For the past 6 months, I've stuck to the same journaling routine for morning, midday and evening. This has become a regular habit I enjoy and rely on, and now has its own tracker in my bullet journal (I also track my violin practise and a bunch of other things)!
Journaling by hand is therapeutic, and gets me away from the screen, my phone and the chaos of life to work through my aspirations, thoughts and dreams. You can read more about the benefits of journaling on my blog (posts dated 13/12/2020 pt.1 and 24/12/2020 pt.2).
Journaling is a personal, private activity for me. I find a comfortable spot in my office, on the sofa or even in bed and I'll make a cup of coffee or pour a glass of wine to accompany me. I enjoy listening to music, so will often opt for an instrumental track by Lindsey Stirling* rather than watching TV (which I find distracting, just like social media!).
*At this time of year, I highly recommend Lindsey's 'Warmer in the Winter' album—festive with positive vibes! >>BUY THE ALBUM HERE<<
Each journal entry takes 10-15 minutes and I can write perhaps 1.5 - 2 A5 pages in total throughout the day—that's roughly 1 double spread. I time and date stamp the entry, and will add additional headings if I journal more than once that day.
My handwriting is messy and I cross things out, scribble and doodle. I ignore the way the pages look because the purpose of this journal is not to be Instagram-ready... these notes are for my eyes only. I'll use any pen and I'm not afraid to spell things incorrectly. I empty my head, then move forward.
At the end of the month, I try to review any progress I've made, similarities and common occurrences. Did I solve my problems? How did solutions come about and develop? What tasks did I complete? What was I grateful for? I also consider if I can do things differently next month, and lay out my workload and anything important as an overview (though briefly, because I have my bullet journal for that).
WHY STICK TO A JOURNALING ROUTINE?
The more regularly you can journal, the easier it will be for it to become a habit you do automatically. It also makes the content easier to analyse, and you can better track regular emotions or symptoms if you're documenting these at a similar time each day. The times in my journal do fluctuate a little, and sometimes I'll journal more often if I need to vent. But, I usually express myself in a morning, around lunchtime and then finally before I go to sleep. This also corresponds with my working and business hours.
MY MORNING ROUTINE
When I wake, I document my dreams. Sometimes I can only remember part of the dream or tiny snippets, so I'll write these down (however random they may seem) just in case I can make sense of them or remember more later. Occasionally, I'll note the names of people that featured in the dream or specific places, if I had a frightening nightmare and if so, what scared me.
I don't attempt to analyse my dreams immediately, not unless it's obvious what the dream meant. Clarity around my dreams is rare until I've sat and thought about them in more depth, so I tend to walk away and return to my notes later with a fresh perspective. But, when I do know exactly what caused the dream and why, of course it is then a priority to get that written down.
MY MIDDAY ROUTINE
Around lunchtime, I'll return to the journal and re-read any dream notes to see if I can spark a memory or make any connections. Now and again, I do manage to gain some insight but I don't judge myself or complain if I can't. The notes are there for reference should the same dream occur in future.
I reflect on my day so far and if I've managed to lighten my workload. I'll note how I'm feeling if my anxiety is troubling me and what my triggers were. If I'm going to miss a journal entry, it's more often than not this one (as food and a cup of coffee is usually more important at this time!).
MY EVENING ROUTINE
I start by spraying my favourite room scent by Temple Spa called Quietude: Calming Mist for Me & My Space. Temple Spa products can be a little pricey, though I do love their room spray, lip balm and Repose night cream. They last a long time, too, but if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out the Tisserand pulse point roll-ons or the Avon Planet Spa sleep mists.
It's evening, so I'm usually in bed and can snuggle up in my pyjamas to document how my day went. This is how I log a miniature time capsule, so one day I can read back through each entry and form a history. It's a way to record happy memories.
Finally, I sign the bottom of the entry GNGB /x (good night, God bless), always ending on a pleasant parting so I can look forward to a fresh start when I wake the next day.
Why not download my free PDF printable and try this daily journaling routine for yourself?
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