I've been journaling pretty consistently every day this entire year and I've found it really, really helpful. I began with the intention of just keeping a daily gratitude log to document each morning and night the things that I was thankful for. Then I discovered bullet journaling and became hooked. If you've ever thought you'd like to keep a journal but don't feel as if you have the time or energy, check out the bullet journal system! It's really simple but very clever. Bullet journaling is about documenting life through bullet points, so it's super efficient and takes next to no time to learn. All you need is a nice journal and a pen and you're set! Of course, you can expand beyond bullet points, too. I sometimes write pages and pages at a time.
For a little while I took part in a group called Writing for Wellbeing. In this group, we would be given a prompt and then instructed to write whatever came to mind for a set time and share our findings with the group afterwards. I found this so beneficial and calming, so if you can find the time every now and then, I really recommend putting pen to paper and just fleshing out some ideas. If you're stuck for ideas, that's okay! Pinterest is full of them! Otherwise, I've put together a list of 101 journaling prompts for you to print off. I've got these printed and stuck on my wall and also stuck in my journal so they're always on hand. I like to text a friend and ask them to choose a number between 1 and 101 and that determines my prompt. Alternatively, you could use a number generator, but I like the excuse to say hello to a someone.
Sometimes you'll find you don't need a prompt - sometimes you know exactly what you need to write about. Also, if you find a prompt really resonates with you, there's no reason you can't return to it over and over. For example, I often start my writing by thinking 'what's something I need to get off my chest?' and I launch from there.
I know it might seem hard to schedule in time for something like journaling, but for me, writing has replaced a lot of my insta-scrolling and TV-watching time. If you're not sure how you could integrate journaling into your day, consider making it a part of your morning routine.
My morning routine looks like this: after enjoying breakfast and a coffee, I begin by putting down my to-do list. This honestly frees up so much space in my brain. Then I jot down at least three things I'm grateful for. These can be as silly or as serious as you like. Then I give myself permission to do something. For example, if I wake up exhausted, I might give myself permission to say no to requests, or permission to set aside time to watch my favourite show. I often set an intention so I have direction for my day. I also make sure to include how I plan to practice self-care during the day. Doing all this doesn't take very long at all.
In the evening, I'll often ask myself another set of questions. Below is a little cheat sheet to print or save somewhere to help you get started with your journaling as well as a bunch of ideas on how to practice self kindness and ideas of how to be kind to other. Doing these three things - journaling, self-care and practicing kindness towards others are honestly the best mood boosters.
Sometimes my day is really shaped by my morning writing, sometimes I forget it all. It doesn't matter. You'll benefit from the process either way. Journaling forces you to slow down and be in the moment, so the process is just as important as the intentions you're setting. Some days I write less, some days more - just see where your writing takes you.
If things in your day don't go to plan, treat that as an opportunity to write. Write what happened or what got in the way. It's okay if your day doesn't match up with your morning intentions, just enjoy the process of being present and mindful and putting pen to paper.