The Best Journaling Techniques to Learn to Celebrate Yourself (3 Introspective Journal Prompts Included!)
Working your fingers to the bone to cross things off of a never-ending to-do list is one of the most toxic behaviors that is heavily celebrated in our fast-moving society.
But without pausing to celebrate yourself, you can lose sight of the reasons you are working so hard, which can often lead to feelings of depression, inadequacy, and exhaustion. Not to mention, you can miss out on having an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Look, you know I always have your back and today isn’t any different. I'm sharing some of my favorite journaling techniques and journal prompts to help you get on track in this article.
When "All Work and No Play" Leads to Burnout
We get what we put into things. So, as an ambitious independent woman, I fully agree with having a strong focus and an even stronger hustle.
But since launching my company, Journaling is Self-Care while working a full-time job and trying to maintain good health and a social life, I’ve learned the hard way that my hustle is sometimes too intense.
Like, scary intense.
I started to experience several symptoms of burnout, including the ones listed below.
- Deep irritation, mood swings, snapping, and feeling angry
- Feeling exhausted and drained, even after resting and meditating
- Depression, loneliness, and an unshakable sadness
- Feeling useless, trapped, and defeated
- Insomnia, headaches, and dizziness
- Anxiety and racing thoughts
Living with those symptoms was terrifying. It felt like I was falling off a cliff in slow motion, knowing what my fate would be, but not having the ability to stop myself from falling.
I never fell though. Instead, I remembered who the hell I was, scaled the mountain, and pulled myself back up to safety.
Everything we do and everything we are is a direct reflection of our mindsets. What we think and believe is what we attract and become.
So, I did what I’ve done every time I’ve found myself in a pickle. I tuned in, mastered my mindset, and got the results I wanted.
Now, I can help you to do the same.
The Journaling Technique That Taught Me to Celebrate Myself
When I first realized that I was the one driving myself crazy and burning myself out, I had to ask myself how I got to that place.
So, I picked up my journal and did a full brain dump.
Brain dumping is a journaling technique that can help you to sort of "empty your mind" when you are suffering from anxiety, ruminating, and thinking way too hard.
I had been waking up (and staying awake) in the middle of the night almost every night for about two months with anxiety and racing thoughts, so I this particular technique was perfect for the way I had been feeling.
This brain dump involved writing everything that came to mind in my journal without consciously thinking of where to go next. I entered a relaxed state of mind similar to meditation that allowed me to just release.
I learned a couple of interesting things from that 45-minute journal session.
I realized that my overworking was a trauma response to being abused and told that I wasn’t worthy or smart enough to accomplish much of anything throughout my life. So, I was overcompensating to prove my worthiness and intelligence.
I also learned that I had always had a problem with celebrating my accomplishments and accepting compliments about my work from others. I had a bad habit of saying smiling and saying “thank you” while obsessively entertaining thoughts that the compliment wasn’t really genuine.
Again, a trauma response to my past abuse.
Being able to turn off my conscious thoughts to pull this type of information from my subconscious mind through brain dumping is my absolute favorite benefit of journaling!
It truly helps you to focus and sift through the chaos in your mind to unlock truths that you didn’t even realize were keeping you stuck before.
Cultivating this level of self-awareness is 100% necessary for you to take the next steps toward self-care and improvement, regardless of what your goals are.
That’s why my store is called Journaling is Self-Care. It’s so exciting for me to be able to share my stories and journaling techniques to help you on your journey!
So, realizing those negative truths gave me the ability to own them. That’s a really important step, by the way.
You have to take ownership of your limitations, even if they make you feel embarrassed or ashamed.
With that ownership, you give yourself the power (and gift) to turn your negative thoughts and feelings into something positive that will uplift you.
Think about it this way, if you own a house, you can decorate and paint the way you want. But you can't go into somebody else's house and start redecorating all willy nilly, right?
This is why we can't place blame when we have negative thoughts either. The negative thoughts I described were passed on to me in childhood, I accepted them, but I didn't create them.
If I chose to blame the people who abused me and made me feel inadequate when I was a little girl, I would have continued to remain powerless the way I was as a child.
Yet, owning these things gives me the ability to rearrange my home (my mind) in a way that will benefit me.
You can do this!
My 3 Tried and True Introspective Journal Prompts to Help You Celebrate Yourself
I felt a lot lighter once I took ownership of my limiting beliefs and fears. I started to feel lighter and more hopeful because I at least knew what I was working with.
