Creating a journal is a great way to write down your thoughts and feelings, to release any unnecessary emotions that are causing you mental and emotional harm. It is also a good way to keep yourself grounded and sane, especially when you a stranded at home during the lockdown fluctuation. If you want to begin a journal but do not know how to start or what to include, here are some things you may want to consider incorporating in one.
How your day has been – A pretty simple one but you will have a variety of days with different outcomes and it is important to note it down. When you have a bad day, note every single thing that has made you angry or upset, even if it only seems minor or petty. Actually putting it onto paper instead of keeping it stored up and leaving it to build will make you feel lighter. On the other hand, writing down everything that has made you laugh or feel happy can help you create a visual comparison of how good things outweigh the bad. Also, writing down what happened during your amazing day can be used as a good tool to make you feel happy during your bad days. You can look back at that particular day and feel better knowing not every day is going to feel like what it does right now, and you have more good days to come.
Feelings – Writing down feelings can help you understand them better. When writing, you may want to include a reason to make your writing clearer, so you will have to take time to figure out why you feel that way. This will be helpful to people who may get confused with their emotions or do not want to confront the real reason why they feel that way, which may be considered unhealthy. Like I wrote in the previous paragraph, putting emotions onto paper will make you feel better as you will not feel tense. Some may like to think that writing things down transfers them from their mind and onto paper. Then, they do not have to carry all the negative thoughts anymore and you can move on.
Photographs – Bring out your inner child and get the glue and scissors ready. If you have any images from an anecdote you are telling or anything that is relatable, why not include them? Break up the text and add some visual context. Photos may help you appreciate the story more; seeing the faces or things that made you smile and cheerful will make you feel untroubled on a bad day. Again, like writing down your good days, images will remind you that life will not always be so gloomy and there are good times in your life. You can also portray what you have to see in words using images. You know what they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Trinkets – Say you have had an amazing day on a coffee shop date with your partner or friend (at an appropriate social distance) and you want to remember it, keep the receipt and include it in your journal. Like with the images, a trinket may add visual context to your anecdote. It will be a reminder that that day did actually happen, an especially good thing to be reminded of if you are feeling down due to the lockdown situation.
Messages you want to tell people – Sometimes a particular message that you want to tell someone in your life can be hard to write or say to them directly. So why not write it down first in your journal? Use it as a way to practise what you need to say to this person, write it over a couple of times until you have perfected exactly what you want to convey. Or, write it down and simply leave it there. Some things are better left unsaid but if you really have that itching urge to say something then write it down. Over time, the need to give this message may pass but having it in the journal will soothe the irritation of not saying anything. Perhaps it is a message to someone that has passed, being in your journal means it will always be a secret message between you and the soul watching you from above.
Future goals – Dedicate a page or two to goals that you want to accomplish in the future. These could range from very minor things like fixing the leaky tap, to going skydiving. Having goals gives you something to look forward to in life, they are things that you can build up to and work your way to. Setting yourself smaller goals that you can achieve more easily may make you realise that you can do the things you set your mind to. They may give you the motivation to carry on with the life you are living, or perhaps even motivate you to start the change you have always wanted. Another way to use to journal is to help you manifest. Writing down your future desires can help visualise them and encourage your imagination, thus aiding the manifestation process.
Decorations – If you have read any other of my similar articles, you would know that I love to stick decorations on anything. It is not just for the aesthetic of having a pretty looking diary but it gives you an activity to do, something to take your mind off of a troublesome day; another purpose of the journal. Add images or little doodles to illustrate anecdotes or points you are making, it may portray them as more comical light and it could lighten those heavy emotions you may be feeling. A journal does not have to necessarily used for writing, bring out your inner Van Gogh by drawing some amazing sketches and use art as a form of release. Do not feel insecure about your artwork either, this journal is for your eyes and your eyes only. They could be simple drawings like those in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid (written by Jeff Kinney) books.
Trackers – By a tracker, it would be for things like revision, sleep or meals. If aspects of life like those are areas that you struggle in, keep a track of it so you can see how much progress you have made or areas you may need help in. Sleep can be tracked using apps and smartwatches nowadays, although not everyone has access to those or wants to use them. Another thing to keep track of is money. Spending and finance is a problem area for many students, so keeping track of what you are earning and spending can help you see where you may need to cut back. Trackers may be a good way to keep yourself grounded and not let you lose yourself in some aspects of life or get too carried away and end up in trouble.
These are only just a few of the things that you can include. If you have any more suggestions, please let us know on our Instagram @thestudentaspect.