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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Martin-Himmons

10 Types Of Self-Care Journals And How To Make Them

Journaling is one of the best ways of getting in touch with your inner self. It allows you to work out problems, take strong emotions out of your head and onto paper, engage in self-care and reminisce about the best and worst experiences of your life. There are so many reasons to use a journal that many people find that having more than one type of journal might be the best way to keep things organized. When you have more than one type of journal, you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time which allows you to ultimately make better decisions; as you’re able to review everything related to that journal’s purpose at once. Whatever type of journal you decide to use, it’s important that you make the time to write each day.

In this article, I’m going to describe ten different types of journals that can be helpful to you in connecting to your inner self. I’m also going to talk about how to use them. So, read on to find out about a variety of journals.

The Four Most Popular Types of Journals

The 1st four types of journals I’m going to discuss are extremely popular because they work. Especially if you’re interested in analyzing the things going on in your life and how you react to those things.

Bullet Journals

Bullet journals (otherwise called dot grid journals) are all the rage nowadays. They encourage a lot of creativity and are useful for anyone who enjoys doodling, drawing or using rubber stamps, has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper and enjoys tracking their goals.

When using a bullet journal, you should have a table of contents page to make it easier to find specific entries. Bullet journal pages usually consist of dot grids, even though you can also find some with blank pages. In personalizing your bullet journal, you’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make it easy to understand at a glance what’s on the page.

For me, one of the things I truly love about using the bullet journal is tracking my goals. There are so many creative ways that you can build habit trackers within your bullet journal. You can use a calendar style, a circular style or an image – you’re only limited by your imagination.

Classic Journal

The classic journal is what most of us think about when the word journal is mentioned. A classic journal is basically a diary. You write whatever you want in it, whatever way you want each day. Your entries can be long or short and you can skip days if you want to although I don’t recommend doing so.

A great way to utilize your classic journal if you’ve got a lot on your mind is by doing what’s called a brain dump. This is a method of free thought journaling. You set a timer for 10, 15 or 20 minutes and write whatever comes to your mind, whatever way it comes to you. Because your entry isn’t going to be shared with anyone else, it’s okay to be unfiltered in your writing. Just let it out!

Line A Day Journals

A line a day journal is exactly what it sounds like – you write down only one sentence each day. To use it, you just write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most which doesn’t take up a lot of space in your journal.

Line a day journals are great for those of you who like to reminiscence about days gone by. This type of journal provides an easy way to see at glance what you were up to during a week, month or year at a time. It also forces you to be really concise with your writing and to focus only on the most important thing that happened each day.

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journal are one of my personal favorite types of journals. As with many of the journals I’ve spoken about in this post, a gratitude journal is also just what it sounds like. It’s a journal where you record each day what you’re thankful or grateful for. A gratitude journal is a no negativity zone because it’s designed to help you think more positively.

When you’re thinking about what to write in your gratitude journal, think about:

  • What experiences am I grateful for?

  • Who are the people that I’m grateful to have in my life?

  • What’s something that happened in your life that seemed bad, but turned out to be great?

You get the idea.

3 Types Of Journals To Help You See Clearly

These next three journals are really helpful if you’re seeking answers or wanting to make a change in your life. They can help you gain clarity and motivate you to keep pressing on.

Vision Journals

Vision board journal to help with self-care and stress management
Vision "Board" Journal

Many people are familiar with vision boards which are boards that help you to manifest the changes you want to see in your life. A vision journal has a similar purpose as it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. It gives you to motivation to keep going – keep visualizing.

When you’re setting up your vision journal, try to have only one goal per each two page spread. Then you can write words or paste in ones from magazines, add pictures, or draw something that motivates you to reach your goal. When you do reach each goal, make sure you go back and add the date of achievement. You might even consider writing a sentence or two about the process you undertook in reaching the goal.

Much like a vision board, the key to properly using a vision journal is to regularly review it in order to put its contents front and center in your mind. Try to visualize the moment you achieve your goal using as many of your senses as you can:

  • What it will look like, feel like, smell like, sound like and depending on the goal, taste like?

  • Will anyone be with you when you reach your goal?

