It might take a few tries before you find the right time and place for your journaling experience. Don’t give up if you don’t get it right the first time. Try something different.

Originally I tried journaling at night after the rush of the day and evening were over. I thought this would be a fantastic time to reflect on the day and prepare for the next. Wrong! I fell asleep every time. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, (actually I woke myself up and wiped the drool from my face) and brilliantly determined that nighttime journaling wasn’t my thing.

I began setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier and found that it worked. I had to make a few adjustments in my morning schedule, but it was worth it. Now I set my alarm even earlier because I love not feeling rushed when I am writing about something. On the days that I don’t need an hour I get to read the paper more leisurely or putter around the house. (Rising earlier worked so well for me that I added a 20-minute workout into my morning as well. Apparently I’m a morning person … Who knew?)

I have a friend that stops at a coffee shop on her way home from work and journals there. She couldn’t get the quiet time she needed at home so she found a time and place that worked for her. On days when that doesn’t work she’s often able to fit her coffee shop journaling in between dropping her son off at an activity and picking him up. These are great ideas for parents, or if you live with roommates or pesky spouses.

I sit in a comfortable chair with wide arms that sits in a corner between two windows. I use a lap desk to write on. The arm of the chair is perfect for my morning cup of coffee!

My favorite pen feels incredibly smooth when I write and fits comfortably in my hand. Take some time to find that perfect pen—it feels like a wonderful gift whether it costs $3 or $50. My only advice is to fall in love with a refillable pen because if you get going on journaling, you’ll go through a lot of ink and think of the landfill space you’ll save if you’re only tossing refills!

When I started journaling I used spiral notebooks that I bought at the beginning of the school year for around fifty cents. Now I use a nicer spiral notebook that costs around $3. I went nicer because … well … I like them and they are 100% recycled paper with really cute covers. They are made by New Leaf Paper Company and I found them at Office Depot.

Note to dog owners: Bring the dogs into the room with you if no one else is at home or awake. I entice mine with a couple of biscuits and it’s now a daily habit they look forward to. They hear me get a biscuit in the morning and they head for the journal room. I put a gate across the door so that they don’t wander around and bark at people out on their early morning walks. Ahhh … quiet! (I have to admit that their puppy-dog stares interrupt my thought processes occasionally … those big brown eyes looking up at me beseechingly … “just one more biscuit … pleeeeeeese?”)

So, to wrap it up:

  • Find a time and a place that works for you
  • Treat yourself to a ‘refillable’ pen that is a joy to write with
  • Find paper you like, and
  • Write on!

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition we’re taught that food isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to feeding your body. We’re taught that self-care, relationships, spirituality, movement and career are equally important. Using a journal is a form of self-care that will give you insight into the other elements of your life from whether or not your career is bringing you up or your relationship bringing you down, or if you are using food to nourish your body of fend off boredom.

If you’d like help setting goals and learning to nourish yourself to lose weight, gain energy, sleep better … feel better, visit my website

Nancy Ogelsby