Sometimes you know exactly what you want to write in your journal, and sometimes you need a little help to get going. Journal prompts come in handy for times like that. In this post I’ve got 11 journal prompts for you to use when working on self-acceptance.
What are my strengths?
What are my values?
If I wasn’t afraid, I would _____.
What does my inner critic tell me? How am I wrong?
10 things that cheer me up are …
If I could tell my past self anything, I would say _____.
What am I proud of?
My best personality trait is _____. Why?
Tape a picture you love of yourself into your journal . Why did you pick this one?
10 interesting facts about myself.
What three words would my closest friends use to positively describe me?
If you like this idea, let me know and I can make more lists of journal prompts.
New here? Wondering why you’d want to journal? Curious but not sure how to get started? Check out these links and see what you think.
If you like the idea of keeping a journal on the computer or your phone, you have plenty of options. In fact, you are bound to find a perfect match no matter what your preferences. I was amazed at all the electronic alternatives to a paper journal.
I’ve separated the options into seven main categories: on the computer, a private blog, an online journaling site, web apps, note applications, distraction free writing apps, and phone apps. Honestly, many of the options I found span more than one of these categories, but I’m splitting them up to make choosing a bit easier.
Your options on the computer
These are kind of obvious, but I never thought of it. If you want to keep it super simple and just get your thoughts down, the Notepad or Microsoft Word apps work great. You can even password protect the document to keep it super private. The process for setting a password is different for each program, but it is easy enough to look up.
Any office suite works well, and if you are already using one for work, you should stick to it so your stuff is all in one place. If you are looking to install one, there are many choices other than Microsoft Office. That isn’t my specialty, so here is the link to 9 of the Best Free and Low Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office. I’ll let them cover your options.
If you really want to put your journal online, a private blog might be just the thing for you. This option is appealing if you would like the opportunity to selectively share your journal, or enjoy having many choices for personalizing it. Choose from one of these popular blogging sites, and make sure you set the privacy settings to private:
These sites are designed to be a personal journal. A couple of options are Penzu, 750 words, and 280daily. The site that wrote those articles also wrote this one naming some more options . You will find 5 personal journals mentioned in the article 7 Best Free Online Private Diary Sites. The other two ideas listed are blogging sites I’ve already mentioned. I found more ideas at Top10Reviews, which has more specific suggestions. If you want an electronic alternative for a travel journal, food journal, therapy journal, etc., check out their article.
If you would like to have access to your journal anywhere you go, online apps might work better. These are different from the journaling sites in that they are online office suites and used for many purposes.
Google Docs is a good example of this. You can use it on any computer and also on your phone. While Google Docs is well known, there are quite a few other options. PC Mag has a great round up of The Best Office Suites of 2017 which covers both PC and Mac options. If you already use an office suite for work, you might want to also use it for journaling to keep things simple.
Another option would be one of many note applications. Evernote is a popular one. I recently started using it, though not for journaling, and I love how many choices it has for input.
A phone app makes sure you can make an entry to your journal anytime and anywhere. There are a bunch of options available for both Android and Apple phones/tablets, but not all of them are worth the download. Mark Krynsky, who wrote the article Top 5 Smart Journal Apps, has great criteria for judging a good smart journal. Check out his article for some solid apps to choose from.
If after all that you still aren’t sure what the right choice is for you, try clicking on one or two from each category until something catches your eye. Give it a try for a week or two and see what you think. It doesn’t hurt anything to keep trying new ones until you find the right match.
And, if you aren’t someone who wants to keep an electronic alternative, stay tuned. I’m working on a post about some great pen and paper options for those who like to keep it old school. Be sure to subscribe so you see when my next post is here!
Stress is at an all time high lately. There is so much going on in the world and not a hell of a lot we can do about it immediately. That’s why self-care is even more important now. So how do we perform self-care during high stress? I’ve got 8 suggestions for you below.
I’m not going to rank these, but if I did, I would put sleep first. Getting enough sleep makes a big difference in mental and physical health. You can find sleep hygiene tips in this post. Proper sleep hygiene can make it easier to fall asleep and to get a more restful sleep. The more restful sleep you get, the lower your daily stress levels will be, and that means you will be able to deal with extra stress even better.
Make time to relax
This is the most obvious tip and yet possibly the hardest one to do. When there is so much to do it can be really hard to take time out for relaxation. Don’t let yourself feel guilty though! It is very important to make sure you get down time to relieve stress. Taking even 15 mins a day to do something fun for yourself is beneficial.
