Motherhood, as beautiful and fulfilling as it is, often comes with its fair share of challenges. In the whirlwind of daily tasks and responsibilities, taking time for self-care becomes essential (though I realize - this is sometimes easier said than done!). One simple practice that has been a game-changer for me is journaling. I discovered my love for journaling during my first postpartum in 2019, when I experienced postpartum depression. I was in therapy and on medicine, and my therapist suggested journaling as an additional tool to help. Turns out - I really loved journaling and my practice stuck - long after the medicine finished!
Now as a mom to two, it’s still a regular part of my routine. I am all about embracing the simple practices that work and I'm excited to share how journaling has played a role in mental health and my motherhood journey. My hope in sharing this is that it might inspire other moms to explore journaling as a simple and accessible self-care practice.
Journaling: A Stress-Relief Ritual
Journaling helps me get what's in my head - OUT - which helps reduce my overall stress. Sometimes it feels like a weight is released when I let it all out and I immediately feel lighter and almost always notice an improvement in my mood afterwards. While you can journal anytime (and I encourage you to find the time that makes the most sense for you!) I journal before bed and it usually helps me sleep better, especially if my mind is racing. And as moms, we need all the quality sleep we can get!
Recognizing Thoughts & Patterns
Through journaling, I've become adept at recognizing my negative thought patterns and the situations that trigger them. I've learned it's always when I'm feeling drained or depleted, which helps me be more mentally prepared on those days that I'm feeling rundown. By acknowledging these patterns, I've found strength in vulnerability, empowering me to address these thoughts head-on.
Processing & Organizing Thoughts
My journal serves as a space for processing and organizing my thoughts. Sometimes, the act of writing alone is enough; other times, it paves the way for meaningful discussions with my husband, therapist, or friends.
A Tool for Growth
When I look back on earlier entries, I can see how some goals I was working towards actually played out, or compare my mindset in the present to the situation in the past. It's such a helpful tool for growth! Not everyone likes looking back on their journal entries, out of fear that it won't show growth, which I also understand. But that's where I recommend looking back with an open mind - what are your earlier entries trying to show or teach you? That's where the growth comes from, even if it isn't an obvious I went from A to B (which in most situations - it won't be!)
Cultivating Gratitude & Fulfillment
Journaling has shifted my perspective, steering me away from the comparison trap (and as the saying goes - comparison is the thief of joy). Regularly writing down my gratitudes has instilled a deep sense of gratitude for what I do have in my life - not what is lacking. This mindset brings about a sense of fulfillment to my day-to-day.
I like to end things on a positive note, whenever possible, which is why I always end a journaling session by writing about something I’m excited for or working towards. Writing out what I'm excited about - whether it's actually happening or something I want to happen - (usually) helps elevate my mood and get me into an excited state for all that's ahead!
If this blog post inspired you to start a journaling practice, here are my quick tips for getting started:
Find a journal that works for you - there are all different kinds out there and what works for one person, may not work for another. I’m all about a simple guided format, because I think it makes the practice easier to maintain, but you might find you prefer a blank notebook!
Find a time that (usually) works for you so that you can build the habit into your routine.
Journaling can be writing down one word or sentence or it can be writing pages upon pages - or a mix of both depending on your mood. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to journaling : )
The beautiful thing about journaling is that it's adaptable; you can do it whenever and wherever you find a moment of peace.
(Note: all opinions are my own and journaling is in no way a substitute for therapy).