Self-care is an integral part of keeping our mental health and mindset in a good place.
It means taking care of your mental, emotional, physical, social, and even financial needs in order to ensure your own well-being.
Journaling – and using journal prompts – is a type of self-care that helps increase self-awareness, vent your emotions, and monitor how you’re feeling in a healthy way.
By using self-care journal prompts, you’re encouraged in a positive direction with your journal practise as they quite literally prompt you to write about topics that actively improve your well-being.
When you combine self-care and journaling, you get a really effective method of looking after your own well-being, making time for yourself, and taking stock of your mental health.
Some of my favourite journal prompts that either help me practise self-care or keep my mental health in a good spot are:
- How are you feeling today? Describe how you feel with words or a symbol to track your mood.
- When was the last time you took some time to yourself for self-care?
- What is one nice thing you can do for yourself today?
- What are your five favourite self-care activities?
- What area of self-care do you know you need to focus on?
- How does putting yourself first make you feel? Why do you think this is?
- What’s something nice you can do for someone else today?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- What’s a song that bring you comfort and joy?
- What are your favourite comfort TV shows and movies? Write about why they bring you comfort.
- What’s a type of exercise that feels good to you?
- What are five things you’re grateful for today?
- Write about what your dream life looks like.
- What’s a long-term goal you have? Try breaking that down into manageable goals.
- What are three short term goals?
- What’s one thing you can do today to work towards a goal?
- What’s your intention for this week?
- What’s one positive affirmation you want to focus on this week?
- How does self-care make you feel?
- What does “self-care” mean to you?
- What’s your favourite food? How does it make you feel when you eat it?
- What’s one emotional self-care activity you can do today?
- What’s one physical self-care activity you can do today?
- What’s one social self-care activity you can do this week?
- What’s something you can do towards financial self-care this month?
- What are you excited for?
- How do you deal with “down” days?
- What are five things you love about yourself?
- What do you need to work on when it comes to caring for yourself? Do you struggle?
- What type of self-care makes you feel guilty? Unpack why you think that might be.
- What preconceptions have you held about self-care? How are they true or untrue?
- What’s something that you can do right now to make yourself smile?
- What self-care activities can you incorporate into your morning routine?
- What self-care activities can you incorporate into your evening routine?
- Write about something that you’ve done that you’re really proud of.
- Write about a hurdle that you’ve overcome.
- What are some of your boundaries that you have with other people? Why are they important to you?
- Do you struggle with saying “no” to people? Why is this? How do you plan to protect your own energy more in future?
- How often do you spend on social media? Be honest, is it too much? How does this make you feel? Does social media effect your mood? How do you plan to cut this down, if so. What are your new social media boundaries?
- What’s a self-care activity that’s very personal to you and your needs as an individual?
Feel free to save these journal prompts, bookmark this page, or simply pick one (or more) that resonates and leave the rest.
(Check out my Journal Prompt Library for 750+ journal prompts to help you transform your mindset all in one place.)
Journal prompts are for everyone and you can pick or choose how you use them.
Is journaling self-care?
Journaling in itself is a really effective self-care activity.
By writing down your emotions, you vent them onto the page. You get them out of your head so that they’re no longer bouncing around in there. This makes them more manageable; by laying your worries out in front of you, it somehow makes them less scary and you feel ready to tackle them.
By incorporating journaling into your self-care routine, you help process emotions.
What’s more, journaling encourages you to carve out a little time for yourself each day.
Self-care journaling not only helps improve your mindset, it also helps you be mindful when you’re in a bad place with your mental health and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s one of my favourite parts of my morning self-care routine and my mind has been in a lot more balanced place since I introduced it.
Other types of self-care apart from journaling include:
- Taking a shower or bath
- Brushing your teeth
- Setting boundaries
- Nourishing your body
- Watching your favourite TV shows and movies
- Taking a nap and getting a good amount of sleep in general
- Repeating affirmations
- Practising gratitude
Self-care can be subjective, as it’s whatever makes you feel good and keeps your head in a balanced, healthy place. What works for one person might not work for another. You have to find what helps bring you peace, comfort, and mindfulness. However, I would advice everyone to give journaling a go.
The benefits of using journal prompts for self-care
There are plenty of benefits to practising journaling and self-care separately, so when you combine them and use self-care journal prompts, you get a really effective method of taking care of your well-being.
Journal prompts encourage you in a certain direction with your journal practise. For example, self-care or shadow work. While self-care encourages you to make time for you and take care of your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Journaling gets you to write down your emotions and sort through them in a mindful way.
This is amazing for relieving stress and helping with emotional maturity.
The benefits of using journal prompts for self-care also include:
- Improves mood, mental health, and mindset
- Prevents catastrophising and over-thinking
- Encourages positive self-talk
- Helps overcome trauma in a healthy way
- Introduces positive coping mechanisms
- Helps keep track of moods so that you can be prepared
- Improves self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence
Basically, while neither journaling or self-care alone should be used to maintain good mental health in place of professional treatment, they’re an amazing tool.
What is a self-care journal?
A self-care journal is any type of journal that works towards improving your mental and emotional well-being.
This means that you can create your own self-care journal from scratch using a dotted, blank bullet journal (like this one from Amazon), or you can pick a journal that already has prompts and activities laid out for you.
A self-care journal helps you reflect, track how you feel, boost your mood, and improve self-awareness, which are all huge aspects of keeping your mindset and mental health in a balanced, healthy, positive place.
If you also buy journals that are specifically geared towards self-care, such as these:
- Self-Care: A Day and Night Reflection Journal
- Self-Care: A Journal for Being Kind to Yourself
- I am F****** Radiant
- A Year of Self-Care
Or any of these self-care journals on Amazon.
Ultimately, a self-care journal is what you make of it. Just the process of journaling in itself is an act of self-care.
This is why I’m so enthusiastic about teaching you how to improve your mindset with journaling in my course Master Your Mindset With Journaling.
It really can transform how you approach life and flip the script on how your mind works.
How to start a self-care journal
Starting a journal for self-care sounds easy, but when you’re not used to venting your emotions onto a page, it can feel daunting.
When something feels daunting or overwhelming, most of us tend to procrastinate and avoid even starting because that feels easier, even if we know that we’ll benefit from just putting pen to paper.
If you’ve tried journaling and not managed to make it a habit, you might be scared that you’ll ‘fail’ again. However, journaling shouldn’t be something that you fear doing, it should be something that brings you relief.
There’s no wrong way to journal.
Turning journaling into a habit doesn’t have to be stressful – nor should it be.
Some of my top tips for starting a self-care journal – or any journal for that matter – are as follows.
#1. Buy a journal
Firstly, you need to buy a journal that you actually want to pick up and write in.
If you like a blank canvas and find drawing therapeutic, you may want to buy a blank bullet journal and design your own pages.
However, if you’re strapped for time or haven’t journaled before, you may want to buy a premade journal that you simply have to fill in.
Either way, I always recommend buying a journal that’s attractive to you that you genuinely want to pick up. The same goes for journaling stationary.
I have a journal gift guide if you want to check out what sort of journals are available.
#2. Set journaling goals
What do you want to achieve with self-care journaling?
Do you want to improve your outlook on life, learn how to deal with negative emotions, or simply track your daily moods?
Think about what you want to get out journaling.
Then, I invite you to make a note of this in the front of your new journal so that you can look back on it.
Once you know what you want to get from journaling, you can figure out what you want to focus on and what journaling techniques you want to use.
Goal-setting gives you a clear direction and puts intention behind your journal practise.
#3. Plan your journal practise
Set out – or at least have in the front of your mind – where you intend to take your journal practice each day.
This way, you’re not left floundering or panicking, not knowing what to write.
