With all the time being spent indoors during this period of social distancing and isolation, it’s a great time to do some self reflection with a journal. Journaling may have been on your to do list before the pandemic but somehow you never got around to it. Take advantage of this down time and start a new journal. It will serve as a valuable memory for yourself, your children and grandchildren for years to come. Here’s why isolation is a great time to begin a new journaling habit:
You’re Home More
Chances are you probably have more time on your hands right now. Use some of this time wisely and start a journaling habit. It will help you to process what’s going on and give your mental health a much needed boost. It only takes a few minutes a day. You just have to make up your mind that you’re going to do it.
Use the Quiet to Practice Self Reflection
Your schedule and home environment are probably much different than before the pandemic. Your schedule and daily habits are different and you have a new routine. You’re probably feeling out of sorts and are possibly depressed. Now is an excellent time to evaluate your life and priorities so that you can see what steps you want to take in the future. When you’re not running on autopilot as many of us did before the quarantine, there’s plenty of time for self examination and reflection.
Journaling Will Help With Mental Health and Emotional Balance
The present situation of sitting in isolation for weeks and weeks at a time can be really hard on your mental health, probably more than you might realize. Even people who were already introverts and working from home are finding that their stress level is worse. This is because routines have been disrupted and there’s very little physical contact with other people. Journaling can help you to get the mental junk out of your head, reduce stress, identify your anxiety triggers and help to give your mental health a needed boost. With journaling, it can help you to de-stress, identify what causes panic or anxiety, and really help to improve your mental health during this time.
Helpful Tips for Starting a New Journal
It’s very easy to begin a journaling habit. The hardest part is creating a regular habit. Just grab a notebook, journal, or even a piece of paper and a pen. That’s all you need. Getting started is the hardest part, so here’s a few journaling tips you can get started.
It can sometimes be hard to start your first page, so here are a few ways to get started the very first time you write in a journal:
Dear Diary. Think like a teen again. Write in your journal as if you are writing in a diary, as if you are telling someone a story about your life, how your day is going, or how you’re feeling.
Use Journaling Prompts. Journaling prompts are a great way to get your creativity going.There are many types of writing prompts, from subjects like childhood and health, to general writing topics everyone can use. Look on Pinterest or check out some of my journaling prompts here.
Set a Timer. Simply write what’s going through your mind right now. This is also known as stream of consciousness journaling, which is when you write about whatever comes to your mind. There are no designated topics – just write with the flow of your thoughts until the timer goes off.
Be creative. Mix up the colors and designs of your pages. Use different kinds of pens or colored pencils. Doodle. Use rubber stamps or stickers to brighten up the page. Don’t be afraid to be a kid again!
How to Keep Journaling Simple
If journaling is a struggle, it’s time to simplify the process. Don’t make it any more complicated than it needs to be. It may be that the problem isn’t that you don’t like writing or that journaling isn’t a good activity for you, but that your journaling approach isn’t right for you. Don’t try to copy what other people are doing. Journal how you want to do it. .Journaling should be fun and easy and help you find more clarity in your life. It should not feel like homework or something you are forced to do.
There will probably be some days where you aren’t really excited about journaling, but this won’t happen as often as you leave yourself free to journal how and when you want. Don’t try to make rules about what type of journal and pen to use, stress out about your handwriting, when you should when should write, or how many pages you need to fill up in a certain amount of time. Just write whenever you want, and stop when you’re satisfied.
While journaling prompts are a great idea for when you get stuck, you really don’t need them. Just write about what you want! Remember that you’re in control of what you choose to write about, so today you might want to use a prompt, and tomorrow you might just want to write about your day.
Timers are a good idea to keep you on track, but they aren’t a necessity. If it annoys you, just get rid of it. You don’t need it unless you have an appointment to get to or journal in the morning and don’t want to go too long.
Journal your way. Write in whatever notebook or journal you have available, use whatever type of pen or pencil you prefer, pick your own subject, and write wherever and whatever time of day you like to write. Create your own practice that doesn’t have too many rules or restrictions, and you will be much more likely to do it often.