • I took my meds/vitamins today
  • Did laundry
  • Put away laundry (we all know this is a separate and harder task)
  • Went for a swim (exercise/self care)
  • Sent 4 emails to ____, _____, ____ and ____.
  • Wrote a blog post
  • Six meetings
  • Read
  • Created and scheduled social posts for the month
  • Spent quality time with partner/family/friends

You get the point. They could be huge things, they could be small, but they all move me forward in some way. I really try to detail out what I got done so that I can take a step back and see what I accomplished vs what didn’t get done. It also gives me the ability to see if I’m making time for everything I find important. If its too work balanced for too long, I make sure to add more self care or quality time for relationships in my next list.

I try for at least ten hearts a day. Thats what I use as my bullet points. It’s more playful than just a regular old bullet point and my personality type can use all the playful bits it can get.

You may like this “Do Work” journal.

Journaling about feelings

I talked about my personality type always needing to move forward and accomplish goals and with that comes a more limited emotional range. I fully understand the value of emotions now, but I’m going to be frank- I hate them.

In my most unhealthy state, I feel like they just get in the way. If you’re constantly looking at emotion, how can you possibly be efficient. Push all those pesky little guys out of the way and get. shit. done. Sometimes I just want to scream, “I don’t care that you had a bad week- my whole life has been a crisis and you don’t see me not getting my work done!” But that’s kind of ridiculous, isn’t it?

Emotions are a part of the human condition and when you are emotionally aware, present and mindful you will succeed in every aspect of your life. So I made it a point to carve out time in my life to sit with them.

When journaling about feelings, I try to make it as easy as possible. Identify, speak/write it, explore it, release it, replace it.

Once you stop and see how you’re feeling, get it out. Write it down, talk it out, whatever- but the point is to get it out of your head. Then explore why you’re feeling that way. Figure out what the core issue is and understand it, then let it go if you can’t take any steps to change it. Finally, replace it with a new goal or with something good that came from it.

You may like this option: Mindfulness journal

Once you start working these into your rotation, you’ll start to see some changes. Your friends, family or partners may even see a change because when you start to be more kind to yourself, you’ll also be more kind to others without even having to think of it.

If you liked this blog, you may also like: Self Care & How It Affects Your Image

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