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2020: The Year of Therapeutic Journaling

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Some of us have found solace in the past year since being impacted by the virus, whether that be being introduced to new shows since being stuck at home, the ease of using PayPal during online shopping trips, or finding out that you’ve found a hobby you never knew you would be interested in. For others, it has led to figuring out our emotions and being stuck with them at home. As for me, I’ve been able to be more in touch with my emotions with everything going on through journaling.

I started journaling when I was in second grade after buying a kick-ass Dr. Seuss journal and a snazzy gel pen at the yearly Scholastic book fair. Simplistic entries ranged from learning how to write cursive, talks of play during recess, and whether or not I was going to be able to hang with my best friend during the weekend playing with Polly Pockets. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I started getting back into the habit again. The privilege of studying abroad (and the hard work of taking lots of hours at work the summer beforehand to afford it) brought on a lot of emotions and stress. Whether that be being thousands of miles away from home and feeling homesick or the stressors that come with being acclimated to a new country, there was a lot to deal with.

Then came 2020, and we all know how rough that year was. It was that horrible year, 2020, that reminded me that the only way I was able to grow from those mishaps and still currently learn about myself and my thoughts was and is to write them down. I personally know people that don’t believe in the advantage of journaling. It’s forever a learning process but I feel that I’m better for taking the time to do it. There’s power in the daily entries and there’s power in the “sorry it’s been a few weeks” entries. Having been someone who utilizes both, there’s no right or wrong in my eyes. As long as I put in the time to write, I feel that a weight comes off my shoulders.

Being one that goes back to my past journals and reads those entries, I sometimes laugh at what I’ve written. Problems from the past get chuckles because of how silly some of them sound reading about them years later. Things I believed in the past that I still believe now make me wonder if I’ve made progress in who I was back then and who I am now. All of it comes down to self-reflection and keeping in mind at the end of the day that we’re all humans who go through similar hardships in life, but in different occurrences. Through reflection, I’m able to be given a space to unpack and release. Journaling has been a healthy way to deal with my past struggles instead of keeping them bottled up. This may not be the best coping for everyone but I’ve found that writing in a journal slows me down (in a good way) by prioritizing my mental wellbeing.

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