I have a confession to make. I am a chronic journal starter. Not a journal finisher, just a journal starter. Every time I buy a new journal I use it really well for about a week, but then something comes up or life gets in the way and all of that momentum that I started with dies down until it has been months since I picked up the most journal from the pile of incomplete journals. Because of this I used to believe that journaling was too hard. The rules for journaling were too hard. Maybe it just wasn’t for me. When I asked others on social media how they felt about journaling, most people said that they do it, but that it is stressful for them. Here are a few things that they said caused stress:
- Finding the time
- Finding the desire
- Being too tired
- Losing focus or getting bored
- Hard to do with Kids
- Having too much to say
- Pressure of committing to write on a specific schedule (once a day, once a week, etc.)
I have struggled with every single one of these obstacles in my journaling experience. These things can get in the way and make journaling more stressful than it is stress relieving. When I was working through my first Good Grief Journal my mindset when it came to journaling began to shift. I bought the Miscarriage Journey Journal as a way to try and sort through my feelings about losing a baby that I had waited a long time for. That was the first change. Instead of journaling for other people (kids, grandkids, etc.), I was journaling as a way to navigate my own emotions. I was writing for me! I began carrying my journal in my purse and, instead of writing a little every day, I would pull it out when I was sad or had a triggering situation. I would flip through the pages until a prompt stuck out to me, and then I would put in headphones with some sad music and write my feelings out. There was no time schedule, no specific things I needed to include, and no reason to write other than wanting to.
This is when I realized that if I was ever going to have a good and lasting experience with journaling, something needed to change. Growing up I had a lot of people tell me the rules for journaling. There was a very specific when, how, and why. It was good for family history records, I should write every day, make sure to include details about spiritual experiences, etc. While all of those are great things, they were not doing anything for me that inspired me to keep going. Since then I have discovered that there is only one steadfast rule that we should use when it comes to journaling:
Journal in whatever way helps you to be happier.
Happier can mean a lot of things. Happier means that journaling is not causing you more stress. It means that it is not causing emotional turmoil to revisit past experiences, but is healing instead. It means that it is adding joy to your life instead of taking some away. Happier means that journaling is beneficial for your mental, emotional, and physical well being. To keep it simple, if journaling makes you feel better then congratulations! You are keeping the only rule of journaling!
You are in the driver’s seat of your journaling journey. You get to pick and choose exactly what works for you and what doesn’t, but I also know that it can be hard to find out where to start or what to change. There really can be so many obstacles to journaling, but there are also solutions if you are willing to get a little creative! Here are some suggestions to overcome each obstacle:
- Finding the time- Type your journal instead of physically writing in it. Some people can type faster than they can write and we all have our phone on us all the time.
- Finding the desire- Only journal when you want to and about things that you need or feel the urge to write down.
- Being too tired- Journal in the morning or in the middle of the day (nap time for the kiddos, journal time for the momma!)
- Losing focus or getting bored- Just put it down. If you aren’t in a headspace to journal, put it down and come back later.
- Hard to do with kids- Journal with your kids! I’ve seen parent/child journals that you can do together or you can get them simple notebooks and ask them to draw a picture of their day while you take time to write about yours.
- Having too much to say- Get a prompt journal like one of our Good Grief Journals that can help you answer specific questions
- Pressure of committing to write on a specific schedule (once a day, once a week, etc.)- Carry your journal with you and write when you want to.
All of these are just suggestions in case you get stuck or don’t know where. The fun part is that if you try one that doesn’t work for you, abandon it and try something new. We can all find our groove if we are willing to go through a little trial and error! The most important thing is that journaling is something that brings more happiness into your life. If you keep that simple rule for journaling, there is no way to do it wrong.
I am definitely still a chronic journal starter. I have four different journals that I am working on right now, but I now no longer feel any guilt associated with that! I write in each journal when and how I need to in order to feel happier! Having my Good Grief Journals has definitely helped me to discover how to help journaling work for me instead of cause stress. For more information on how and why our journals came about you can read How The Good Grief Journal Change My Infertility Experience written by Sadie Banks, the creator and brain power behind our whole business.
We want your journaling experience to be easy and enjoyable. We want to see your needs and struggles and provide you with a journal that can help to guide you through those feelings and emotions. We celebrate journaling in whatever way works best for you! Visit our store today or sign up for our email list to see the different prompt journals that can help simplify and guide your journaling experience.