Just a couple months ago, when I thought about keeping a journal or a diary, I would remember when I was younger and I would ask my mom if I could buy a notebook when we were in a bookstore or craft store. I would claim that I wanted to start writing in it every day. My plan of writing in it all the time never worked out and I ended up with a drawer full of empty notebooks that I had abandoned.
Flash forward to the beginning of 2017. I decided that keeping a journal would be really beneficial to me as I had just started university in the fall, moved to Toronto, and started my first job. My newfound inspiration to keep a journal again came from a few places around social media. Firstly, the rising popularity in “studyblr” and “studygram” accounts dedicated to posted photos of their school notes, planners, and bullet journals. Secondly, I had inspiration from a few “booktube” channels that would often post about journal writing and how important it could be.
Although the popularity of bullet journaling was rising incredibly fast, I knew it wasn’t for me. I had tried it out a few times but had no luck keeping up with one. So, I decided that I should just keep a journal that had more of a diary style type of writing. I wanted a place to keep my thoughts and memories in one place, but also have a space to be creative if I wanted to. I ended up with a blend of an art journal and a diary. I had a space to write my thoughts and ideas, and I could decorate the pages in however way I wanted if I was in the mood to do so that day.
Now that I have successfully kept up with writing in my journal almost daily for 7 months, I have already started noticing the benefits to having started it in my first year of university.
Firstly, it is a great stress reliever. Whenever I am stressed over school or anything else, taking the time to sit down and write as much or as little as I wanted was a way to take my mind off whatever it is that was causing me stress, or even reflect on why I was feeling stressed.
Secondly, the ability to look back on what you wrote a couple months back, or even just a couple days back, is so amazing. You have so much opportunity to see changes in your life and sometimes have a laugh at a memory you might have completely forgotten about. I love going back in my journal and reading about what I was worried or stressed about months ago to see how I was able to get through those moments and remind myself that no matter how stressed I am, I will always be able to keep going and find a way to make sure everything works out.
Thirdly, as I mentioned, I like using my journal as a way to stay creative. One of my favourite parts of journalling is decorating the pages with photos or drawings and enjoying the time I take to get creative with them! Watching art journal and bullet journal flip-throughs on youtube is such a great form of inspiration for me. I just love seeing how other people make use of blank pages. It really inspires me to continue to stay creative for even just a couple minutes a day, especially during the school year when I don’t often have the time to stay as creative as I’d like.
Lastly, journaling has become a really big motivator for me. Setting a goal is one thing, but writing about the goal and how much you want to achieve it is another thing. Seeing the goal written in pen on a piece of paper makes me want to achieve it even more. Writing it down instead of just keeping the goal in your head will help you visualize it as well as help set a plan that you can follow to reach the goal.
I am so glad that I decided to start a journal, and I can tell I’ll be journaling for a long time. I really hope more people decide to give it a shot, especially if you are a student, as a lot of changes can happen while you are in university and starting jobs!