Journaling for Mental Health

Do you journal? To be honest, I do not currently journal which begs the question why am I a journal advocate? There have been times in my life when I did journal. I have notebooks from several significant points in my life where it was imperative to me to keep my thoughts in writing. All these times have one factor in common; I felt out of control, and I needed a way to manage my swirling thoughts and organize them into something that made sense for me.

A time journaling saved my sanity

Let me share one story from a time when I journaled. In 1990, I gave birth to my youngest child, a daughter. I was only 26 weeks pregnant when she was born by emergency C-section because I was very sick, and it was agreed that both of us had a better chance of survival apart from each other. It was gut-wrenching! She weighed 1lb 8 oz. and was 12 inches long. I was so sick I do not remember much of her first weeks until the first day I was declared strong enough to be wheeled down the hall to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to see her.

But just the act of washing my hands and donning a gown and mask wore me out and all I was able to do was look at her through glass and cry all the way back to my room. It was a few more days before I started writing down everything I observed about her and a checklist for myself as to what I had to do to be able to be discharged, and 2 weeks later I went home. My sweet baby stayed in the NICU for 90 more days – every one of them accounted for in my journal. I am happy to say that my tiny baby is now 32 years old. She went to college on academic and athletic scholarships and is currently working on a Doctorate from Baylor University. God is Good!

Why caregivers should journal

As caregivers, we have much to record. We need to keep track of all manner of things for the one we care for from appointments to medicines to supplies. These journals may look more like a checklist, but they are imperative to our control of the situation. If you are caring for someone with memory issues, you may want to record some of their memories or something they may want shared with other family members.

Perhaps your child with special needs has milestones that you are helping them to work towards and you want to keep track of each small win as you inch your way to the big WIN. Or perhaps you need a way to vent feelings without hurting someone’s feelings or a way to talk to God. There are any number of ways to journal and to express your thoughts and track your needs.

So, I encourage you to journal. If you don’t already, I challenge you to consider what area of your life needs some thought control. How can you best be helped by keeping a journal? What kind of journal would work best for you? I have several sample types of journal sheets if you want to give it a try. Soon I will be letting you know about a journal that will be available for sale at What Empty Nest? The goal is to help the caregiver to track and care not only for the one we care for but also tracking care of ourselves.

Try journaling….your mental health may be counting on it!

Similar Posts