5 Steps to Begin Journaling – A Guide

Hand with pen, writing

Lockdown has definitely encouraged us all to embrace self-care, and for me, I’ve progressively dedicated 10 minutes each night to write and reflect on the day just passed. A key part of taking care of yourself and your needs is tuning into your emotions – yes, I know, the last thing you want to be doing given the current situation.

A helpful way to do this is to journal or keep a diary that you write in each day – whichever suits your wants and needs best. The thought may sound a little daunting, and so, this blog post is written with the aim of guiding you through initial minor hurdles.

  1. Invest in a notepad or diary

The obvious one but the most important (unless you’re wanting to do this digitally). For all the stationery hoarders (including me), feel free to go full hog on this one. Making a small investment into a notepad you’re going to WANT to write in matters more than you realise. Likewise, investing in a scrapbook where you won’t hesitate to scribble, doodle, or rip out pages may be what you need.

Either way get yourself the means to journal. That is the first step. And, no this blog post won’t continue at such a steady pace as the first step.

2. Set out initial intentions for starting

You may have read that journalling is beneficial or somebody may have recommended that you start doing so. But, there’s no point doing anything on the basis of pleasing somebody else. Having a motive to push us towards making a change in our lives makes all the difference.

Initial intentions don’t necessarily have to be life-changing, just that you have that incentive to start and continue in the future. It may sound simple enough, but this is particularly important if you have a tendency to give up at the first challenge – which I think many of us are guilty of.

3. Acknowledge that there are no right or wrongs

A misconception often held regarding journaling is that you “have” to do it a certain way. But, there are no right or wrong ways to journal, after all it’s what works for each individual. Journaling can also be done through the medium of voice recording or filming if you don’t enjoy writing.

It’s paramount that you establish a way that works for you through experimenting a little. You may even find you express yourself better through doodles or drawing pictures.

4. Leave the filters for Instagram

Addressing our thoughts and feelings can be challenging when going through a difficult time. We’ve become all too familiar with the notion that there is always somebody worse off than us. And whilst this will always be true, this doesn’t, under any circumstance, give us permission to invalidate how we feel.

Journal to get everything out, the good and the bad. Reflect on your day, week, or month – even when it feels impossible. Resist the urge to filter what you’re writing or dumb down how you feel. The beauty of journaling is that it’s for your eyes only unless you decide otherwise.

5. Dedicate a certain amount of time a week

There are days where you may not feel like journaling, it could be that you’re tired or don’t have the time due to prior commitments. No matter what, make sure you spend X amount of time a week journaling – whether this is spread out throughout the week or you choose to set time aside at the end of each week.

Opening ourselves up to what’s going on inside can feel somewhat intimidating, but your journal is YOUR space to do that. Let whatever comes to mind flow and do so without judgement.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and I welcome any feedback you have. Alternatively, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Ciao for now x

Posted by

Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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