  • Or will you be on your own? Will you be at home or in some other location?

  • What’s the atmosphere in that location?

Try to place into your mind as many details as you can. Your vision journal is portable, so take it with you wherever you go and look at it as often as you can.

Prayer Journal

A prayer journal can be a powerful tool. This type of journal where you essentially act like your journal is your higher power. In a prayer journal you write your prayers to God instead of saying them. This allows you to go back over your prayers from time to time and see which ones God has granted and how they’ve come to fruition.

Besides your prayers, you can write out your favorite Bible verses and religious or motivational quotes. You can also write out your feelings about prayers that you feel have or have not been answered. A prayer journal helps you to keep God front and center in your life.

Dream Journal

People have always believed in the power of dreams to provide insight into their lives by revealing messages from the subconscious. Dreams can help one deal with the challenges that life may bring, say goodbye to those we’ve loved and lost and just guide you in the right direction.

If you’re interested in tracking your dreams, you should keep your dream journal right next to your bed. As soon as you wake up, write your dreams in your dream journal while you still remember them. Every single detail counts. Once you’ve written your dreams down, you can then use the dream journal to help you research the meanings of those dreams and write about that too.

If there’s a specific problem or challenge that you’re dealing with, try to think about it in detail prior to going to sleep. Your mind will continue to work on the problem while you sleep, and the answer just may come in your dream!

Escape From The Ordinary With These 3 Types Of Specialty Journals

The last three journals that I’m going to discuss are not quite as commonly used as some others, but they are great at helping one get in touch with different aspects of themselves – away from the mundane.

Food Journal

Picture of a water intake sheet from a food journal to increase self-care
Water Water Everywhere!

When most people think of food journals, they think of a traditional calorie counting type of journal. While that is the most common type of food journal, it’s by no means the only kind.

With a traditional food journal, you should write down everything you eat each day. Some people like to include the calorie contents and whether goals such as water intake have been met. You can turn a food journal into a weight loss tool by writing down why you ate a specific type of food, how you felt while eating it and any feelings that came up after eating which can help you pinpoint any food related stressors.

Additional entries could include healthy grocery lists, weight tracking and even your favorite food quotes.

Another type of food journal would be one for someone who considers themselves a “foodie.” In this type of food journal, you can have pictures of dishes you want to make, contact information for your favorite restaurants or restaurants you want to try, recipes that you’re going to attempt and pictures of those same recipes (no matter how they turn out 😊). You can also put entries related to:

  • New foods you’ve tried or intend to try

  • Whether or not you enjoyed eating at that hot new restaurant

  • List out your favorite food blogs

  • Rate how much you liked or didn’t like that new recipe

Again, you’re only limited by your imagination.

Travel Journal

If you’re like me and you L-O-V-E to travel, then a travel journal is for you. It’s a wonderful way for you to remember your travels – the people you met, the places you saw, the foods you tried and anything else significant about your trip.

When you’re thinking about creating a travel journal, one of the first decisions you have to make is whether you want to combine multiple trips into one journal or to dedicate a single journal to each trip. You can use your travel journal to help you plan for your trip by jotting down sites to visit, schedules, logistical information such as flight numbers or tourist offices. Other things you can include in your travel journal are:

  • Your thoughts about your upcoming trip

  • Your thoughts while you’re on the trip

  • Tickets or other souvenirs such as brochures

  • Maps of the area that you stayed in are also a nifty addition

  • Pictures are a given

A travel journal can help you immerse yourself into your trip and when you’re back it continues to help you invoke (hopefully pleasant) memories of your trip which adds to your mental wellbeing and helps to decrease your stress.

Project Journal

If you’re a busy person who works on a lot of different projects, then a project journal may be for you. In the project journal you can keep track of each project you’re working on by recording what the project is about, actions taken during the project, the results, and any relevant data. It’ll help you see what’s going well (or not so well) with your current project and can help you improve each project that comes your way in the future.

So, there you have it! Ten different types of journals for all your journaling needs. Each one can have a place in your self-care repertoire and having specific journals for specific needs can help you remain organized in the long run.

Which of the ten types of journals discussed here are you going to start? Let me know in the comments section.


Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In

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