I have heard about the health benefits of journaling for the longest time. Despite all the positive side effects, and countless friends recommending that I "try journaling," I never thought it was for me.
Whenever I tried to get into it, I would have approximately two consistent days of introspective writing just to forget about it (aka: be too lazy 🙃 ) and I wouldn't revisit my journal again for months.
But: one day (January 1, 2021 to be exact), I decided to try one final full-send into the journaling world to see if I could finally experience the rewards of journaling that I'd heard so much about. I bought a cute notebook, colorful pens, and decided now was the time. I can now say that I understand the hype. Here's how I finally successfully incorporated journaling into my routine.
Be Flexible With Yourself
Something that deterred me from journaling in the past was thinking that I had to do it every day. While that can be a great practice for some, for me it felt like too much of a commitment. I used that inability to commit to a daily journal entry as an excuse to not begin at all. What worked better for me was taking the obligation of daily writing out of the equation and instead starting with a writing a couple times a week. That way, instead of forcing writing out of myself I could instead turn to journaling on those days I felt I needed it most.
Don't Put Rules on Your Writing
As someone who writes very frequently, I have to constantly remind myself that my journal isn't a public document. A hurdle I had to overcome was learning how to write just for myself and in a way that benefits my own mind, and I didn't need to think about how it may sound to anybody else. Remember, it doesn't have to be incredibly insightful or poetic, it should feel simple and natural! It's a space for you to share or discuss anything or everything you have on your mind without judgement or restrictions.
Don't Be Afraid to Be Real
The ability to be vulnerable with yourself is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice! Sometimes putting our thoughts, dreams, hopes, and fears on paper can be incredibly intimidating. It makes it feel a bit more permanent and real. As scary as it seems, writing things out is actually a great way to put your own thoughts into perspective and see them from a different light. One way I was able to really get into journaling was understanding that sharing parts of yourself doesn't have to be so scary! After all, this is just for you!
Create a Space Where You Feel Comfortable and Creative
Finally, a great way to incorporate journaling into your daily/weekly/monthly routine is to make it fun! That way, you look forward to reaching for your journal and pen, rather than it feeling like a homework assignment. I create a warm and welcoming environment for myself by lighting some candles, making a cup of tea, and dedicating a few minutes to writing out some thoughts in my journal. By making the routine relaxing and fun, it became much easier to incorporate it into my day-to-day!
I Finally Started Journaling Consistently
After finally successfully incorporating journaling into my every-day routine, I can understand all the benefits it has for my mental and physical health! If you're like me and struggled to make journaling a habit, these are a few simple steps you can take to make journaling less daunting so it can become a consistent practice in your life!