Journaling may feel like something straight outta the Dark Ages, especially now. Even so, it’s hard to ignore the mental health benefits of hand-writing your thoughts. From reducing stress and anxiety to helping you slow down after a hectic day, a consistent journaling habit can transform your self-care routine. Not convinced yet? Try these journaling activities. You’ll need a notebook and pen — and an open mind, for good measure.

Keep an Activity Log

Activity logs are a fun way to track your progress towards a goal. No matter your tracking cadence (anywhere from a daily basis to an annual one), your journal can keep you focused on the end goal, while giving you the sweet satisfaction of seeing checked-off boxes along the way.

A few activities to track in your daily log:

  • No-spend days
  • Workout routines
  • Morning meditations
  • Healthy meal trackers
  • Number of times you’ve unplugged from technology
  • Affirmations (more on these in the next section)

Recite Your Attagirl!s

Affirmations are small but significant motivators to assist you in realigning with your goals and purpose in life. Write your affirmations out 2-3 times every day to keep them top of mind and integrate them into your daily life.

Affirmations to journal:

  • Ones that support your personal goals
  • Ones that help you meet your health/fitness goals
  • Ones that strengthen your relationships
  • Positive traits and attributes you want to adopt
  • Statements that remind you why you matter

Start a Burn Book

While slightly different from the classic pink scrapbook in the movie Mean Girls, a burn book is a place for your most real thoughts, no matter how impolite or downright nasty they may be. The burn book is your place to really let loose and say all the things that may not be so pretty, but that you need to let out. It’s cathartic. And when your burn book is complete, you do exactly as the name suggests — burn it.

What to write in your burn book:

  • Frustrating experiences from work, such as dealing with a gaslighter
  • Moments when you and your significant other disagreed
  • Conversations you feel strongly about that could be hurtful
  • Negative emotions like jealousy, comparison, and anger

Write Your Own Story

There are no limits when you write in your journal. Dream up your perfect future and use the pages to create a short story with you as the main character.

Themes for your own short story:

  • Explore what your life will look like 5, 10, and/or 50 years from now.
  • Illustrate your next big professional win.
  • Write about the perfect vacation and adventure to take with your loved ones.
  • Create a challenge or villain in your short story that you heroically overcome.
  • Write a fantasy with magical experiences completely drawn up from your imagination.

Prioritize your mental health and pick up a daily habit of journaling. Think of your journal as your best friend, a safe place where you explore and express your creative genius. Use the pages to capture your best memories, let out your feelings, mark your greatest success, and illustrate your wildest dreams.