Types of Journals
You can take non-judgmental and uncensored writing to the next level by free writing. Free writing involves writing continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar or topic.
Set a timer and give yourself permission to get anything and everything out of your system!
Gratitude Journaling: Three Good Things
I found gratitude journaling particularly helpful during my most recent, lengthy recovery from a major flare. This type of journaling cultivates a consistent practice of gratitude and is most effective when done daily, especially during depressive periods.
Each day, list three good things that happened. If you want to take it to the next level, you can also identify what part you played in making those good things happen.
The “good thing” could be getting out of bed, to getting a phone call from a friend, but regardless of what it is, it helps you find something positive to hold on to, to fight for. After about a month or two, I found that I didn’t need to write my good things down anymore, I was able to acknowledge them internally.
Symptom journaling is for recording the occurrence of symptoms and connected life events, medication, stress and exercise levels, weather, etc. There are online apps and versions that can be found or you can make your own journal by creating different sections for each type of information.
Use your symptom journal to prep for your rheumatology appointments. Your symptom journal will help you articulate what is happening with your lupus effectively and will make you a more empowered and knowledgeable patient.
Choosing a Journal
Each type of journaling can be done online on a private (or public) site, or on your computer, but I think having a paper journal is the best route. I am a blogger and share certain things in that public domain, but there is a level of censorship that comes with blogging, so certain types of truthful exploration aren’t possible within that format.
Blank pages, lined pages, locked or unlocked, pocket or mega-sized, choose a journal that speaks to you. Taking time to purposefully choose a journal will make you want to write more frequently.
Create a Ritual
Writing in your lupus journal is a special time for yourself, so create a ritual around that time that you will look forward to. Buy a special pen you only use when journal writing, write in your favorite coffee shop, outside at the park you love, in bed with a cup of tea, or with relaxing music in the background.
The Importance of Revisiting Yourself
Every now and then, it is important to crack open your journals and re-read old entries. Your journals are a reminder that you are always your biggest ally, that there is always something on the other side of what you know, and that sometimes you need your past to help you build a happy and healthy future.