How journaling can serve as an important tool in your eating disorder recovery and in self-care. Only one rule: leave your perfectionism behind you.
Today I want to talk about journaling. Journaling was hugely instrumental in my eating disorder recovery (like, would it be too dramatic to say it saved my life?) and continues to be something I do as a form of self-care.
Before we get any further, I want to give you a disclaimer. Here it is. *DISCLAIMER: I know the above paragraph makes it sound like I spend an hour every day, probably in the very early morning, writing lines of deeply insightful content while sipping a green juice, or at least warm lemon water. False. Half the time I can barely read my own handwriting. And I don’t have a set schedule for journaling. I do it when I feel like it. Or when I remember (too late) that writing is my best form of processing. In other words, I do it after I’ve already turned into a hot mess. END DISCLAIMER.*
There. Now you know. That’s not to say I don’t try to block out writing time in my day, but I’m far from being a color-coded, calligraphy whiz journal writer.
If you keep a journal, you probably have your own set of reasons why you journal. Your own journaling style, if you will. Maybe your goal is to look back on and remember important events. Maybe you keep your to-do list in it. Or maybe you’re one of those artistic people who doodles and sketches scenes from your daily life accompanied by a little caption (if you are, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS). Like I said at the beginning, there’s only one rule: leave your perfectionism behind you.
My goal with this is not to tell you HOW keep your journal, but to highlight the benefits of writing your thoughts down. So what’s the deal with journaling? Why is it such an instrumental tool in eating disorder recovery and self-care? Here are four ways journaling can serve you.
It allows you to…
- Express. Vent. Get it all out there without fear of judgement (no matter how irrational that fear is). When I was in eating disorder treatment, I wrote pages and pages about how I felt about eating. While talking through things with my therapist/family/friends was one of the best ways to debrief, sometimes you’re by yourself or just need to get your thoughts out before they’re coherent.
- Process. For me, writing is the number one way I process things. After I’ve spilled my brain onto the page, I can kinda sorta start to make sense of what’s going on as I continue to write. I can begin to answer the questions of “what happened?” and “what am I even feeling?”.
- Reflect. Once it’s out on paper and I know what I’m dealing with, I can reflect. Why do I feel the way I do? What happened before? After? Maybe I had a bout of bad body image thoughts. I can look back and try to figure out what may have caused it.
- Remember. Having a written record lets you go back at any time and access what you were thinking/feeling. You can look back, make connections.
Those are four ways journaling has helped me through eating disorder recovery and in self-care. It’s a space to get out what you need to get out in the moment, without much thought. But it’s also a place to reflect and learn. (Annnnnd you can use a pretty journal and pens!)
I’m planning on writing a post or two more on journaling with some more practical tips and ideas for keeping a journal, if that’s something you’d like to see. You can let me know in the comments or shoot me a message! As always, I appreciate you to the moon and back!
Do you keep a journal? What’s your journaling style?
Linking up for Thinking out Loud!