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The Journal

How to start journalling

Whether it's to express emotions, deal with stress, or to start penning your first best-seller, find out why journalling is a great way to practice a little self-care, every day.

By Lorna McGachie

4 min read

How to start journalling

If you’re anything like us, chances are you kept a diary as a child. You know, the kind you’d get for Christmas with a fluffy, pom-pom tipped pen and a flimsy padlock that even your dog could break into...

But instead of being a silly exercise to pass the time, our diaries were an escape. A chance for us to capture the moments we wanted to remember forever. We’d make detailed notes of anything and everything as soon we got home from school – like what we ate for breakfast to a run-down of the latest hot school gossip. And hands up who practised perfecting the signature of their crush’s surname? Those really were the days.

But journaling isn’t about writing diary entries full of nonsense. Starting a journal in adulthood allows you to create snapshots in time that can help you grow, develop, and see how far you’ve come as you reflect on memories. Journaling can also help you create future goals and create a path that gets you there.

Journaling isn’t an easy thing to start – and it’s an even trickier exercise to stick to. When life gets busy and chaotic, writing is usually the first thing that drops off the radar. That’s why we’re here to help get you started and stick at it. 

Treat yourself to the right tools

Buying the right journal can make writing feel like a pleasure instead of a chore. While there’s no need to splash the cash on an expensive notebook or pricey set of pens, equipping yourself with the right tools is a brilliant way to help you stick at journaling.

Why not treat yourself to a smooth ballpoint pen or emboss a notebook with your initials? This will make your journal feel even more special and personal to you. 

Decide what to write about

The most obvious thing to write about in your journal is the events of your day. Focus on any memorable interactions you had or any problems that came up and how you dealt with them. When journaling, the most important thing is to focus on your emotions and identify things that made you feel strongly – whether good or bad.

There’ll no doubt be times where you won’t have much to talk about. This is when having a bank of topics you can turn to is useful, such as:

  • Goals and plans for the day ahead
  • Weekend plans
  • Achievements you’re proud of
  • Things you need to develop or improve
  • To-do lists for the rest of the week

Find a comfortable place to write

Finding the perfect place to write is almost as important as the writing. You don’t need to scribe at the same spot every night, but finding somewhere that’s quiet and free from distractions allows you to centre your thoughts and concentrate on your feelings. Some people find that clutter helps, while others like a minimal working space. Everyone’s different, so do what feels right for you.

Go to bed earlier
You can write at any time you like, but writing before bed provides the perfect opportunity to ditch the electronics and reflect after you’ve had enough time to process the day’s events. Any anger or anxiety you’ve built up will have had a chance to dissipate, putting you in a better frame of mind to jot down a more balanced analysis. It will also enable you to gain some perspective.

Aim to get into bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual. That way, you can write to your heart’s content without dipping into your precious sleeping hours.

In time, you may want to start writing in the morning, too. If so, allow yourself an extra 30 minutes to write down your most immediate thoughts and feelings when you first wake up. This will also help give your diary entries a better balance.

Don’t force it

Journaling often fails if you feel you have to write. While keeping to a routine can help keep you on track with writing your entries, don’t force it if you’re not feeling it.

Take the day off from journaling or if you’re feeling uninspired, give your mind some time to wander. You’ll be surprised at what random thoughts pop into your head when you least expect them. Even taking a shower or bath can sometimes trigger golden content ideas.

Remember to read and reflect

One of the most rewarding parts of journaling is reading your diary entries back and reliving past experiences. Make sure you give yourself enough time to look back and reflect on precious times before they fade too far from your memory.

Embrace the emotions you feel when reading your notes. There’ll be times when you feel angry, sad or embarrassed about past events, but this is all part of your growth. Use your musings to your advantage by learning from past mistakes and building on the things you were proud of. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but stick with it. You’ll be thankful you did. 

There’s no right or wrong way to journal. But by making small changes to your routine and giving yourself enough time to write, you’ll be more likely to stick to it and reap the emotional rewards journaling brings.

Lorna McGachie

Lorna is a freelance writer obsessed with cats, skiing and hydrated skin. When she’s not yearning to escape to the mountains, she’s busy scouring TikTok for the latest tips on keeping skin hydrated. She also aims to get at least 8 hours of beauty sleep a night and swears by the Sleep Easy Pillow Mist to help her drift off.

Content published by Nature’s Journey CBD Wellness is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health-related programme


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