Journaling for Self-Care: How to Start

mom who needs to start journaling for self-care

As a mom, your days are filled with the joyful chaos of nurturing little ones, managing household tasks, and often juggling a career too.

Due to these struggles, it can be very easy to overlook your own well-being. The demands of motherhood can sometimes leave you feeling stretched thin, emotionally exhausted, and in need of moments of “me time”. This is where journaling for self-care can become your tool for healing.

As a mom, I have what can feel like a million thoughts running through my brain on a daily basis. When I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed my mind tends to spiral. I go through all the “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios. Journaling is a way to purge the mind and avoid the spiraling. I find that if I feel myself starting to spiral and just take a moment to write down whatever is on my mind, I get a mental release and feel more at peace. When journaling, I can write about anything and not worry that someone will think I am crazy if I were to say my thoughts out loud.

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What is journaling for self-care?

Journaling for self-care is about taking a break when you are in a stressful moment and writing down whatever is on your mind. When we talk about our worries with a spouse or friend, we may edit our thoughts because we are too embarrassed to say what is really on our mind. When you journal for self-care there is no editing, you get everything out.

Journaling does not have to wait until you are in a stressful moment. If you journal on a regular basis as part of your self-care wheel, you may limit the very stressful moments when you feel like you are about to burst, since you are getting your thoughts out and not letting them fester inside.

Benefits of journaling for self-care

Journaling is a great self-care tip for moms since it has many physical, emotional, and mental health benefits:

  1. Stress Reduction. Instead of letting your thoughts spiral and increase your stress levels, you will get them out.
  2. Self-Reflection. After you have been journaling for a while, you will start to notice patterns in your thoughts and behaviors. You will also better understand your emotional triggers.
  3. Improved communication. Writing out your thoughts can help you articulate them better so you have fewer outbursts when saying them out loud.
  4. Better sleep. Decluttering your mind can get rid of your worries and help you sleep better.
  5. Increased gratitude. Writing down some things you are grateful for can help you shift towards a more positive mindset.
woman journaling for self-care

What should you write about when journaling for self-care?

So you’ve learned how beneficial journaling can be and want to get started, but what should you write about? Anything and everything!

Some ideas of what to write about are things you are grateful for, your emotions and feelings, goals and aspirations, any challenges you are facing, and helpful affirmations. Your journal is your safe space where you can write about whatever you feel like writing about in the moment.

Journaling for self-care styles


Freestyling is writing about whatever comes into your mind – no prompts or directions. You can write down phrases, ideas, short sentences, or run-on sentences. It can also be a brain dump of your thoughts.


Listing can be a great style for when you are just getting started with journaling and are not sure what to write about. Some ideas for lists are:

  • things you are grateful for
  • things for your bucket list
  • things you have to get done
  • your favorite activities
  • things you want to stop doing

Writing prompts

Wellness journaling prompts and mental health journaling prompts are helpful if you need some suggestions to get the writing started. My favorite journaling style is using prompts or questions for self-reflection. Some ideas for writing prompts are:

  • What past accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?
  • What fears are currently holding you back, and why?
  • How can you balance work and play to make sure that both are important parts of your life?
  • What triggers your anxiety?
  • What would you be doing right now if money wasn’t an issue?


Creative journaling involves doing more than just writing. You can draw, paint, doodle, use stickers, or make a scrapbook.

pin for how to start journaling for self-care and self-love

Types of journals for self-care

Journals are great resources for moms. Below are some different types of journals.


You can start with a basic notebook as your journal. Notebooks are great for most styles of journaling. Since you are starting with blank pages, you can write freestyle, write letters to people, or do creative journaling.

Frasukis‘ notebook with the quote “She believed she could so she did” on the cover will bring you some positivity each time you open your journal. This notebook contains high-grade thick paper, sturdy binding, and an interior pocket where you can keep notes and cards.

Designer Greetings‘ notebook has a beautiful, calming image on the cover with the saying “Grace, Grit, Gratitude”. It’s premium-quality and durable and the cover is designed to inspire creativity.

Gratitude journals

Gratitude journals are my favorite type of journals since they help me create a more positive mindset. They usually have prompts to write about which I also enjoy. I get writer’s block if I’m just staring at a blank page, so following gratitude prompts can really help get my writing flowing.

