Mental Health Month 2019: My Current Journaling Prompts
Do you bullet journal? I am SO jealous of people with beautiful journals.
I’ve been journaling on an off for several years, but my journals look nothing like the ones you see on Pinterest.
At first, I had a whole pouch of small journals, a self care journal, a gratitude journal, a nice things about me journal, a feelings journal, and who even knows what else. Now I have streamlined things into one journal with four prompts + whatever I feel like adding that day.
The four prompts I am using right now are: 5 things I like about myself, 5 things I’m grateful for, things I did throughout the day for self care, and listing and detailing/explaining the feelings I’ve felt.
Five things I like about myself
I write these things to help me focus on positive aspects of my life and my being, so that I don’t spend the whole day thinking about all the shitty stuff. This is the hardest part for me, and that’s why I do it first. Some days are easier than others, some days I say “fuck this” and skip it. Some of the things that make this list often are: I am funny, I have good taste in Podcasts, I am good at my job, I am thoughtful, I am kind, I am the best wife ever. *insert angelic pose here*
Five things I’m grateful for
Last year a handful of my coworkers and I took an online Coursera course called, The Science of Well-Being. During this course we had to write three things we were grateful for each day for a couple of weeks or something like that, and after the assignment was over, I just kept doing it and eventually rounded up to five things each day. Even though I know I have more than five things a day to be grateful for, this can still be a challenge on days when I’m struggling. I am always grateful for my life, Christopher, Lucy, my family, my friends , my home, things like that, and sometimes when I can’t think of anything beyond the basics, that’s what makes the list. I try to add things from my day when I can, like seeing a friend I don’t see often, nice weather, someone going on a coffee run, or things like that.
Self Care is one of those really trendy topics right now that might make you cringe, but try not to run away screaming. You know how when you are on a plane and they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, same shit, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. You will be in a much better position to care for others when you care for yourself first. THIS IS HARD AS FUCK. Do not get me wrong. It takes intention, dedication, and a whole bunch of other fancy words that mean hard, esepcially if you are already struggling with mental and/or physical illness. Some of the things that end up on my self care list are: taking all my meds, eating actual meals, showering, listening to a podcast, reading a book, lighting a candle, listening to music, journaling, crafting/creating, blogging, not checking my phone for xx minutes. Self care isn’t all brunching, napping, and spa days. Those things might be self care for you, or they might make you want to hide under your bed. Take time to do things that fill you up, and then write them down so you remember that feeling of being cared for and then do it again. and again.
Feelings are hard for me. and I mean H!A!R!D! I try to sit for a few minutes (ok, seconds, whatever) between the self care and feelings sections, with some rain noise or other meditation type music playing and just check in with myself. How do I feel right now? How did I feel when I woke up? How did I feel at work? You get the picture. I write those feelings and situations down. Sometimes It’s simple. I feel tired - went to bed late or I feel excited about the weekend - we’re going to Disney. Some feelings require more than a little note, and so those feelings get as much time as they need to get on paper. Then I move on. (bahahahahaha - yeah fucking right) Then I try to move on, and save anything really nagging for therapy where I can talk it out.
Once I make it through these, or some combination of these, prompts I usually stop for the day. However, if I’m feeling particularly journaly I might make other lists. One of the lists I make occasionally is “Things I can improve on”. Sometimes I need to remind myself to stop doing so much and just be. Sometimes I need a little push to do crafts or make plans with friends. Sometimes I need to remind myself to actually get my journal out and journal. Writing it down helps me remember.
Do you journal? If so, do you use prompts? Free write your thoughts? Doodle pictures and words? What works for you? Share your ideas in the comments.