With finals week fast approaching, it is important to manage your stress levels in a healthy and productive way. My favorite way to destress is to journal. I find it helpful to clear my mind and to collect all my thoughts during a stressful day. Here are some ways you can incorporate journaling into your routine.
Write a little something every day.
Whether it is a single sentence or a full page, write what is on your mind. I find it most helpful to write in the morning, but many of my friends are most productive at night and journal then. If you are new to journaling, try to incorporate this daily practice into your self-care, morning or night routine. Start small and keep your expectations realistic. If you cannot write every day, that is okay. Try to pick a few days during the week and stick to those days.
For most people, it is not difficult to journal, but it is difficult to stick with journaling. I have started so many journals because I can never finish them. However, I have to remind myself to stay creative with journaling. I would suggest trying a new environment such as a coffee shop, a different room in your home or at a local park. Additionally, you can be creative with the way you write by adding drawings or collaging.
Use for stress management
This journal is written just for you. Get personal and messy. At the end of the day, no one will read your journal but you. Say what is on your mind, and do not apologize if it does not look or sound perfect. I am a perfectionist, so this is a challenge for me. However, it is a good practice for letting go of the little things. If you find yourself having a bad day, pull out an old journal and try to get out what you are feeling on paper. I promise this almost always makes me feel lighter and more relaxed about the stressful situation at hand.
Here are some examples of prompts to get you started.
List three things you are grateful for today.
Write something you are going to do for yourself today and write something you are going to do for someone else tomorrow. (And then do those things!)
List all the things that make you happy, no matter how big or small.
Write a letter to your future self.