Originally posted here.
Trigger Warning: The following article talks about mental health issues. If you are struggling with your mental health right now, or think that reading about mental health challenges might be upsetting for you, please be mindful that this article may be hard to read. Please also feel free to reach out to the Big Sis Helpline on 0800 12 84 55 (Monday to Friday 7 – 7, Saturdays 8.30 – 12.30) to chat to a real life counsellor who can direct you to some support.
Hey sis! It’s me, Fifi.
So, today I wanna chat with you about how journalling changed my mental health. Before we start though, I know you may be thinking, “Fifi! Why would I wanna write in a diary? That’s so old school!” But girl, listen up, we all need a space to vent when life is showing us flames, like when we’re dealing with school, mjolo, family, friends and so much more.
Another thing, it’s super important for us to create space to slow down and truly understand ourselves, and journalling can help us with that. It’s really like having a personal therapist that never judges you or interrupts you, and today I want to share with you more about how you can use the power of journalling to level up your mental health game, just like me.
When I Started Journaling?
I started journaling when I was in Grade eight – not me learning a new way to express myself! You see, chomi, journalling gave me a new way to express my thoughts, dreams, feelings and emotions. I got to pour out my heart into a blank page, and in those moments, something magical happened to me. The more I journalled, the more I realised that my journal wasn’t just a diary where I wrote about my thoughts – it was also a gateway to self-discovery. It allowed me to really sit down with myself and explore what was going on in my head and heart. I had some big feels, sis, and my journal was the space to work that all out.
I found myself writing down my wildest dreams and my goals. I was making drawings that captured my mood and even writing poetry that spoke about my deepest emotions. Journalling also helped me unpack my behaviors and habits, and this allowed me to look at areas where I could grow and improve myself. Sis, no cap, it felt like I had unlocked a hidden superpower within me!
My Safe Space:
So journalling became my safe space, it became a space where I could truly be myself without any judgement and it helped me work through some really tough times. It also helped me process my feelings and clear my mind when my thoughts felt a bit tangled up or whenever I felt down and out. And guess what sis, I always felt lighter and more at peace afterwards. When I read through my old journals I can see how far I’ve come. It’s like watching a movie of all my emotions and experiences and it reminds me of how strong I am and that no matter what happens, I got this!
You can journal in so many ways. You can write your thoughts down with pen and paper, you can draw and even make collages. Personally I like writing, but you can do what feels right for you. If you’re worried that a friend or family member might read through your journal, you can record voice notes or videos on your phone and put a password to protect it or you can use a journalling app. Moghel! Just like all good habits, the more you do it, the more it helps you in your life.
To start getting into the vibe of journalling, allow your thoughts to flow without judgement. Be honest and free in expressing yourself. Don’t worry about how you sound or what comes out. Journalling is a judgement-free zone. Commit to journalling at least once a week and explore different prompts to inspire your writing.
Here are a few prompts to help you get you going:
- Three things I’m grateful for today are…
- One thing I’m proud of accomplishing recently is…
- A challenge I’m currently facing is… and I plan to overcome it by …
- A quality I admire in myself is…
- Something that brings me joy is…
- One small act of kindness I can do for myself today is…
You can also end each journalling session with an affirmation or positive phrase that you can repeat regularly. This can really help you shift your vibe and it promotes positive emotions. You can stand in front of a mirror and say the affirmations out loud to yourself or repeat them silently to yourself. My other chomi, Tshidi, likes to write her affirmations on a piece of paper and stick them up in her room. Whatever works for you sis, you can try it!
Here is some affirmation inspo. Try saying these out loud in the mirror later – trust me, you’ll feel GREAT.
- I am strong, capable, and deserving of happiness.
- I embrace my unique qualities and love myself unconditionally.
- I face challenges with courage and resilience.
- I am confident in expressing my thoughts and ideas.
- I am surrounded by love and support from those who care about me.
Remember, journalling is personal and it can change over time.
I hope you can find some time to journal soon and I’m so proud of you for going on this journey of self-discovery and levelling up your mental health.