How To Make The Joy Of Journaling A Part Of Your Daily Routine
There are days where I wake up and don’t feel my best. I think about projects I have sitting on the backburner, and I think about the endless possibilities of what my future could look like. They make me feel worried and afraid.
I lay and try to remember four words that are preached to me often, remain in the present, and so I close my eyes and inhale and exhale the scent of eucalyptus hanging in my room. I feel my bed sheets, like a cotton ocean, under my legs. I open my eyes and admire the golden sunrise light that is pooling in through my curtain and think, I am here. I am right here.
Our lives are filled with ups and downs, situations we can’t control, people who may not be kind to us, and work days that feel filled to the brim with tasks and deadlines. We have families and lovers to care for, as well as ourselves. We have bills to pay and sad news to hear, and it can be really difficult at times to process our feelings about everything that is going on around us when our lives are so fast-paced.
We forget to set aside time to process how we really feel about issues and take the time to reflect on our own well-being. Am I taking the time to take care of myself physically? Am I tending to my own emotional needs?
Journaling is a way to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings daily, and offers great benefits. You’ll end up learning more about yourself because you’ll get to see your habits and thought patterns lined out. You’ll get to actually process your feelings about events that you might just try to “not deal with,” like election results, a breakup, or the death of a loved one.
Journaling doesn’t have to be a “duty,” that you have to fulfill. It should not feel like homework or a chore. It should be seen as a fun and loving exercise to help yourself deal with your thoughts, feelings, and other emotional needs because you deserve it. Just as Buddha had said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Here are five ways to make the joy of journaling a part of your everyday routine.
1. Set aside ten minutes in the morning
After making your fresh cup of coffee in the morning, take your journal and a pen and either sit at a table or maybe out on your porch if it is a nice day out. Use this time that you have set aside as an act of self-love and tending to your needs. This is your time to write about the way you feel about anything going on in your life, and you can be honest. This is your private space to enjoy.
Some people keep their journal by their bedside and actually journal the first thing in the morning when they wake up. You can focus on a strange dream you might have had, what you would like to get accomplished for the day, or maybe sharing a fear you have about a scary event that might happen that day such as an interview for a new job.
Setting aside just ten minutes each day allows for you to get into making it a habit without having to dedicate too much to it and have it become a burden. If ten minutes of freewriting seems too long, cut it to five minutes. The important thing here is to remember to do it daily.
2. Choose the journal that is right for you
When you first think about journaling, the image that comes to mind is probably a beautiful leather journal. It’s fine to buy a beautiful journal to write in if you will actually write in it. Some people find a beautiful journal intimidating because they don’t want to write something that would “ruin it” or make mistakes that have to be crossed out, etc., and focus too much on making things looks clean inside of it because it’s so nice.
Journaling can get messy, and your handwriting might not look its best when you’re writing fast, or you might make mistakes. If you fear the nicer journals might give you a little anxiety, maybe opt for a composition or cheaper spiral-bound notebook.
3. Learn to let go
When it comes to journaling, the one thing you have to remember is that you need to be your honest self. Your journal should be your special, sacred, and private place where you can say whatever you feel and not be judged for it. No one is going to read your journal, and in order to learn the most about yourself and to give yourself the most space to heal and deal with difficult emotions, you need to be honest about how you’re feeling. You have to learn to let go and just write how you feel and what comes to mind.
4. Use it as a form of meditation before bed
Just as some people wake up and write for a designated time each morning, some opt to do it at night. If you chose this route, you can use this window time before sleeping to write down anything that’s on the back of your mind that might keep you awake at night, such as unresolved issues with a significant other, or maybe a task at work that you haven’t gotten to finish. Maybe you can try just writing down a list of things you are grateful for that happened that day. Either way, it will help you relax and go to sleep feeling much more full of joy.
5. Get out in nature
You don’t have to spend your time writing indoors. Try taking your notebook around with you in your purse or bag. On the weekend, try taking your journal to the park or beach and write about the details around you: the way the water breaks against the shore, the sound of seagulls, or the way the lime tree leaves rustle in the wind. Enjoy this time as nature can really help us feel centered, balanced, and calm.