Lately, I’ve been trying to think of different journal-keepers in pop culture like Felicity (Felicity TV series) with her audio-tapes and Kirk’s Star Trek Captain’s log. Writers often use this format to give a first-person narration that brings you into the character’s inner world (like Ally McBeal‘s fantasy sequences).
In this format, it’s interesting to see how the characters manage their stress. For the sake of the storyline, obstacles are introduced. The drama comes from how the characters choose to deal with them.
That process is something I became more mindful of in college.
When I was living at home, I think I mirrored my parents’ habits when it came to stressful situations. I took on their feelings and activities.
But, as a young adult on my own, I started to think about how I wanted to cope with hard times and difficult situations.
How my Journal Helps Me Manage Daily Stress
Now, I actually use my journal to help me manage daily stress. I don’t keep a “diary” where I narrate the events of the day.
I used to collect blank journals that sat empty for years waiting for me to write.
Instead, I keep a daily log in the bullet journal format.
Inside, you’ll find weekly spreads where I keep track of the tasks on each date. Between those spreads are notes, trackers, and brainstorming sessions where I dump all my ideas.
My journal helps me manage my daily stress by giving me a way to get the heavy things out of my head.
Clear My Mind
I’m not a carefree person. Instead, I lay in bed at night overthinking — and sometimes thinking about overthinking.
I keep my journal by my bed and use it to take all those thoughts out of my mind. I put them in the pages.
Now, I habitually journal at bedtime.
Get Some Perspective
As I was trying to recover from the birth of my son, I felt really bad about myself. I felt like my career had stalled because I wasn’t freelancing “enough.”
Then, I sat and compiled a list of every project I completed. I was shocked. I did way more than I remembered.
Sometimes, I flip back to those pages and remember that I’m actually accomplishing more than I thought.
There are so many trackers out there from health goals to writing prompts that you can use to calculate your productivity.
Take a Break
Sometimes I like to use my journal as a creative outlet. In the quiet times, while I’m listening to an audiobook or sitting outside, it gives me a place to take a little break.
I can jot down some lovely quotes or make a small color palette to inspire my next project.
How do you manage stress?
I’d like to hear about how you manage your stress — with a journal or otherwise. When we talk about it, we learn new tips and tricks. Join the conversation in the comments below or by following me on Instagram.