We all know the last thing on any college student’s mind is, “What’s another task I can add to my daily routine?” But journaling for ten minutes before you go to bed every night, or every other night if you want to start slow, is truly one of the best forms of self-care out there. Here are five reasons why.
1. Memory Retention
When we sit down and go through everything we did earlier that day, we’re actually strengthening our mind’s ability to remember those events. It’s just like studying for a test; repeated thoughts stick. So when you’re jotting down what you did in club meetings, where you ate lunch, and why you’re starting to get the sense that special someone in your morning seminar likes you…that’s all less likely to be forgotten in the morning.
You can forget about brain game apps or memorization card sets. Journaling will train your brain without you even realizing it.
This means you’re less likely to forget agenda items, friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with, and why you promised yourself to give auditions or tryouts a shot next week. The bottom line is, we could all use a little help when it comes to keeping our ducks in a row.
2. Your Chance to Vent
We all have our ups and downs, even the Beyonces and Meryl Streeps of us out there. But you need to filter out what ticks you off, and there’s no safe, private way to do that like sitting down and writing it all out.
3. Meditation Before Bed
Some people prefer yoga, but many of us out there simply do not have the flexibility or endurance for what can be a physically draining activity if you’re not passionate about it. What I propose as a useful alternative is journaling, which will force you to stop and think. Throw in the rhythmic nature of handwriting and you’ll be feeling zen after ten minutes.
4. Record-keeping for Future Curiosity
In a year, a decade, or when you’re really old sitting in a rocking chair looking forlornly out the window to a cornfield. It will happen eventually—you’ll want to remember what your life was like during your college days. There’s no more authentic way to read about that than from yourself when you were living them. Keep a sturdy journal and your older self with thank you.
It’s so easy to forget to take time for ourselves to reevaluate our actions and the events we’ve lived through. With just a little effort to think through things slowly and assess the decisions we made in our relationships and responsibilities and adventures, the smoke clears. The fog lifts! Whichever metaphor you choose for journaling, we can’t deny ourselves the opportunity to think twice about our accomplishments, or maybe a few mistakes. This helps us do better the next day because we can go in knowing what to value and what to improve.
Regular self-reflection leads to self-appreciation. Isn’t that a sweet way to go to sleep? We have to remember to love yourselves on a routine basis, and journaling gets us there with a few other benefits along the way.
So grab your favorite ballpoint pen with the pretty purple ink, pull out that smooth leather journal grandma gave you during the holidays some five or six years ago, and take just ten minutes to jot down a page. There’s so much more to this self-care habit than you’d think.