Feature Image by Jess Bailey

Self-care is more than face masks and long soaks in the tub — there’s also the mental and emotional components for a healthy balance. And during these times of isolation that the global pandemic has presented us, our mental health might not be in the best shape.

In a recent CDC study, 26% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety, which is nearly triple the amount of Americans who reported anxiety symptoms around this time last year. If you’ve been experiencing anxiety symptoms this year, you are not alone.

To help bring your well-being to a better place, journaling is a fantastic tool that allows you to self-reflect, work through emotions, and create empowering plans of action. There’s really no right or wrong way to exercise this activity. Sometimes simply brain dumping can be a therapeutic release.

But for those moments when looking down at a blank page feels more intimidating than inspiring, you can begin with one of these calming journaling prompts.

Dear body, I know I’m not always the kindest to you, even though you’ve accomplished a lot. I love you because you have _______ for me. I promise to show you that I care by ______.
We’ve been hearing a lot about the “quarantine 15,” but hey, we’re all going through a literal pandemic. This isn’t the time (or ever, to be honest) to feel shameful. If you’ve been feeling down on your body, try out this prompt.

What have I done lately that really resonates with my soul? How can I strive for more moments like that?
Think back on activities and accomplishments that really aligned with your soul. It could be as small as doodling a cute cartoon on a napkin. The key is to pinpoint any activities that sparked joy and then identify the common theme to uncover why those activities sparked joy. Is it because you live for moments where you can express yourself in a creative way? Is it because you absolutely love it when you can help uplight others? Whatever it is, reflect on it and brainstorm how you can continue creating more moments like that in your life — big or small.

What are the five things I can do today to recharge and rest? How can I empower myself today so that I can be more positive and productive tomorrow?
It can be helpful to get specific about your intentions, and this prompt allows you to dig a little deeper by creating an actionable list. Those five actions don’t need to be exorbitant. They can be activities such as taking an extra-long shower or having a mini dance party in your bedroom. Remember that the smallest of activities can bring immense joy, especially when added up throughout the day.

What are the three things I love about myself? What can I do to be more kind to myself?
If you want to take this prompt a step further, list three things you love about your personality and three things you love about your body. Now that you’ve highlighted the amazing things about you, you’re also in a good frame of mind to think of ways to show more kindness to yourself.

What is something that I dwell on that interferes with my ability to be present at the moment? How can I let go of that?
If you experience constant, racing thoughts, chances are that many of those thoughts stem from one large, central fear. What is that one fear that causes you to stay stuck in your own mind? And, what are some steps you can take to let go of that?

Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for.
Ruminating in all of the things you are grateful for is a fantastic way to start your day. As simple and straightforward as this prompt is, it never fails to uplift spirits and help you see the rest of your day through a positive lens.

Write a letter forgiving yourself for something that happened in the past that still holds space in your heart.
You know that calming sense of relief you get when you declutter a room in your home? Well, the same goes for our hearts too. Are you holding feelings and memories in your heart that no longer serve you? If so, taking the time to write a letter forgiving yourself can help you declutter emotionally.

Describe a place that makes you happy and linger on the details like how that place looks, smells, feels, and sounds.
When you’re feeling restless, hyper-focusing on one moment can do wonders to calm you down. Try thinking of one of your favorite places and describe it in great detail. Slow down and think of how each item in the setting you’re imagining looks, feels, and smells.

What can I do to make my light shine brighter?
Visualize light and goodness radiating from you and think of actions you can take to allow your light to shine even brighter. This can look like positive self-affirmations to boost your confidence, nourishing your body with healthy whole foods, or expanding your mind with inspirational podcasts.

xx, The FabFitFun Team