What is a wellness journal?
And how is keeping a wellness journal different than keeping a regular journal?
A wellness journal is a journal dedicated to keeping track of your wellbeing. Rather than just writing out events of the day or your response to an emotional experience, wellness journals are designed with the intent of tracking a goal or an intention. And this doesn’t just mean logging what you eat or how much you exercise!
A Look at the Whole
A wellness journal helps you look at all areas of your life – from movement to sleep to relationships – and gives you a space to reflect on where you are and where you’d like to be. It also gives you a space to keep track of all the tiny steps that help you get from point A to point B.
One of the main benefits of keeping a journal is tracking. Tracking is more than keeping a checklist of what you did or didn’t do. Instead, you are recording what you tried and how it played out – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Having a record of when you tried something, what you tried, whether it was successful, what got in the way, how you felt during, and how you felt afterwards is one of the most important benefits of keeping a wellness journal.
Knowing what works for you, in your life, is key, and that’s what wellness journals are all about!
How do I start journaling?
Find a Journal
Keeping track of so many things can certainly seem intimidating and make getting started with a journal feel like an obstacle in itself!
Thankfully, there are quite a few journals specifically designed as wellness journals, such as 365 Journal Writing Ideas or The Panda Planner. If those don’t feel right, find a format that works for you. Even a basic, lined journal formatted in a way that makes sense to you.
If you are working towards a specific goal or intention, some key elements to include are:
- My Goal/Intention
- Small steps to get there
- Regular record of what I did
- What did I do?
- What went well?
- What didn’t work?
- What did I learn?
- How did I feel?
If you are simply looking to journal with more intention, find some journaling prompts below.
Make it Routine
Once you have something to write in, the next step is to start journaling. Just like any new habit, this can take some time to integrate into your routine, so be patient and kind to yourself as you get started!
Start by finding a time and a space that you can dedicate to journaling. Set yourself a reasonable goal of how frequently you would like to journal.
If you’re just getting started, remember it doesn’t have to be every day. You can start as small as you need to and gradually increase the frequency with which you journal until you find what meets your needs.
Put it on your schedule until it becomes a habit and a natural part of your routine.
Some people also find it helpful to start by defining what “counts” as journaling. Again, this is unique to you.
If you write just one word, how will that feel for you?
Do you want to dedicate a certain amount of time?
Or, do you want to just sit down and see what comes up?
Allow yourself to experiment with these expectations until you find something that is comfortable for you.
What do I write about?
Once you have a journal, a time, and a place, what do you write about? You!
Wellness journals are all about you, your health, and your wellness journey. To get started, reflect on your intentions around journaling.
What has motivated you to start keeping a journal?
What comes up for you when you think about your own wellness?
Where do you hope keeping a wellness journal will take you?
If a specific goal or vision comes up, this is the perfect place to start your wellness journal. Record your goal, vision, or intention, and consider how you may get there. As you continue to work towards living out your intention, use your wellness journal to keep track of your progress.
Maybe journaling is completely new to you. Maybe you are a seasoned journaler looking for a little inspiration. Maybe you’re hoping keeping a journal will provide some insight into your wellness. Maybe you just feel stuck!
Try some of these prompts to jump into journaling:
- When I think about my life (3 months/1 year/5 years) from now, I hope to be…
- In this moment, I am thankful for…
- The thing I love most about being a mom is…
- The one thing I want my kids to learn from me is…
- To me, wellness means…
- If I could focus on enhancing one area of my life, it would be…
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my sleep and rest a ___. I would like to be at ____.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my relationships a ___. I would like to be at ____.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my spiritual health a ___. I would like to be at ____.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my physical health a ___. I would like to be at ____.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my mental/emotional health a ___. I would like to be at ____.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my self-compassion a ___. I would like to be at ____.
- I feel most at peace when…
- My intention for this (day/week/month/year) is…
- I feel…
- A balanced and well life looks like…
- When I picture myself at my optimal wellbeing, I see…
- I started journaling because…
- I am motivated by…
- I am…
Getting started with journaling doesn’t have to be intimidating. Start small. Be kind to yourself as you try something new. And think of all the insights you’ll have in one place at this time next year.