The 5-Minute Gratitude Journal by Sophia Godkin helps make gratitude a daily practice with quick and easy 5-minute journaling prompts. Some prompts are “Someone who helped me get to where I am today…” and “A reason to smile right now…” Each page also ends with a positive affirmation.

Clever Fox’s Gratitude Journal is a unique journal that lasts 3 months. Each day and week is different with daily questions and weekly exercises. You start each day with a goal and end with some reflection. The journal comes with an elastic band, pen loop, 3 ribbon bookmarks, a pocket at the back, and a user guide.

Log journals

Log journals are ways to keep track of facts, events, or ideas. With log journals you can look back at past entries and see what you have accomplished and how far you have come.

Clever Fox’s Self-Care Journal helps you track of your daily wellness data, plan your monthly self-care in advance, and reflect on your progress on a regular basis. The journal has a soft-touch leather hardcover, 3 sheets of colorful stickers, a pen loop, elastic closure, 3 colored bookmarks, and a pocket at the back.

If you love to read then you may enjoy SIMSIMY’s Reading Journal. It allows you to keep track of all of your reading with reading tracker, book review, favorite books and authors, books I’ve read, books I haven’t finished, wish lists, and book challenge sections.

Online journals

Some people prefer to journal electronically. There are many self-care apps for moms and websites that involve digital journaling instead of writing with a pen and paper.

I use the free version of Gratitude. It is a self-care journal app that contains daily prompts, affirmations, motivational content and gratitude challenges. I especially love the ‘daily zen’ tab which contains a quote of the day and gratitude motivation to share with a friend.

Journey is a journal and diary app where you can journal in paragraphs, bullets, color, checklists, tables, or images. You can then look back at entries from a week, month, or even a year ago. You can also track your mood with each entry.

Journaling for self-care tips

1. Dedicate time for journaling.

Choose a time of the day that works best for your journaling and stick with it. Morning routines for moms are a great time for journaling since you can start the day off with gratitude and setting your goals.

2. Create a relaxing space.

Create a special space for your journaling, such as a mom reading nook. It will be easier to write about your thoughts if you’re in a peaceful environment with minimal interruptions.

3. Find a journal you love.

Find a journal that resonates with you, whether that’s one with helpful prompts, motivational quotes, or a relaxing cover. Journals are also great Christmas gifts for busy moms! Add one to your wishlist or buy one for the special mom in your life. You can even try some printable self-care tools for moms with journal prompts.

4. Experiment with different styles.

Try out the different journaling styles. You may start with writing prompts, but then find that you prefer to freestyle. Different styles work best for each of us, so try them all out when you’re first getting started.

5. Try different prompts.

Try out different therapeutic journaling prompts. One day you may want to focus on gratitude, and another day you may want to focus on uncovering triggers from your past. If a prompt isn’t working for you, move on to one that you can relate to better.

6. Be honest.

Be authentic and do not censor your thoughts. Your journal is your safe space where you can write whatever is on your mind and not worry about what people think of you.

7. Reflect on your achievements.

Celebrate your achievements, big or small! You will gain confidence as you write about what you have accomplished each day. You made it out of the house by yourself with both kids? That’s fantastic. Write about and celebrate it!

8. Review and learn from past entries.

You can read over past entries to see if you notice any patterns in your thoughts and behavior. Reviewing old entries can also help you realize how far you have come.

9. Let go.

Write about your negative feelings, forgive yourself and those who have done you wrong, and really try not to hold onto grudges. Use your journal as a release. Once you write about your thoughts and feelings, let them go.

10. Practice self-compassion.

Be kind to yourself as you write in your journal. Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts or things you have done. Treat yourself how you would treat one of your best friends.

woman writing in journal for self-care

Journaling for self-care is more than just putting words on paper.

It’s a journey of self-discovery and healing where, busy moms especially, can find peace, self-compassion, and personal growth. Journaling for self-care helps us manage stress, improve our mental health, and improve our communication skills.

Journaling has helped me express myself honestly and gain a better understanding of my thoughts and feelings. When I’m really struggling and not sure what task to tackle next, self-care journaling prompts make me pause and be grateful for those tough moments that make me who I am, as a mom, wife, and woman.

As a special gift to you I’d like to offer you my free 5-day self-care challenge to help you get started with your journaling habit.

mockup for free 5-day self-care challenge

Whether you’re a mom juggling an unlimited amount of responsibilities or someone looking for some calm moments, consider journaling as a powerful tool in your self-care toolkit.

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