Imagine having a mysterious illness that a doctor can’t diagnose. It’s scary! But being told that there is a name for it, a treatment plan, and medicine changes the scenario.
I was "diagnosed" instantly after I completed my brain dump. And that is when I connected with the belief that I am teaching you here today, celebrate yourself.
Similar to the way I wrote about using positive affirmations to combat limiting beliefs in this article a couple of weeks ago, choosing to celebrate yourself involves replacing your negative beliefs with the opposite.
Celebrating my accomplishments was the opposite of the self-loathing and inadequacy I had been experiencing.
Use the three journal prompts below to get yourself into a state of celebration too!
1. The To-Do List
I picked up my journal again and wrote a list of the things I’d checked off my to-do list. I also wrote about all the lessons I’d learned as a new business owner and the boundaries I had already broken.
This positive journaling technique gave me something to be proud of. And it showed me that I was without a doubt a badass beast of a woman because I had already accomplished a ton of things that I thought were impossible before.
So naturally, I felt hyped, proud of myself, and motivated. The limiting beliefs I’d had dissipated because I had given myself tangible evidence that they were all lies.
I felt reborn! My super scary burnout symptoms died with those negative thoughts too.
Take this to-do list journal prompt and brag about the amazing things you've accomplished so far!
2. The Self-Love Letter of Gratitude
This journal prompt to celebrate yourself kinda sappy, kinda adorable, and 100% worth trying!
Write yourself a love letter expressing gratitude for going out and being a queen! Take the time to just dote on yourself and really feel great.
This doesn't have to be about crushing a particular goal or taking on a specific endeavor. It can honestly be a "Thank you for being you" sort of thing.
Think about the things you love about yourself. This can be your physical features, personality traits, the lifestyle you've created for yourself, your hobbies, your relationships, whatever you want.
Dive deep into self-love, get weird, get mushy and enjoy it!
Even if you're in a great relationship with someone who treats you like royalty and writes you love letters, don't skip this journaling technique. It's about connecting with yourself and having something that feels good just for you.
Hell, I have a dope boyfriend who supports and spoils me, but don't think I'm not out here having solo date nights to show myself some love and appreciation.
Plus, I like being able to eat all I want without sharing bites!
This is a judgment-free zone, right?
3. Reflect on How Far You've Come
A really cool part about journaling regularly is that your journals become time capsules of different moments or eras in your life that you can revisit at any time.
I still have some of the poetry journals that I wrote in as a teenager. And I've gotta admit it's pretty interesting to go back as an adult from time to time to read the kinds of poems I wrote and reflect on the things I was going through.
Sometimes I'll even call my best friend, who I've known since I was 11 after one of my poems triggered a crazy memory. Then, we'll laugh and talk on the phone about how ridiculous and dramatic we were as kids.
But I actually thought to add this journal prompt to this article because of more recent events.
I opened my Etsy Journaling is Self-Care store on October 31, 2020, and on October 20, 2021, this website was completed and published.
When the one-year anniversary of my initial Etsy launch came up a few weeks ago, I found the journal that I was writing in during that time. It was really cool to see the way I felt when I was bringing my business into the world.
It gave me a clear image of the sense of accomplishment and happiness I experienced after making such a huge dream come true. And I loved being able to relive and reiterate those things to myself a year later.
I used this time to reflect on all the lessons I'd learned during my first year in business, roadblocks, failures, and accomplishments included.
Doing so reminded of a few of my favorite traits about myself: My strength, courage, ambition, passion, and creativity.
So, yes, I encourage you to revisit a past journal entry (or a few) from a special moment in time and reflect on where you are now versus then. Write it out and celebrate your ability to grow and change.
This journaling technique can also help you tune into areas where you may have given up or become stagnant, giving you the power and opportunity to take ownership and make a positive change.
You are an amazing goal-getting warrior capable of making all of your dreams come true!
These journaling techniques will give you a chance to reconnect with your “why.”
Your why is the reason you work so hard in the first place, whether your goal is to support your family, get in shape to run a marathon, or build a business. It always feels good to take a few steps back to gain some perspective and clarity.
So, never forget to take your time to pause and celebrate yourself because you deserve it.
Did I miss something? Tell me your favorite ways to celebrate yourself in the comments below!