5 Self Care Questions to Remember When Journaling

I find that lately, there's been a flood of overwhelming activity that surrounds us as students. It's the end of the semester grind, election stress, enrollment freak-outs, crises about the future, PLUS the pandemic! It’s definitely been a lot. All of this emotional turmoil not only takes a toll, both physically (I’ve been breaking out more than I can count) AND mentally (I’ve also been breaking down more than I can count), but also takes away our focus during a time where we need to be focusing the most. But for me, when it comes to bringing back my attention to things that are most important – prioritizing work before all the stress and emotions – I turn to journaling.

Journaling forces you to take a step back, examine and release all of the thoughts in your head, the good, the bad, the stressful, and the crazy. With a little bit of self reflection, we can often identify what is taking up all of our mental resources and address it. This thought is really empowering. If there is something wrong, I know I have the power to do something about it. To change the way I feel and bring my focus back to what’s important. 

notebook flat-lay with flowers Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

For me, sitting down with an open pen and a blank page is easy. I will let my mind spill its contents, everything from insecurities to random thought bubbles and inner dialogue, like the first droplets of rain in the beginning of a storm. One by one they come until they all crash down and it feels like it won’t stop until they are all gone. But for others, I know this can be a VERY stressful idea. So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 starter questions for you to get started. Questions you can either write down the answers to, or at the very least get you thinking about self-reflection. 

   1. What makes you feel powerful?  

  • This question gets me thinking about the things that I know will help me get back on my feet after spiraling down a tunnel of negativity. Things like powerful music, driving down an empty road with the windows down, playing the song I’ve been working on for weeks, perfectly. Identify what are the things in your life that make you feel like you can gain back that control. It’s within reach, and you just have to grab it. 

   2. Where does ease come from? 

  • ​Now this one is the opposite, but equally as important. It asks you to think of the things that bring you peace when your thoughts are a raging storm that just won’t quieten. For me, ease comes from candle lit bubble baths, sleep, self care, and LOTS of edible cookie dough. Peace is knowing that I am speaking my mind, and doing my best in every facet of my life. Find your ease. 

  3. What are my expectations of myself?

  • I think this is another question of great importance. When you can identify what expectations you, your family, and your friends place on you, it allows you to obtain a clearer understanding of what steps you need to take to become better or what things you need to do to achieve your goal. I want to be a good student, a good friend, a good lover, a good daughter. I want to make myself and the people around me happy and in identifying that, I make sure I do my absolute best to fulfill these expectations.

  4. Gratitude List

  • This isn't necessarily a question, but another journaling activity that serves a great purpose. A lot of the time when stress, overwhelming thoughts, and negativity threaten to take over, they succeed. We often lose sight of the things that are great about our lives. And trust me, little or big, you'll find something to be grateful for. I'm grateful that the sun rises in the morning everyday, and that music is a universal language; that passion drives every human being. I'm grateful for the early morning coffee, birds chirping, and I'm grateful for the people who wake up just to make us that coffee. This list goes on forever… start adding to yours.

  5. Letter to past me

  • When I first wrote this, it was the weirdest activity I'd ever done. A very meta-experience, yet somehow also fulfilling. I found that once I started writing, things I didn't even know I was still thinking about resurfaced. The things that I would've said if I had the chance to talk to the me from 5 or 10 years ago ended up spanning three pages. There was part of my past I felt I let go of in the process of writing this, because in the end it was me, who both wrote and got this letter. Write this letter and you'll be surprised at how far you've come from where you started.

 

All Images are courtesy of Her Campus Media