For example, you may want to just focus on writing about a self-care journal prompt. Or, you may want to use a prompt and write a short gratitude list.
Later in this blog post, I go over what journaling techniques help with certain areas of your mindset. This is why setting a journaling goal and planning what you want to achieve is useful, as it helps you focus in on what you want to actually do.
If you’re a newbie when it comes to journaling, I would recommend only picking one or two journaling techniques to focus on. For example, journal prompts and goal-setting, or journaling prompt and gratitude.
This prevents you from getting overwhelmed and anxious, and helps you get into the habit of just journaling.
#4. Use self-care journal prompts
If you’re new to journaling or find the idea of practising too many techniques overwhelming, don’t worry. All you have to do is pick a journal prompt and write about it.
By using journal prompts, you save yourself a ton of guess-work, as they point you in the right direction, and therefore save you time and stress.
They’re a great place to start or continue your practise, whether you’re a beginner or not, because who doesn’t need a little guidance?
Journaling doesn’t need to be hard – far from it. It’s supposed to be therapeutic and comforting, not another source of stress.
#5. Just start journaling
As easy as it sounds, when it comes to journaling, the best step you can take is to just start.
Pick up your journal and a pen, pick a prompt, and start writing, or just write whatever springs to mind, no matter how silly you may think it sounds.
By dedicating some time to working on YOU, you’re already practising self-care.
What can you write in a self-care journal to help your mental health?
Now that you’ve figured out where you want to go with your journal practise – for example, improve your mood, relieve stress, or both – you can decide which journaling techniques you might want to hone in on.
Below are some journaling techniques that will help improve your mindset and mental health, as well as other elements of your life, such as confidence and hormone changes.
After practising one or more of these alongside using prompts, for over a month, you’ll begin to realise how valuable journaling really is for your mindset.
- Gratitude: Writing a gratitude list (a list of things you’re grateful for) is a great way to boost your mood and help you think more positively.
- Affirmations: Writing out your affirmations (self-affirming statements) helps boost confidence, self-esteem, and motivation. While affirmations are often repeated out loud or in your head, writing them down as well can solidify them further in your mind.
- Mood (and cycle) tracker: Tracking your moods can be really helpful for your mental health as it can help you gain a sense of perspective over your emotions. It can also be handy as you start to notice patterns. Changes in your lifestyle might make your brain react in certain ways. For example, if you exercise, you might feel that you mood feels lighter the next day. On the other hand, if you’ve had a lot of social occasions over the last week, you might find your anxiety spikes. Over time, you can use your findings to build a positive self-care routine that keeps your mind in a balanced place. If you get periods, it’s also handy to track your moods in relation to your cycle, as hormones can greatly impact our moods. This is useful because you can use this data to report back to your doctor and/or therapist if you feel you need a little extra help in certain areas when it comes to your health, both mental and physical.
- Free-write/vent: Sometimes it feels good to just set a timer and vent onto the page about whatever’s worrying you. This helps with processing emotions and releasing stress.
- Set goals and intentions: Setting daily goals and intentions, no matter how small, helps boost your motivation to face the day and get things done. It can also increase productivity.
- Write a plan of action: When we set goals, it’s motivating (as well as practical) to write out a clear plan of action for each goal. This helps you achieve them and gives you the boost you need to smash them, as it breaks your bigger goals down into bitesize goals that feel more reachable. This prevents overwhelm and boosts motivation.
- Manifestation: If working towards your manifestations makes you feel positive and hopeful, your journal is a great place to do this. Try writing what you want to manifest, your affirmations, and dreams in your journal and see if it helps your mood. If it just feels like another source of pressure, then stop.
I teach the above techniques in my journaling course, Master Your Mindset with Journaling, which is currently open for enrolment.
I’ve been journaling since childhood, but only really noticed a transformation in my mindset when I incorporated the Countdown technique I talk about in this course.
If you’re struggling with your mindset and want to introduce journaling to your self-care routine, check out Master Your Mindset with Journaling.