Being online, we are inundated with so much news. Seeing story after story of bad news is hard on us mentally, so try to either limit your time online, or set aside some screen-free time before bed to allow yourself to unwind. Alternatively, you can filter your feeds and limit the news you are exposed to that way.
Don’t forget to eat. If you aren’t feeling hungry, be sure to remember to eat at regular intervals anyway get at least 3 good meals in each day or go for 6 small meals if that works better for you
Be sure to not leave out any food groups unless directed by a doctor. If you are like me, and struggle to get fruits and vegetables in, look for ways to add them to your snacks.
Ask for help
Delegate housework, hire out household jobs, etc., and get help in any area you can. Call on your support system, and let them know what they can do to relieve some stress.
Also consider seeing a therapist to help deal with extra stress. A good therapist is wonderful to talk to, and can help you with coping skills.
Check in with yourself
Daily ask yourself how you are doing are your needs are getting met? If not what can you do to fix it? You might do this by writing in a journal, or just by making some lists.
If there are needs you are unable to meet right now, recognize it and let yourself know you will address it as soon as you can. Make a note for yourself, so you don’t put it off longer than necessary.
Scale back and prioritize
Does everything on your to-do list have to be done now? Write it all out, and decide what is important and urgent, and focus on that first. Anything less important, but still urgent, try to delegate. Things that are unimportant and not urgent can wait.
Know your limits and don’t let anyone push you past them. Whether it’s emotional, physical, mental, etc., we all have lines we need others to respect and not cross. If you aren’t sure what yours are, I have worksheet here you can check out, or you can go to this website to read more about finding and setting your boundaries.
In high stress times, you need to increase your self-care efforts, and I hope these suggestions give you ideas on how to step up your personal self-care. Do you have steps your take that I didn’t include here? I’d love for you to share!
Journaling is a wonderful way to keep track of your thoughts, memories, and many other things. I was surprised at just how many different ways there are to journal. I chose eight of them to share with you here, but there really is no limit to the way you can use a journal.
A gratitude journal is commonly suggested in self-help and mental health circles. Keeping a journal focused on gratitude is recommended for anxiety and depression, as a part of a mindfulness practice, and for anyone looking for more peace and happiness. You can approach this journal in a few ways, but a popular way is to sit down each evening, and write what you are thankful for that day. For more info and ideas try 5 Steps For Creating A Gratitude Journal and The Ultimate Guide To Keeping A Gratitude Journal.
Tracking dreams is another common way to use a journal. You keep a dream journal next to your bed, and write your dreams as soon as you wake up. Keeping a record of your dreams can help you find a pattern, and perhaps help you understand why you are having those dreams. Check out Why You Should Keep A Dream Diary and 7 Tips For Keeping A Dream Journal to learn more.
Are you a big reader? Keeping a reading journal allows you to do more than keep track of the books you’ve read. You can list out books you want to read, reflect on your thoughts and feelings about them, lessons learned, and more. How To Keep A Reading Journal lays out the steps concisely. You can also print out The MMD Printable Reading Journal for some easy customization.
You don’t have to be a big traveler to keep a travel journal. Whether you keep an ongoing journal for all of your adventures, or just keep one for a single very special trip, this kind can help you keep your traveling memories all in one place. Travel Journal Ideas: How To Hold On To Your Memories has fantastic tips and suggestions to get you started.
As I’m sure is obvious, this method has a broad use. Like any planner, you can use a planning journal for daily use, weekly, monthly or yearly. You can also use a journal to plan specific events. For examples, check out bullet journals. They have great layouts for daily, weekly, and monthly.
Keeping track of any kind of projects (home improvement, crafts, redecorating, hobbies, etc.) is a great use for a planning journal. Having one place to keep track of your ideas, plans, receipts, successes, and mistakes is really handy. In addition, if you need to look back for any reason, you will have everything right there to see. This YouTube video lays out one way to do it and is a nice example.
Specific Time Period
Instead of having an ongoing journal, you can use one for a very special event/time. Some possibilities I could think of were: wedding, birthdays, senior year, college, and pregnancy. Any event, or time period, that you find important enough to record is perfect for this journal.
Basically, if there is anything you want to remember or track there is a way to journal it. The only limitations are that of your creativity or searching skills. Feel free to link below if you have written about your own journaling and would like to share. 🙂 I’d love to hear how you use a journal.
Someone recently asked me what this quote means to me. Why do I believe these words are true? Although the question surprised me, I thought it was a really good one. I gave them an answer after some consideration, but I really wanted to expand on those thoughts further here.
