With self-care growing into prominence in recent years, journaling became a popular strategy for people to practice self-care.
For one, it’s a fluid tool that allows one to reflect and express themselves in their own unique way. Still, some of us may find it hard to start journaling.
Should you resonate with this, here are some helpful prompts to help you kickstart your journey.
Prompt 1: Create A Gratitude List
By default, we humans tend to focus on the negative aspects of our day-to-day lives. If we are not mindful about our pessimistic state of being, it’s easy to get lost in the midst of it all.
To counter that, by intentionally and consistently listing out what you are grateful for, you can deliberately challenge and reframe your mind to remember the good things in your life you might have overlooked.
With that, reflect, and list three things you are grateful for today. For example:
Prompt 2: Choose Your Guide
Think of a quote that has inspired you lately, and reflect on how it has affirmed or challenged you at any point in your life.
You can look up what your favourite poets, writers, artists, philosophers, spiritual teachers, etc. have said, and choose one to write down.
That quote shall serve to guide you as a mantra for the week! Moreover, having these words of affirmation visualised on paper can help anchor you for when you feel lost.
For instance, the above quote by Oscar Wilde could serve as a timely reminder for you to be gentle on yourself and to adopt a beginner’s mindset whenever you work on a new project.
When necessary, revisit what you wrote and remind yourself of the intentions.
If you can’t think of a quote to write down, the Mossery Dated Planner comes with pre-printed weekly quotes to set your energy for the week!
Prompt 3: Practice Self-Affirmation
It’s important to take care of how you see yourself. A delicate self-identity can create falsities that negatively affects our state of mind.
This is a powerful journaling exercise for anyone who might be suffering from low self-esteem and/or is looking for an extra confidence boost.
While this exercise is similar to the gratitude prompt, this prompt differs by asking you to reflect exclusively on your internal strengths and competence, i.e. your intelligence, personality, resilience, adaptability, skills, etc., such as:
By affirming yourself and your inherent characteristics, you are reminding yourself that you have all the potential and capacity to succeed, just as is.
Prompt 4: Set Realistic Goals
If you are working on achieving your goals, what you can do is break down your resolutions into actionable steps. Consider journaling about your life ambitions.
Visualise the kind of person you want to be and detail what you’d like your life to be by then. Then, break down your goals by listing the steps you can fulfil to help realise them.
By doing so, you are also setting up realistic expectations for yourself. One way to do this is as such:
Self-care is realising your limits and gradually broadening it to reach your goals. There is no need to force yourself or create unnecessary pressure. What’s important is the intent.
The beauty of a blank notebook
What makes the journal system truly powerful is its adaptability.
If any of these prompts are not working for you in the long run, you can easily switch it up and experiment with another prompt according to your preference and capacity.
There may be days when you have a lot to share, and some days when the words seem to be trickling slowly— such days are perfectly valid.
Rest easy and do follow your energy accordingly— whenever you are ready, your notebook will be there to capture it.
Roshinee is a Malaysian activist who uses media and art to advocate for better mental health and stronger youth empowerment in Malaysian society.
You can view her art here and read her mental health blog at @cukup.club. In addition, thank you to Chee Zhen for her artwork!