Summer is well underway and with it a more relaxed pace. School is out for most people; the sun is shining; we have more time to socialize, get outside, and do other things that support both our physical and mental health! One way to engage in healthy self-care practices is by journaling. Studies have found that people who journal as part of their mental health and wellness routine report journaling to be a positive, enjoyable, and helpful experience alongside other forms of therapy. Further, participants in the study reported that journaling led to more relaxation; helped them with focusing and concentration; and allowed them to replace negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones.
At Charlie Health, journaling is an integral part of our Virtual IOP program, especially in group therapy. We encourage our patients to channel their emotions by writing about them. Processing things like anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse by getting them out of your head and onto the page can be immensely helpful in better understanding the nuances of your mental health struggles. Journaling also provides a break from social media in a time when social media usage is linked to high rates of depression and social anxiety.
During the summer, when we often see people more often and have packed social calendars, the ability to unplug and tune in is even more important. Journaling during these months can help you cultivate gratitude and be present, which allows you to more deeply appreciate the people you’re spending time with and the experiences you’re having. Gratitude and grounding are both excellent mindfulness techniques, which is yet another form of therapy we integrate into our care programs here at Charlie Health. “Journaling is a way for you to get your thoughts out of your head and onto a page,” said Charlie Health’s Clinical Director, Shawnna Punteney, LPC. “When you’re feeling stressed or anxious or overwhelmed, journaling helps you organize your thoughts. And when you’re feeling down or sad, writing can literally feel cathartic by giving those emotions room to live outside of your mind. I think journaling benefits all types of people in recovery and with bettering their mental health in general.”
Try writing a journal entry to some of these prompts. Play around with the form: you can try writing things down the old-fashioned way, crafting poems, recording voice notes, or even drawing or painting! Most importantly...have fun with it!
- What is your summer intention? It can be one word, a phrase, or a favorite affirmation!
- What is your favorite summer memory from your childhood?
- Write a love letter to your body. Summer can take a toll on our body image as media encourages us to get into shape for that ideal bikini body. Let those negative feelings float away for a few minutes and tell your body how much and why you love it!
- What is your favorite outdoor activity? How can it translate into other areas of your life?
- What do you appreciate most about summer?
- What inspirational quotes, poems, and songs remind you of the summer? How can you use their wisdom throughout the rest of the year?
- How can you manage your expectations of the summer? This is a season full of socializing, sunshine, and sometimes inflated expectations. When our expectations don’t align with what’s realistically possible, we can end up disappointed or frustrated (yes, summer FOMO is real).
Journaling is just one strategy offered by Charlie Health’s expert clinical care team. We provide our clients with personalized, virtual mental healthcare for mental health disorders ranging from anxiety and depression to substance use disorders to PTSD. In combination with a comprehensive network of care, coping mechanisms like journaling allow our clients and families to work toward sustainable recovery and wellness.
If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, please reach out. Charlie Health is here to support teens and young adults struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. Our team of expert professionals is here to listen and develop an appropriate treatment plan that fits your needs. You are not alone––Charlie Health is here to support you.