Why are we worthy of love? What makes me agree that love isn’t something we should need to earn? To me, when a child is born, they deserve love. We would never think to withhold love from them until they earned it. So, why do we think there is some arbitrary age that we suddenly do need to earn love?
Studies prove that love is as much a necessity as food, water, and oxygen. While we can all agree that it is wrong to withhold these life essentials, we tend to think that we don’t deserve love unless we prove ourselves. Love really is essential to our lives though. Of course it starts in infant-hood, and can make a big difference in how the child thrives or doesn’t. The idea is further pointed out in this blog:
As infants and small children, our first task is to get at least one of our parents to love us enough to meet our needs for sustenance, but also touch. With rare exception, the love and safety hormone, oxytocin, is released into our mother’s body, concentrating the focus of her attention on us … and this loving attention releases the same hormone in our body, ensuring we survive. As critical as food, shelter, sustenance are to our survival, they do not suffice in the early months and first years. Babies do not physically survive without love.
As studies of attachment show, infants and small children actively seek a love bonding with their caregivers. To live, newborns must form some type of bond, regardless whether it feels relatively secure or insecure, with their mother or a “mothering” person, at least one.
Later on, love is still very important. This article points out how our brains actually prioritize it over sex.
While many women may be convinced men’s brains are wired more powerfully for sex, Fisher says there’s evidence men are also powerfully wired for romance.
“Men fall in love faster than women do, because men are so visual,” she notes. “And three out of four people who kill themselves over love are men, not women.”
Fisher adds: “You know, this is a powerful drive, and an essential part of humanity. … It would be very unadaptive if men didn’t fall in love just as powerfully as women.”
You are worthy of love.
This quote puts the responsibility of you on you. It does not say you are responsible for proving love to others. Instead, you are responsible for searching out love for yourself and surrounding yourself with people who are able to provide it.
In other words, while all people do deserve love, this quote is not saying you have to provide it. If someone is a toxic presence in your life, it is okay to love them from a distance. It is their responsibility to find someone who can give them the love they deserve, and there is nothing wrong with that person not being you.
This is where self-love comes in to play. Knowing that you are lovable and worth taking care of will allow you to regulate who you have in your life. It is much easier to release negative people, who you may still love, from your life when you know that it is ok to take care of yourself first. Re-evaluate people in your life who do not add positivity and support. Give serious thought to either cutting them out, or at least scaling way back on how much they are allowed to have influence in your life. I’ve written more on self-love here and here.
Humans are social animals, and can not thrive without outside interaction. In fact, studies have been done showing how damaging solitary confinement is to humans. We are also wired to need to belong as mentioned in this post of mine. How can anyone think that love is not also wired in as a need and therefore something we do not need to earn or deserve? No, I’m sure you are worthy of love.
If you have any additional thoughts on this subject, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email. I’d love to hear from you!
Note: I want to thank the writers from the Westwind Recovery blog for guest posting today. I hope you enjoy their informative post on self-love during recovery.
Learning to love yourself after dealing with addiction is a slow but critical process that allows you to grow as a person. During treatment, you worked through difficult issues that led to your substance abuse, and you have conquered many painful events from your past. Now, it is time to show yourself a little love for all that hard work, and these six ideas will jump-start your efforts at self-improvement.
Spend Time with Your Pet
There is nothing like an animal for teaching you how to love unconditionally. Whether you own a dog, cat or fish, they do not care about the things you might have done in your past. All that they care about is enjoying your love in the present. Make sure that your new sober living arrangements allow pets so that you can bring your pooch or kitten along with you. Spending time stroking your pet’s fur helps to alleviate stress, and you will learn valuable lessons about what it means to have a companion who is willing to stick by your side.
Surround Yourself with Understanding Friends
Letting go of your friends from the past might have been necessary as part of your recovery. While it might be tempting to just live life alone, you should remember that loneliness can be a trigger for relapse. Find people who understand what it means to live with an addiction, and begin putting together a support network that includes a variety of types of people. Whether you meet with a mental health counselor once a week or enjoy chatting with your sober housemate, giving yourself people to open up to is a wonderful way to show yourself that you are valued by others.
Challenge Yourself Physically
Learning how to manage stress is one of the biggest gifts that you can give yourself. Make sure to treat your body with the respect that it deserves by making exercise a regular part of your routine. You can also turn your exercise routines into a mental boost by incorporating challenges into your workouts. For instance, you may choose to master surfboarding for the summer, or you could set reaching a new distance for your hikes as a goal. Hitting your goals will give you more confidence, and your body will quickly respond to your self-love by getting stronger and healthier.
