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My daily journal practice (journaling for anxiety)

Today I wanted to share a little bit about another hobby of mine (journaling)! Similarly to my art, it’s something I started doing more regularly during the pandemic. It’s been a year now since I first used my bullet journal, and in the process I developed a daily journaling practice that I’ve stuck to, so I thought I’d show what that looks like in case it could inspire others out there who want to get into it! I have found journaling to be a great way to manage anxiety, especially during the pandemic.

I’ve broken down what my journaling practice here, it’s something I try to do it every night.

  1. Gratitude

The first part of my routine is writing in my gratitude journal. I like to end each day with thinking about something that made me happy earlier in the day, and then I write down a sentence or two about it. I like to do this as it helps me focus on the positive and reminds me that there are always moments in the day that mean something and feel special. I started this practice in January 2020 when I came across this cute notebook in a dollar store…just a few months later, the pandemic happened and I ended up sticking to this little ritual because I like to acknowledge the things that I am grateful for, and on the days where I don’t feel so great, I can always look back and read what I wrote and that usually makes me feel better. It reminds me that everything we go through is temporary, and that we simply don’t know what tomorrow awaits.

2. Daily Writing

The next thing I like to do is write a little about the day, what happened, how I feel, etc. Like a daily check in basically. I don’t go over more than a page, I try to keep it short usually. I like to do this because it serves as an outlet for me and reduces some of that negative chatter I get before bedtime. I tend to overthink a lot, so writing helps me reflect on things and lets me step out a bit so I can view things more rationally.

3. Bullet Journaling

Finally, I like to use my bullet journal. There is a proper technique for this, but I basically use it to track down habits and a couple other things, and then when it comes to planning I use an actual planner, because I find it more practical that way. I try to focus more on the functionality aspect of bullet journaling rather than spend time making the spreads look pretty, although I like to have a few nice spreads in there too!

(The one I use can be found here: https://www.amazon.ca/Bullet-Journal-Cactus-Notebook-Dotted/dp/1546631348)

To track down habits, what I do is create a page for each month and then write the dates on top, and on the left I write a list of habits I want to do daily and then check off the ones I did. I also keep a spread for weekly and monthly habits. I like to do this because it keeps me organized and find that writing in a journal keeps me more accountable when it comes to working towards my goals, and it’s rewarding to see your progress. I also like to track my mood, and use this journal to record reading lists, movies I want to watch, dreams, and for tracking my cycle. There are so many uses for a bullet journal, and the best part is that you can customize it however you want!

So that’s what my journaling routine looks like. It may sound like a lot, but it takes me no more than 5-10 minutes, and I definitely think it’s worth it. I am glad that I committed to it for a year now, and during the process I tried many different forms of journaling and honed in on what worked best for me which is basically this routine that I’m sharing. Journaling really helped with my mental health, and while I think it’s best to reach out to friends or talk to someone, the pandemic has been isolating at times, and during those moments of isolation journaling and writing can be a really great outlet.

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