It’s reached that point in the quarter where everything feels especially chaotic. Finals week looms over us just as we scramble to finish up the last of our midterms, projects and papers. We all have to find our own ways to cope with stress, and for me I’ve found that keeping a journal is a big help. Journaling gives me the chance to pause and step back from the fast-paced life of a UCLA student and it can do the same for you. Here are five ways that journals can serve you.
- An emotional outlet
Journaling can act as an emotional outlet. If you need some time alone but you still have that urge to vent, writing out how you feel can be extremely cathartic. Maybe there’s a lot on your mind and you keep spending days and nights overthinking the same things. Writing it all out can help you sort out these thoughts, and when they’re visible on paper instead of scattered in your brain you’ll feel less overwhelmed. Journaling is also a great way to reflect on yourself. Had a bad day? Challenge yourself to practice gratitude by writing down the people and things you’re grateful for, and shift your thoughts to the positive aspects of life.
- A way to get creative
Journaling can be a great way to express your creativity. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with poetry, narrative fiction or any other form of creative writing, journaling is a safe, private way of doing so. But you don’t have to limit yourself to writing. Journals can function as sketchbooks as well if you’d rather manifest your artistic style in this way.
- A practical tool
If you’re looking for a more practical way to apply journaling to your life, consider bullet journaling and the day-to-day uses it can provide. Bullet journals are a popular method for tracking goals and creating schedules. Most of the time, people who bullet journal create monthly and weekly calendars as a productive and creative way to organize important events and tasks, but it can also be used to plan projects, make shopping lists and track fitness goals. Essentially, bullet journals will keep you organized, and making your plans visible will keep you motivated, especially if you spend a little extra time making the pages look cute.
- a Collection of memories
Journaling is also a great way to record memories. Maybe there’s a night that you never want to forget. With a journal, you can write about that time and all of the emotions you felt in that moment. Your favorite memories with friends and family will always be there for you to look back on. Again, journaling doesn’t have to be limited to writing. You could also create a photo journal with Polaroids and printed pictures.
- A way to practice writing
If you’re an aspiring writer of any kind, creative, technical or journalistic, you know how important it is to write everyday. Journaling is a great way to hone your writing skills in a fun and stress-free way. Even if you’re not an avid writer, you can still benefit from writing constantly. The more you write, the more in tune you’ll become with your voice and your style. This could be useful for future essays and applications.
Journaling is a great habit to keep up, but it doesn’t have to take a huge chunk out of your day. Try using a journal once or twice a week and give yourself that space to reflect and relax. Before you throw yourself back into the chaos of college life, allow yourself that moment to slow down. Your mental health and your well-being will be better off for it.