In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I’d share with you one of the ways I account for my mental health! Mental health is still a very controversial topic and is disregarded by many. However, it is real and just as important as your physical health. Read on to see how I help my mental health!
From the time I was a little girl, I have tried over and over again to make myself keep a journal. Each journal starts with me saying that I’m determined to write every day, and each journal consists of about three entries.
When this quarantine began, I had the perfect opportunity to create the healthy habits I’ve been thinking about. One of them was journaling. It’s not that I have a lot to write about––truthfully, my day-to-day life isn’t that interesting. No, what I wanted my entries to represent was a reflection on my day, my emotions, and my overall self-growth. I want to hold myself accountable for the goals that I set for myself, and writing down my progress each day helps.
I quickly realized that writing was very cathartic for me (which is funny because I used to hate doing it). I generally start off an entry by describing my day but quickly fall into tangents on topics I didn’t know I had strong opinions about. It could be my thoughts on technology because of a tv show I’ve watched or how I feel about social media because of a conversation I had.
I’ve never really taken the time to analyze my feelings on events that occurred in my life. I generally lock them away in a tiny little box until they explode, which, I know, isn’t healthy. But compartmentalizing is how I deal with difficult emotions, and truthfully, it’s how I’ll always deal with them. This will always be my go-to move because that’s who I am, and I don’t want to change that. But what I do want to improve on is when I let my emotions get the best of me, and writing is my solution!
Until this quarantine, I didn’t realize how much I valued in-person conversations. Yes, we have a lot of technology to keep us connected, but I miss being able to turn to someone at a moment’s notice and say whatever’s on my brain. And honestly, how often can a person text anyways? Jotting down the random thoughts I’ve had during the day allowed me to have conversations with myself. It’s not the same as having a friend around to talk to, but it does give me a few moments of joy right before I sleep. It reminds me of bright moments that occurred during the day, and more importantly, to be grateful for what I have instead of concentrating on what I don’t. I’m reminded of the love and happiness I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by.
But I don’t use writing only as a method to reflect. I also use it as a way to clear my mind. I like to read a book at the end of the day instead of staring at a screen; once I put a book down, a thousand different thoughts race through my mind. Jotting down snippets of these thoughts helps to quiet my mind and sleep a lot better.
Bonus: It’s super entertaining to skim through past journals and see how much I’ve grown as a person. I love to go through old entries and laugh at how dramatic I was as a kid. I would be absolutely devastated if I had received a bad grade or if I wasn’t allowed to go to a party. It’s nice to see that I’ve grown up a little bit :).
Journaling is an affordable and accessible method to improve your mental health. The best part is that you play by your own rules! If you don’t want to write about something, you don’t have to. Plus, it can be done anytime, anywhere, and on anything. You can write in an old, beaten journal, in a bullet journal, or on your phone if you want. And if you don’t like it? Then you don’t have to continue doing it.
What do you do to help your mental health?