A wellness journal is somewhere to set and track your personal goals. It can be focused around the things you’ve eaten, how much you’ve exercised, your mental health and emotions, gratitude, how much you sleep, or a combination of any of the above. You simply set a goal, then record the steps you’ve taken towards it, noting what went well, what didn’t, how you felt, and anything that got in the way.
There are lots of great reasons to write a wellness journal, not least of which is the simple fact that you’ll be taking a little time to focus on you. Writing one will help also improve your ability to reflect on matters, which in turn could make you happier for the things that are going well, and more mindful about your life in general. What’s more, they’re said to be a great way to manage anxiety. There are even studies that suggest that writing a journal can improve your sleep and boost your immune system!
As well as these very real personal benefits, you could feel the positive impact of journaling on areas like your working life, too. The act of writing something down in this way has been known to improve overall creativity, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll gain from seeing everything you’ve achieved will boost your productivity. The ritual of writing your journal will help develop your memory, self-discipline, organisational skills, and the ability to form good habits. Finally, writing a wellness journal will help build self-awareness, which in turn could help improve your relationships with others.
If you want to write a wellness journal, knowing how to start is probably the biggest hurdle you’ll have to overcome. Within a few weeks, the habit will have started to form, and you’ll be in the flow of it – no longer constantly questioning what you should and shouldn’t do. So, let’s break it down for you...
The first step is to find the format that works best for you. If you like to work digitally, there are loads of online tools out there to choose from. Prefer old-fashioned pen and paper? There are just as many pre-formatted journals available. The benefits of both these options is that they’ll have things in place like pre-set boxes to fill and lists to complete – all of which will make your life a little bit easier, as you won’t have to worry about getting it ‘right’. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with grabbing any old notebook and pen and getting started. It’s all about choosing the thing that works for you.
For some, setting a goal or intention will be the exciting part: they already know what they want to achieve and are keen to get going. However for others, who’ve bought into the idea and benefits of a wellness journal but have no idea what to focus on, step two will feel pretty daunting!
If you’re in the lucky first group, simply right down your goal and some of the steps you think you might take to get there.
If you fall into the second group, consider the following statements. If you find an answer to one that rings true, set this as your goal and go from there.
Still no answer? Have a dig around online – the internet is full of advice and ideas on the subject.
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You’ve got your goal, now you need the steps you’re going to take towards achieving it. Taken a step? What was it and how did it go? How do you feel before, during and after? Was it beneficial? If not, what has it taught you for next time? The way you record this information can be very structured or totally free flowing – whatever comes naturally to you. Because if it feels natural, you’re more likely to keep up the habit.
Speaking of habits, writing your journal at the same time will help it embed into your schedule, which should mean that it becomes habitual that little bit faster. And positive habits are a great thing to form.
Be mindful: you need to find a way of journaling that works for you, otherwise it simply won’t stick. Want to write an entry every evening at 8pm? Go for it! Every three days or once a week sound more achievable? Great! Maybe, like Gardens of Eden’s Wellness Instructor, Chinmayi “Julie” Dore, you’d prefer to look back on a month at a time, to see what you’ve achieved? That’s perfect too.
Remember, wellness journals aren’t compulsory. They’re tools to help you gather your thoughts and reflect on your everyday life. Putting pressure on yourself to do more than you can, or getting frustrated when you miss an entry, will defeat the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve. So be kind to yourself – and try not to turn a positive thing into a chore.