While dealing with a mental illness or unmotivated days, journaling in a notebook or your phone may improve your mood and convince yourself that it's time for a wellness check. It can be difficult to adjust to writing frequently and to an extent — have a sit-down chat with yourself. Journaling can be fun and expressive, but it can also bring you to terms with emotions that have been hidden. Either way, it's normal to be hesitant of getting familiar with your new, upgraded diary, so here's five tips if you're beginning to journal.

Invest in a good journal

Although everyone doesn’t feel the need to purchase the most decorated notebook, investing in an appealing journal might encourage you to pick it up more often. Brands like Papier and Aya Paper have a selection of journals that are aesthetically pleasing and are perfect for your journaling needs. Journals are often the same size as a book, so it’ll be a fit for a backpack or purse in case you plan to journal on-the-go.

Create a list of writing prompts

Some days you’ll be prepared to write about a certain topic or incident, but writing blocks may strike every now and then. Personalize your writing prompts by detailing your meals of the day, writing down a recipe and describing how your meal made you feel. Unrelated to food, think of topics that you feel comfortable exploring and create a list for your future self.

Don’t feel pressured to journal a certain way

Everyone expresses themselves differently through their writing. If you find yourself filling up an entire page, so be it. Depending on the day, you can switch your writing topics. For example, if you’re in search of a television show you’d like to watch, write why you’d like to watch a different genre of television than you’re used to and jot some notes down while watching it. Maybe you’ll sketch something that you viewed and incorporate it into your words. There’s no specific way to journal.

Try writing in a different environment

Changing your writing environment can come in the form of your bedroom, living room, backyard or even a coffee shop. Sitting in a café while people watching might inspire you to think of a writing prompt that might’ve not come to you at home. Inspiration strikes in many different ways, so take your journal with you the next time you’re headed to a park and see how many pages you fill.

Create a habit for yourself

There’s no pressure to write as soon as you wake up in the morning, since you could be the type of writer that likes to experience their day then proceed to journal about it. If mornings are the time where you have the most thought-provoking prompts, it’s your time. Sometimes you’re not in the mood to fill the entire page with your thoughts, and that's okay. Figuring out what time of the day that you’d enjoy releasing your emotions will come to you once you’ve gotten comfortable with your journal.

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