During the COVID-19 pandemic, many struggled with a decline in mental health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse relating to the pandemic. Although many of the hardships that resulted from the pandemic are long-lasting and are difficult to solve, journaling is one effective way to cope with these emotions and situations.
The University of Rochester Medical Center describes journaling as a helpful method to deal with overwhelming emotions and facilitate self-expression. Journaling “helps control your symptoms” and can also help you keep track of your daily mental health and possibly discover your stressors or triggers.
The University of Rochester Medical Center also states that “you get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings,” which journaling can make possible. Journaling also gives you the opportunity to self-reflect without fear of judgment
Not only is journaling a great way to maintain mental health, it is also a creative outlet and a way to record memories. Filling a journal with your feelings and struggles, your experiences and accomplishments and your day-to-day events allows you to look back on your life. These recollections are a source of joy and reminiscence, reminding you of memories from childhood or little events that you forgot brought you so much happiness at the time. Journaling is also a great way to see how much you have grown and accomplished as a person.
Journaling does not just have to include writing. Pictures, maps, ticket stubs, postcards, pamphlets and stickers also help catalog important events or special memories in your life. With this in mind, your journal becomes a time capsule.
Artistic journaling or bullet journaling are other forms of journaling that allow for creativity, organization or both. Watercoloring, sketching, doodling and just creating unique spreads serves as a way to relax without needing to write anything down. Not to mention, with the addition of a calendar or a to-do list, the beautiful creations can serve a more organizational purpose.
There is no one way to journal, and journals become an expression of the individual who creates them. A journal is a private place for discovery, expression and growth, and journaling should become a more prevalent practice for everyone to maintain one part of a healthy lifestyle.
Nicole Sydor is a sophomore majoring in English and French and minoring in psychology and education.