This is part two in a little series I’ve been writing about journaling. (Read the first post about journaling in eating disorder recovery and for self care here.) In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite journal tips and ideas that have helped me get the most out of journaling while enjoying it. If journaling’s not something you’re interested in, go ahead and skip this post. I’ll catch ya on the flip side!
Let’s dive in!
your journaling style.
What’s your journaling style? Are you a writer and can cram a blank page with text in record time? Do you like to intersperse drawing, charts, or graphs throughout? Maybe you want to glue photos or flowers or that receipt from your favorite coffeeshop in your journal. Maybe you aren’t really sure yet. That’s okay! If you have a general idea, it may be helpful in deciding what materials to use, but if not, keep on rolling.
It always helps to have materials you love. It may take some time and experimentation to figure out what works best for you.
- The journal: hardbound or spiral bound? Huge or pocket sized or somewhere in between?
- Paper style: lined pages or graph paper? Dotted or blank?
- Writing utensils: pen or pencil? (I recommend pen because it lasts, but you do you.) Do you like to draw in your journal? Maybe you want some colored pencils or art markers. If you like to watercolor, that may dictate what kind of paper you get.
But IRL? You can use whatever you have around.
But really, what’s your intent for journaling? What do you want to get out if it? Is it to record the events and details of your life? To help you process through difficult times? Is it a brain dump space for your creative endeavors? A place to map out your schedule or plan your next adventure? If you have a specific goal for your journal, designate it as such. It will help you remember that’s what it’s there for. But be open to letting it change and grow as you change and grow and figure out what works for you.
For me, my journal is a catch-all place. I know that’s what it’s for. I call it that. It makes me much more likely to use it, or even just remember it’s there.
a few random micro-tips.
If you also want your journal to be a catch-all place, you might want to try out using the bullet journal method. It can be as simple as you want it to be and lets you use a single notebook to hold everything in an organized fashion, so you’re never ripping your hair out looking for what you need. I journal a lot annnnnnd I also schedule/plan a lot. A bullet journal works great for both. Check out this link for some starting tips and free printables!
Some bullet journal features I use are:
- an index. This is super helpful and helps you eliminate page wasting. Don’t you hate when you want to start a new section for a new topic in a notebook and aren’t sure how many pages to set aside for it?
- numbered pages. Yes yes and yes. If your journal doesn’t come with numbered pages (my current one doesn’t), you can number them as you go.
- daily log. This is sort of like a to-do list mixed with a log of your day. I like it because I can jot down things that happen or a thought I have without writing out lengthy paragraphs. If I feel like expanding on it, I can do it later. I like to think of my daily log as a place to “pin” ideas, to-dos, and life happenings for easy reference.
Journaling Instagram accounts:
To follow or not to follow? Here’s my take: if you think of them as idea sources, go for it. I follow a few that I really like. But just as with any social media accounts, determine for yourself if it benefits you or just gives you journal envy/guilt. (I’ve had a lotta bouts of both.)
For use in therapy:
When I was in eating disorder treatment, I would routinely take my journal full of questions and thoughts to my therapy sessions. It was so helpful and beneficial to have it written down in one place so I could remember what had come up and talk/work through it with my therapist.
the bottom line.
The #1 thing: Go for it. Write. Get it out there. Grab a half-used spiral bound notebook and a random pen excavated from the depths of your couch cushion. It’s just as useful as a $234235254 journal with calligraphy and Etsy stickers. Pinky promise.
Don’t try to make your journal perfect. If you want it to be ornate and pretty and enjoy that, do it. If not (hi, you’re me), don’t. I occasionally do little things like different fonts (sorta, nothing elaborate) or lines or arrows here and there just to make a page pop. That’s pretty much the extent of my artistic endeavors.
My hope here isn’t to tell you how to journal, but to give you a few ideas that you can take or leave. The main thing is that you’re able to use your journal as a space for self-care, reflection, idea generation, growth, organization…whatever you need it to be.
I would super duper love to see/read about your journaling journey! I may have just written a long post on the topic, but I’m far from perfect and I’m always so grateful for new ideas and outlooks! So basically, feel free to leave a comment, send me an email, or tag me on Instagram.
Lots of love,
What are your journaling tips and ideas?
Linking up for Thinking out Loud!