With midterms and exams coming up this month the feeling of overwhelming, panic, frustration is very common. Messed up sleep schedules and 5 cups of coffee won’t be a help either. In fact, these really take a toll on our mental health and wellbeing. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget to take care of yourself amidst all the new pressures. When managing your time make sure you account for necessary things like food sleep and simple self-care activities.
One of my all-time favorite self-care activities that have helped me understand myself and my thoughts worries and stresses more clearly is journaling.
This practice simply refers to penning down your thoughts and feelings. These can be guided where you follow a prompt or can be a brain dump where you write whatever comes to your mind no matter how significant it is. In my personal experience, I have found journaling to help me understand and cope with my trauma by helping me understand where I am gaslighting myself. It can help you clear your head, make important connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and even buffer or reduce the effects of mental illness!
The long term and short term benefits of journaling include:
- Boost your mood/affect;
- Enhance your sense of well-being;
- Reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam);
- Reduce intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma;
- Improve your working memory (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).
It might be a little awkward at the start where you just do not know where to begin.
Here are some prompts that might help you start. You just start by answering these questions:
- Was it a story of comfort for you? Did it reassure you of something? Was it a familiar tale, with which you felt a connection? Did it make you forget bad times? Did it make you remember great times?
- When was a time you felt really content? Describe the situation and surroundings during this time.
- Take your pen and just start writing the first word that pops into your head. Now, keep writing. There is no need for periods, commas or capitalizing.
- Write a letter to your future self.
- Take your journal outside and find a comfy spot. If it’s cold outside, just bundle up! Write about what you see, hear, feel. This is a good form of meditation. It slows you down, helps you see details, and is a great way to stay in the moment.
More prompts can be found on 30 Self Care Journal Prompts To Improve Mental Health – Put The Kettle On, 32 Journal Prompts for Self-Reflection and Self-Care, 142 Self Care Journal Prompts For Self Discovery, Self Love, and Wellbeing (mamafindsherway.com)
I hope you all take time out for yourself and keep journaling!!