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Hi everyone! I wanted to pop in to show you one of my most favorite tools in my mental health “tool box”. My journal! I have been journaling for years just in general, but really started doing it for mental health reasons when I was hospitalized back in 2017.
There are different ways you can do this, for example, if you are a minimalist, or really like tech, you can create an online journal. There are many free online journals out there such as http://www.penzue.com or http://www.onlinejournal.com to name just a few. But for me, I like one I can touch. I had been using bullet journals in the past. I really like how the paper feels, and how the ink just glides across the paper. I also enjoy making it my own by doodling or drawing little pictures in it too. I would also section off my journal for different areas of my life that I wanted to track. The problem with this though, was that if I filled up one section before the rest of them, I would have to buy a whole new notebook.
So at the beginning of 2020 I decided to switch it up a little. I was researching journals on Pinterest and shopping for them on Amazon when I came across travelers’ journals. And I LOVED the concept of them! They are small, individual notebooks that are held into one cover with rubber bands. So for me, this was the perfect solution to my problem. If I filled up one section, I could just replace that individual notebook with a fresh one and keep the others still in the cover! Perfect!
Above is a picture of my current traveler’s journal. I like the worn leather with the rubber band and leather piece to keep it closed. I purchased this one on Amazon . I also added the lotus charm to the band to add a little something to it.
Now, like I said, this is my mental health journal, but you can do a journal for just about anything. See some examples below:
- Food journal
- Travel journal
- Sleep journal
- Prayer journal
- Gratitude journal
- Art Journal
Now lets dive into the best part. The inside of my journal. Like most girls, I like pretty things. And I like to make something my own. So on the inside of my journal I added homemade dividers for some of the sections using card stock with pretty scrapbook paper glued to it. I also used cute paper clips and magnet book markers that I had laying around.
I wanted to keep track of a lot of aspects in my life including my journal, so I added many different sections. From front to back:
- mood tracker
- period tracker
- sleep log
- 30 minutes of self care
- personal crisis plan
- dream log
- trigger tracker
- topics for therapy
- yoga poses
At the very beginning of the book I added a pocket for extra rubber bands. Next, I have one whole notebook section just for my journal. Then my mood tracker. This I think is such a helpful tool to have. You can really watch for patterns, and use it for when you have checkups with your doctor. You can see I like to use vibrant colored pens to make it fun. One other thing I love about the travelers’ journal that I forgot to mention is that it still uses the bullet journal paper I love so much! So I get the best of both worlds!
The next sections are my period tracker. It’s helpful to track your cycle for your mental health too. You can see if your mood is changing because of hormones or something else. Then I have my sleep llog. I have insomnia, so I like to keep track of when I actually sleep. I also include naps I take during the day. Following that, I have mantras, affirmations and 30 minutes of self care page.
I use these a lot too. You can find your own that resonate the most with you. I have one on my mirror at home right now that says “Self care comes first.” Because I tend to put self care on the back burner a lot of the time.
The next section is my personal crisis plan in case I am feeling really low. Then I have a dream log because for a while I was having terribly vivid nightmares that would wake me up, or I would act out in my sleep by yelling out things, or hitting my husband without knowing it. So I would journal them so I would remember them to talk to my doctor about. I have since found out it is my PTSD manifesting itself through my dreams. Not cool.
My trigger log is next. This is for things that trigger my anxiety. It’s just good to put a name to them. I think to know what triggers you is half the battle of getting over that anxiety. In the back I have my topics for therapy section. That is stuff I want to remember to talk to my therapist about. I tend to draw a complete blank as soon as I walk into her office, so having it written down is so helpful. Then last but not least is my yoga section. I have some yoga poses that I wanted to remember that are helpful for people with anxiety.
So there you have it. My travelers’ journal! Now like I said, you can put anything you want in your traveler’s notebook. Some of the sections I have may not be a good fit for you, so disregard them or add a different section that makes most sense for you. If you have a favorite journal you use, leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it!