Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

I Journaled for an Entire Month, and This is What I Learned

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

Since I had a lot of freedom over the summer, I wanted to use that time to try to implement some new habits into my life. One of the habits I decided to try was journaling. I find that I always have a lot of things going on in my head, and I wanted to find a place where I could express my thoughts. A lot of people tell me how much they love journaling, but I never really understood all the hype around it. When I used to think of journaling, I thought about the “dear diary” concept, which I always thought was a bit cheesy, but after pushing myself to journal for an entire month, I’ve now come to realize that it is so much more than that!

How/What Did I do

So, in order for me to complete this goal I set to try journaling daily, I had three different outlets I used for journaling, and I journaled about a variety of different things. The first outlet I used was the 5 Minute Journal. You’ve likely seen this journal appear on your social media feed as a lot of lifestyle creators used this journal. It’s a gratitude journal, where each morning, you spend 5 minutes writing 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things you want to accomplish, and 1 word of affirmation to start your day. Then, at the end of each day, write 3 things you did that day that made you happy and 1 lesson that you learned. I started this journal in March and used it a few times, but then my schedule got full midway through March until the end of April, so I had a hard time focusing on it. When it came to completing my goal, I knew that this journal would be a great starting point. My second outlet was a notebook. This was just a simple notebook that I purchased at Staples for school but did not get around to using during the year I got it, so I decided to use it as my general journal for things that weren’t related to gratitude. While I thought I would not use it very much, I ended up using it a lot for goal setting, brain dumping, brainstorming, and weekly reflections. Finally, I also used an app called Finch. Finch is a free self-care app where you get to take care of a little bird. As you complete daily goals and reflections, your bird gets energy so it can go on adventures, and you can earn money to buy clothes for it. This app was essentially a digital combination of the 5-minute journal and my notebook. Some reflections on it that you can log include Morning/Afternoon/Evening reflections, a variety of different brain dumps including “rant zone” “regroup time” and “Hype Machine” as well as other question-based journaling prompts such as “your inner voice”, “adulting”, and “friendships”. Finch also has acts of kindness, movement and breathing techniques, soundscapes, and even a first aid tab to help relieve stress and anxiety. I still have yet to really delve into those sections, but I love using the app to track my tasks and journal on the go.

What I Learned

Brain Dumps are your best friend

Whenever I had way too much going on in my head, I completed a brain dump to just let out all of my thoughts. Sometimes I would do these as bullet points on Finch, or I would write paragraph responses to just let out all of my thoughts. Sometimes I would brain dump for over an hour, not even realizing how long I was journaling for. After completing these brain dumps, I found that I felt more refreshed and in a better mood and ready to continue my day. They also put me in a calm state and allowed me to start focusing on what mattered.

I Have Become more Mindful

Thanks to my gratitude journal, I have found that I’ve started to look more atf the smaller things in life. Having to write just 3 small things that I’m grateful for has made me think about all of the different things that I am lucky to have. It’s also made me be mindful of the little moments I get, like laying in my bed first thing in the morning or having a really good meal.

 I Became more Aware of What I Need

I have always been notorious for burning myself out and have realized from reflecting that I need to take time to relax and do more things that I love. Life is more than just work and school, so I need to take more time for myself.

 It Has Helped Me Become more Productive

Going along with my previous point, I found that journaling has helped me to become more productive. As part of my journaling challenge, I set goals for the month. By setting these goals, I found that I have not only become more productive in my work life but also in my personal life. For example, I set goals to be more social and to read more, and I found after setting those goals, I was able to focus on completing them, and I’m really proud of myself for that.

I Felt Naturally Happier

I experienced a couple of lows during the month, but I found that journaling helped to improve my mood. When I was sad, journaling helped to calm me down and made me smile, and when I was happy, journaling made me even happier!

 I Gave More

This last month, I gave a lot for others. This is something that I don’t typically do. Still, I paid for multiple people’s dinners and bought gifts for people I typically don’t buy for. While this may not happen every month (because I don’t think my bank account will allow it), I found that not only did journaling make me mindful of myself, but it also made me mindful of the people around me.

So, turns out, journaling is not just diary writing after all. It helps you boost your mood, be more mindful, and improve your lifestyle. So, if you’ve thought about trying journaling, do what I did! I can guarantee you’ll see results after your first month!

Mya Bezaire is the Co-Campus Correspondent at the Her Campus UWindsor Chapter. She is responsible for overseeing all administrative aspects of the chapter, from member onboarding to article scheduling. Prior to this, Mya was the social media director (2021-2022), and she currently still helps with posting on social media. She also is a writer who’s content typically focuses around career development, entertainment, and self-care. Beyond Her Campus, Mya is a freelance digital marketer for her own business titled Market with Mya. As a freelancer Mya has worked with small-to-medium business clients based in Canada & the US to help elevate their digital presence through content creation, social media management, and design. Currently, Mya is a Senior at the University of Windsor in Communication, Media, and Film, with a minor in Information Technology. Mya is also the president of the Communication Student Association, where she oversees all marketing & events efforts to create a vibrant space for Communication Students on campus. In her free time, Mya loves immersing herself in TV and Film. She’s a reality TV junkie but also loves a good romcom or thriller-drama. She also loves prioritizing her wellness, and you can often find her journalling, listening to her fave podcasts & YouTubers, or going on a hot girl walk.