As a therapist, I am often asked what my personal favorite self-care activity is. My answer is always journaling, but I approach it a little differently than the average person. When most people decide to begin journaling, they set many rules and parameters around it. This is the best way to take self-care out of journaling. If a self-care activity is adding stress to your day, it loses all of it’s intended benefits and is no longer self-care.

When I first started journaling, I told myself I had to journal every single day and I hated it. Some days I had nothing to write about or just didn’t want to do it. As soon as I lifted these restrictions on journaling, I started to enjoy it. Another change I noticed when I approached journaling with this mindset, was that the quality of my writing really improved. I was no longer writing just to write and to cross something off of my checklist. Journaling no longer felt like a chore to me. I was writing when it was meaningful to me and this pushed me to go deeper into my self-conscious. The longer I practiced journaling the more self-aware I became and the easier it was to identify the root of my emotions and behaviors.

Journaling does not have to be in a written format. If you are someone who has a negative association with writing, or if you write as a professional, and therefore struggle with writing in a casual format, you can still journal! Journaling can be done as a voice memo on your phone, through artwork or doodles, or on your computer/phone. 

Get creative with your method of journaling! Journaling is a wonderful self-care activity as it is a healthy outlet for emotional turmoil or stress, helps you record memories, assists you in working through difficult emotions or processing big life events, and can even be helpful in improving your decision-making ability. I hope this helps you approach journaling in a different way and adds to your self-care activities.