21 Insightful Self-Care Journal Prompts

Woman writing in a journal

It’s easy to get caught up in our busy schedules. Whether it’s school, work, or meeting with family and friends, it can be difficult to find time for yourself. That’s why it’s important to carve out time in your day for some self care sessions and unwind a bit. 

When we say “self care,” we don’t just mean going to the spa and getting a massage or facial. Other self-care ideas can include exercising, taking longer lunch breaks, a long bath, or even using a self-care journal. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can get started with journaling and how making this a daily habit can help with self care.

What Is a Self-care Journal?

A self-care journal is a journal that you use to write about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and reflections in a healthy way that will make yourself feel better. While any blank journal can be used, those that come with daily journal prompts are especially helpful if you’re new to this kind of activity. We’ll give you a list of examples later on to help you get started with your writing and reflecting.

How Does Journaling Help with Self Care?

Using a self-care journal is a great way to get to know yourself better. You’re not merely writing down simple answers to journal prompts, but rather meaningful and thoughtful reflections to gain insight about yourself. And, did you know that journaling comes with a range of benefits for self care as well as mental and physical health? Below are some positive things that using self-care journal prompts can do for you:

  • Clarifies thoughts and feelings
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and trauma
  • Increases emotional intelligence
  • Clears feelings of confusion or misdirection
  • Boosts motivation and self confidence
  • Provides support for depression
  • Improves sleep, memory, and mood (check out this Cambridge University study)
  • Lowers blood pressure

So, how does the simple act of writing help you in the self-care department? Believe it or not, but setting aside time from your busy day to just pause and look within yourself is incredibly helpful for understanding your thoughts and feelings. 

Once you become self-aware of these things, you’re able to contemplate more about what goes on in your life and how they might affect you. In addition, using a self-care journal regularly helps you live in the moment more and take a break from stressful factors from your personal or professional life.

What Should Be in a Self-care Journal?

Journaling isn’t exclusively for one age category. While many of us probably remember the good old days of using a journal in our pre-teen or teenage years, there are plenty of journal prompts for adults looking to get back into or continue writing. To help generate some ideas or topics of interest, we’ve provided a list of 21 self-care journal prompts below, including a number of gratitude and mindfulness ones (which are also important aspects to think about when practicing self care).

Self-care Journal Prompts

  1. What does your perfect self-care day look like? Does it include a simple facial? Or how about a long soak in the bathtub with a quilted air bath bed (like this one from Bath Haven) for extra comfort? Whatever it may be, write down all aspects of the perfect pamper day.
  2. Write an apology letter to forgive yourself. We’re all human and make mistakes, so apologize for being too hard on yourself.
  3. Write a list of five songs that make you feel good when you’re sad. What kind of messages do they give you?
  4. Write about a time when you were happy. Describe the situation and surroundings in detail.
  5. What are some things that you love most about your body?
  6. Write about the bad parts of your day. Talk about how you felt in those moments, what you wish would’ve happened instead, and what you look forward to tomorrow.
  7. Make a list of short-term and long-term goals. How do you plan on achieving each one step-by-step?

Gratitude Journal Prompts

  1. What are five personality traits you have that you appreciate the most?
  2. What is something nice you did for someone else today or this week?
  3. Name three things that always make you smile.
  4. List three people or things you feel that you often take for granted. How can you express your gratitude for these people or things more?
  5. What are three things that you’re thankful for in your job or career?
  6. Write about a time when someone went out of their way to help you. How did their actions make you feel?
  7. What do you appreciate most about your life?

Mindfulness Journal Prompts

  1. What do you procrastinate about (chores, tasks, work, etc.)? Identify why you choose to repeatedly put them off.
  2. What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Was it worth it?
  3. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self to make life a bit easier or have a positive future impact?
  4. What is a quote that you live by? Why does this quote have meaning to you?
  5. Explain how a typical morning looks for you in detail.
  6. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the most difficult, how easy is it for you to admit when you’re wrong? Why do you think that is?
  7. What’s one bad habit that you want to break? What are some things you could do to change it?

Common Journaling Questions

Before you answer any self-care journal prompts, you may be wondering how long you should spend writing during each session, how much you should write, or when the best time to write is. Here are a few common questions and answers about journaling that you might find helpful.

How Long Should You Spend Journaling?

15 minutes one to three times a week is ideal. And while you may have daily journal prompts, don’t feel like you need to write an entry every day!

How Much Should You Write?

Since you’re simply expressing your thoughts and feelings, there’s no minimum or maximum amount you should write in your self-care journal. You might write over a page on some days but only a few sentences on others. With that said, write however much you feel is necessary to convey your thoughts.

Is it Good to Journal Before Bed?

Tossing and turning at night is the absolute worst. However, journaling about positive thoughts or events before you sleep can help redirect your mind from stress and worries. While you can also write in your journal throughout the day, it’s best to do this kind of activity at night as it calms and eases your mind. Not only that, but you’ll have more things to think about and reflect on at the end of the day!

Self-care Journal Prompts: Final Thoughts

Now that you have a good starting list of self-care, gratitude, and mindfulness journal prompts, you’re ready to begin writing and reflecting. Even if you’ve never practiced journaling before, always remember that you don’t need to be a good writer. When it comes to practicing self care through journaling, the goal is to write how you honestly feel or whatever comes to mind so you can understand and improve yourself!

Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee