Journaling as a form of Self-Care

I have journaled since middle school.  I chronicled everything from my first lady crush to moves across the country to frustration with systemic injustices.  I am not an external processor, so journaling helps me think about anything and everything on paper before approaching other people.  It helps me realize what I am really feeling and reasons why, as well as making me reflect on other people’s points of view.



 Here’s an example of a journal/sketchbook.  Mine never looks this awesome.

My list of things that have worked for me:

  1. Get a journal - purchasing one is obviously an option, but you can also reuse that unused half of an old notebook or make one out of scrap of paper.  I prefer journals without lines, so I can write really large when I’m angry or doodle when I’m bored.



Look at these awesome journals people have made with recycled paper! Tutorials are plentiful online (and I'll put a couple links at the bottom).



  1. Make space and time to journal everyday, even if you don’t journal every day.  I tend to journal when I first get up or right before I go to sleep.  I hardly ever journal every single day - it was my New Year resolution to do so - but try to do it at least a few times a week so it can become a habit.

  2. Don’t worry about correct spelling or grammar, using full sentences, or sounding poetic. Just write.

  3. If you haven’t journaled before and do not know what to write about, there are a million prompts online.  Write about things you're grateful for or whatever you did that day or that frustrating conversation you had with a coworker or your cat or…literally anything.

  4. Write as though you are talking to a person who knows everything about your life. Don’t get caught up in trying to make sure some invisible person or future-you understands all the details of the situation because all of those intricacies can be really tedious to write out.

  5. Draw or doodle.  It doesn't matter if you aren't “good” at drawing because no one’s going to see it anyway. Motivate your creative side!

  6. Try to be as honest with yourself as possible.  I love journaling because it’s a way to process with no judgment.  

  7. Start each new journal with some goals and/or reflections about life right now.




Want to splurge?  Buy a nice pen! I am really into purple Sharpie pens right now.



This is a cheap, and helpful way I've found to take care of myself.  Maybe it could be helpful for you too!  Do you journal?  What are your pro tips?


Links to help you get started:

A great place to start having a conversation with you

“Junk Journal” ideas and how to start putting it together


by Laura Henry, former Research Coordinator

Images courtesy of Google