Self Care Journal How To

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This past Winter I started a Self Care Journal and it was one of my best self care decisions so far. Maybe you’ve heard of this type of journal: a blank notebook (I used a Moleskin) for creating a personal space that’s all about your well-being. Even though I do not work fulltime anymore and I might have more time than you do, I still found it very hard to take good care of me. With this book it just got a little easier and a lot more fun if you have an underused creative side.  

Workbook for self care

A Self Care Journal is a beautiful blank notebook for drawing, writing, handlettering, painting, pasting, anything you like really. It’s a combination of the now popular art journal (an illustrated diary) and a kind of therapeutical workbook. Therapeutical because you are working on yourself. And not just work: it’s a fun way to pay more attention to yourself and to what you (your body and your mind) needs.

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Self Care

‘And what is self care really?’ you might ask. Self care is paying attention to your body in a loving and kind way. You can do by taking time for yourself to meditate, journal, bathe, get a massage, have a cup of tea… and by working in this notebook (if you are a bit of a creative, otherwise it would just be annoying yourself). In the journal you write, draw and paint about anything that would be good for your self care routine. It could be in the form of tips, lists, drawings, notes, pictures, anything that inspires you really. And while you are creating this journal, you are in the middle of self caring. You allow your mind to wander free with this little book as a creative outlet.

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Why you need some self care

I notice I can be quite hard on myself. My expectations are sky high and I don’t have the tendency to say ’this is good enough’ often. Even when I’m in pain or exhausted I still push myself to the limit instead of surrendering and giving my body what it needs occassionally: some self love and some well deserved rest. I’m always in my head and I have tons of items on my to do list that I’d like to finish asap. If I fail, I blame myself with some extra tough love. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Workweeks only went up the past 50 years, lots of Americans don’t even grant themselves a holiday and in our spare time social media and Netflix take over precious time to really unwind. This journal gets you out of your rut, out of your head and into how you feel: what your body is telling you. Make a list with things your body needs to unwind, empty your head by writing down every thought that’s been occupying your mind for weeks now (and leave it in the journal) and create a list of inspiring books to get you through the tough days. Anything that helps you, really.

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Self compassion

Self compassion has gotten more attention in the last couple of years, not in the last place because of the books by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer about this subject. Self compassion is also a form of self care. It is loving yourself, being concerned with yourself. At first glance this sounds a little egocentric maybe, but it is definitely not. Many people, especially women, do not love their bodies. They talk about themselves in a negative way and condemn their bodies. But that won’t make you feel better. If all, it might just give you less energy and more (mental and physical) pain. Because I started to get tired with the way I harshly judged my body I decided this type of journaling would be a perfectly fun way to change the way I look at myself and treat myself. If you feel this could be true for you as well, read on for some tips and tricks to get started.

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The pictures in this article show you what my Self Care Journal looks like after a couple of months of work.

Need some inspiration to get started on your Self Care Journal?

–  a ‘re reading list’ is personally one of my favourites to put together. I divided my list in fiction and non fiction books to read again.
– every subject that makes for a great illustration makes me happy because I love to draw. If handlettering is your thing you might try a quote. If you’re a photographer, you might want to take beautiful pictures that inspire you to self care.
– lists, lists, lists. Because you can. For a bad day, for fast and healthy dinners, for sad songs, for uplifting songs, movies to watch when your down…
– favourite quotes from beautiful books you want to remember.
– personally I was inspired by Dutch blogger Iris from ‘Ikbenirisniet’ to start this journal. Her post (in Dutch) gave me lots of inspiration and her pics might give you some new ideas as well.


Had you heard of a self care journal before? 
Do you take sweet care of your body? If yes, please share your secret! 

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