Nurture Your Body with Healthy Food
Recovery is hard on your body, and you might have ignored your nutritional needs while you were dealing with addiction. Start exploring new ways to prepare healthy ingredients that are as delicious as they are nutritious. Consider pairing up with a housemate who loves gourmet cooking, or you could take a class from a nearby chef. Providing your body with the fuel that it needs to function at peak capacity is an important part of loving yourself, and enjoying a tasty meal is just a great way to start and end each day.
Learn Your Favorite Ways to Relax
Indulging in a few pampering sessions is warranted when you have gone so long fighting to get sober. While you can do your best to minimize stress, the truth is that life still goes on. Make sure to have a few tools in your plans for handling times when it feels impossible to relax. Jump in the hot tub, soak up the sun at the beach or just gather around the fire pit for some laughs with your friends. Your mental outlook will change once you discover that it’s possible to relax while you are living a sober life! Once you have a few favorite tricks up your sleeve, make sure to indulge in a pampering session at least once a week. You can even plan five-minute relaxation breaks such as rubbing lotion on your hands or inhaling an essential oil such as lavender so that you can fit little mini-breaks throughout your day.
Keep a Journal of Your Progress
During times of discouragement, remember that you can be your own best friend. Start a journal now that documents your progress, and don’t be shy about listing your achievements. From jotting down a quick note about that random act of kindness you performed at the store to creating a list of the times you made it through a craving, reading back through your shining moments gives you a light to use during times of darkness.
At first, it may seem selfish to show yourself love. Yet, you must nurture your body and spirit if you want to be a better person who can also help others. Use these six ideas as a guide to get started, but keep adding to it as you find out more about what makes you feel best. Then, be sure to share your strategies with others who may need a little boost along the way to a strong recovery.
I’ve written about the basics of self-care before. (See posts here, and here, and here) I’d like to dig a bit deeper today. Self-care in the media tends to be spas, baths, and face masks. There is much more to it. We need to make sure to care for our whole selves. This means we need to make sure we have our physical, mental, and emotional needs met. Whole self-care can make sure no part is neglected.
Neglecting any of these parts will leave you feeling off, drained, or like something is missing. It can be hard to track down just what is wrong when you are applying self-care, just not covering all the bases.
What type of things do you do for self-care already? Write them all down, in the above categories if you can. Look them over. Do you seem to have a shortage of any category? Is there a larger focus on another?
If you are unsure how to define some of your activities, or just short on actions in one or more groups, check below for ideas:
Daily, enjoyable activity
Basic hygiene: shower, wash hair, skin care, etc
Get enough sleep
Eat enough and a variety
See doctor as needed
Take medication as needed
Play with a pet
Have quiet time daily – use it to pray, meditate, or what ever quiets your mind
Learn something new
Cultivate your own hobbies
Turn of phone notifications for a time period
Talk to a therapist
Listen to music
Do a craft
Have time out with a friend
Go on a date
Keep a gratitude list
Do extra self-care activities that pamper you: spa days, face masks, flowers for yourself, etc
Call a family member or friend to talk
Cuddle a pet
Of course this is just a small list of suggestions. There are hundreds of different ways to do self-care, and many can go in more than one category.
I hope you have 3-5 ideas written down under each type now. You don’t want to have too many and get overwhelmed. If you already have a routine for some, it won’t be hard to add a few more though.
Whole Self-Care Plan
Now you are going to want to plan a week. Under each day, make sure you have at least one thing from physical, mental and emotional written down.
Monday- go on a walk, go to painting class, call mom
Tuesday- dance to music, get coffee with BFF (notice the “dance to music” can cover both physical and mental)
By making sure you have at least one out of each category, you are never going to totally neglect any part of your self-care. When you look over your plan for the week, pay attention to the overall balance. Do you tend to focus more on one area over the others? Is it just one kind of self-care that gets left out? If so, try to add a few more activities from that group into your week.
Overtime, practicing whole self-care, or using a more balanced approach, is sure to make you feel better over all. You will notice it isn’t just the area that was neglected that will improve, but every part of your life will feel more balanced and cared for.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments or feel free to email me at email@example.com . Also, please join us over at Growing in Self-Acceptance! We are a growing Facebook group forming a community meant to support each other as we grow in our acceptance of ourselves.