Nowadays it’s easy to get caught up in all the things going on outside of ourselves. In my own experience, a work-life balance can easily be tipped to favor the working half of the spectrum. Work-related responsibilities can’t be put off as easily as those of a personal nature, and ever-present social media is basically designed to suck up time and brain-space. Making time for writing can be challenging—especially for 20-somethings who are still finding themselves and their life-partners along with their careers. After a long day, journaling might seem like adding more to an already full plate, but while it may seem like extra work, a dose of daily downtime with your diary can do so much for your well-being and provides:
Journaling provides an opportunity to process and release thoughts. Often times, after a hard or busy day, a good instance of putting pen to paper can usher all the happenings of the day out of your head. After I journal, I find it easier to let the most frustrating things go and to start looking forward to a new day. Journaling can be meditative in that it allows the mind to focus and you might notice after several journaling sessions that you no longer cling to mental and emotional clutter.
Writing for yourself can give you insight into your thoughts and opinions. I have often been in situations in which I felt uncertain of my position until I took time to sort out my feelings in my journal. Taking the time to articulate how you feel and why can make a difference in the way you approach your life and dreams. Clarity isn’t just an aspect of communicating with others: it can help you connect with yourself.
Our families and friends can provide valuable support through the trials that we face in our 20s, but journaling gives us the opportunity to support ourselves. During the process of learning harsh life lessons, it can be easy to neglect our own voices. Writing can give you a place to express yourself and support yourself privately and without the judgments of others. Sometimes you have to be the one to say what you most want or need to hear, and your journal is an excellent place to do it.
How can we learn from our experiences if we don’t reflect? Whether you’re thinking about your week or your entire life, journaling gives you the space to identify what you’ve learned.
Got an idea for a business, DIY activity, or art project? Write it down, expand on it, develop it, take it to places that you never envisioned it going to. There’s no limit to what you can conceive of and the pages of your journal can give you a safe space to brainstorm! Your ideas don’t have to be perfect, sensible, realistic, or correct, but a flimsy idea can easily morph into a great idea if it’s allowed to flourish. Use your journal to get creative!
Journaling is ultimately an act of self-care. It can be easy to distance ourselves from our thoughts and feelings. Many forces and realities of life make it easy to disengage from ourselves, but I find that the best way to know myself is by making time to write in my diary. Like any healthy habit, a bit of a lifestyle change may have to occur to fit journaling into your daily routine, but the more often I write, the better I feel. Once you get into a good rhythm, you may find that you’ll be inclined to seek out time to write for yourself. Happy Journaling!
Veronica Glover is a San Francisco Bay area based novelist and polyglot informed by her pursuit for wellness, a desire to speak to personal and public truths, and valuable experiences earned navigating life as a Black woman in search of her path. She has written and edited for periodicals and publishing companies, while spending a good chunk of time teaching children’s creative writing classes and running cross-country.