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Journaling as a Self-Care Ritual

Journaling has always been difficult for me as a perfectionist: worrying my handwriting will be too messy and therefore ruin the page, that the things I’ll write about will be boring or petty (or worse, I’ll have nothing to say at all!), and such. As an archivist, this fear has intensified as I’ve processed and digitized journals, manuscripts, and other personal documents. It’s like archival performance anxiety!

I’m proud to say I’ve filled two 249-page journals over the past year and a half (and I’m working on my third). Letting go of my perfectionism and anxiety was difficult but now, I’m able to enjoy journaling daily as a self-care ritual. Addressing my perfectionism wasn’t easy but it was worth it. I made a decision to work on embracing the messiness, complexities, and imperfections of my life — and reflecting that reality, that humanity, in my journaling. I’ll admit, I still feel frustrated when my ink smudges and I still harbor judgmental thoughts about my writing but like a true Aries, I do my best to push past these distractions. Reading Julia Cameron’s work, such as The Artist’s Way, really helped me in this process. I highly recommend her books on creativity.


I also tried to make journaling fun, instead of another chore. I use colorful washi tape, stickers, and other decorations to jazz up my journal pages. I use a Leuchtturm1917 Dotted Journal (in pink, of course!) which has cool features like a table of contents, numbered pages, ribbon bookmarks, and a pocket folder in the back. I currently have a Magical Girl x Polly Pocket sticker from one of my favorite Etsy shops, ShopGutsAndGlitter, on the cover of my journal. Check out a few photos of my journaling over the year below in this slideshow!:

The pages of my journal include weekly spreads (one-page weekly calendars), habit trackers, musings on my day-to-day life, to-do lists, my hopes & dreams, plans for creative projects, and anything and everything that flows from pen to paper when I journal. There is no right or wrong way to journal, so pick up a pen and get started!

Here are a few resources on journaling to get you started:

What are your favorite journaling tips?

karina hagelinComment