Journaling is nice in theory until it requires you to get all in your feelings.

Sure, it’s a healthy habit that helps relieve stress, improve your mood and manage your emotions, but when it comes time to actually sit down and pour your thoughts into those blank pages, it’s very easy to get stuck, or worse, feel like you’re just tapping into a melodramatic teenage version of yourself.

In the spirit of Take Care month and actually sticking to our resolutions this year, we experimented with different journaling techniques you can use for self care, whatever that may mean to you. What we found was it’s less about the method and more about finding and sticking with what you enjoy. Oh, and it’s definitely also about finding a cute notebook that will make “me time” that much more appealing. Below, check out three different ways you can journal for self-care.

1. Be a Goal-Getter

This isn’t anything new, but writing out a list of goals you’d like to achieve is a simple way to get you in the swing of things. And while tons of inspired people usually start journaling in the new year, you can really practice this whenever you want to see some change in your life. Once you articulate your goals–and these can be anything from ordering less takeout to getting on top of your financial sitch–you’ll want to then plan out a few concrete steps you can take to make each one a reality. Knowing next steps will motivate you, not to mention you’ll already feel so much more accomplished!

2. Plan It Out

Busy week? If your to-do list feels endless, you might stress less if you visually lay out your tasks in one place. Treat your journal like a calendar so you can keep track of all the important dates you forget (hello, dentist appointment). The best part (for many of us, I’m sure) is getting that satisfying feeling every time you check tasks off. This practice will especially come in handy during the crazy busy holidays or that dreaded finals week. And if you’re thinking, “this isn’t really journaling,” I’ll just say I firmly believe that sometimes just managing is enough.

3. Get Creative

If the words don’t flow, ditch them and find another way to express yourself. Your notebook is your oyster, which is to say it can be your sketchbook, scrapbook or keeper of all your inspirational quotes and vision boards. My personal favorite medium is collage–here, I was armed with scissors, glue, washi tape and an art magazine (that coincidentally featured these iconic shark head sculptures by S6 fave Lorien Stern.) Experiment and find what works for you–we know viewing art improves your mood, and we’re pretty sure making it does, too.

Photos by Nicole LaMotte

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