If you research ‘Journaling for mental health’ you will be able to read deeply into the subject; the pros and cons, how you should approach journaling, what you should write about, whether you need a fancy notebook with a pretty ribbon (oh yes, definitely)?! And you will also discover one of the big trends in journaling, the bullet journal, BuJo.
Bullet journals contain the whole detail of your life, they use charts, planners (daily/weekly/monthly/annual), lists for everything, you can doodle your mood, plot graphs… the possibilities really are endless. I’m quite certain you could actually spend your entire day journaling! A beautifully creative BuJo is something I aspire to as I am not very artistic. Creative, yes, but drawing and doodling is not really my thing.
I started journaling during my post-cancer depression. I started as another self-help strategy to try and improve my mood. My first journal contained weekly charts recording mood, sleep, medication etc. alongside diary entries, not daily, just as and when I wanted to write something. My journal content has changed over time, and veers from being positively focused – achievements, gratitude, goals, to more of a management tool for safeguarding my mental health.
A journal is not prescriptive, it’s not a diary demanding daily input, but a flexible and organic document which will naturally evolve over time to meet your needs and suit your mood.
The key to beneficial journaling is that it’s useful to you personally and is something you can sustain. You may want a chart listing your medication dosages and when to take them (you could include tick boxes). A mood tracker is good to monitor your mood at various times of day – you could give a score, a keyword, a description or draw representative emoji. Include inspirational quotes, your goals and ambitions, an action plan for your recovery, appointments and social engagements. It’s your journal and the detail is up to you.
I believe that journaling has a definite place in the management of mental health and well-being, so give it a go, it could be the best self-care strategy you try this year… well, that or running!