Journaling for self-reflection, mindfulness, and creative expression
Connecting with our past, present, and future selves through written words.

Between pressures at work, full course loads in university, and dwindling attention spans, it’s difficult to set aside time in the day to reflect. The good news, though, is that we are more than capable of doing difficult things. Thus, I present to you my favourite activity for self-reflection, mindfulness, and creative expression: journaling.

As a child, I wrote countless diary entries about new words I discovered in school, boys I had crushes on, and cute Gap sweaters I got from the shopping mall with my mom. Elementary school not only comprised learning proper grammar and multiplication tables, but also learning how to reflect on my life through written words. Unfortunately, like most childhood hobbies, I lost sight of this practice as I grew older. Time spent writing was replaced by studying, partying, or just laying in bed. However, I’ve made a pact with myself that 2024 will be the year I bring my childhood back. I may be turning 21 and officially entering the “adult years,” but I refuse to let my love for journaling be another thing I box up to store in the attic. 

On January 1, I posted a video of my journal to TikTok, and it blew up—reaching an audience of more than four million and counting. Clearly, journaling was something other people wanted to do too. However, there’s a major difference between wanting to do something and actually doing it. Creating new habits can be challenging, especially with the busy happenings of everyday life. The key to being consistent with journaling is to make it an enjoyable practice. 

Your journal can be anything you want it to be. If writing pages full of daily recaps isn’t your thing, don’t force it. Maybe a simple list of the three main things you accomplished that day gets the job done. Or maybe you like to experiment with different artistic mediums like scrapbooking, painting, or sketching. I enjoy using a variety of supplies, such as postcards, oil pastels, and photographs, to add a personal touch. Combined with written entries, my journal reflects who I am. 

Find ways to incorporate your interests into your journal practice. If you like sports, write about what’s going on with your favourite team. If you’re a movie fanatic, maybe some of your journal pages can include reviews. One day, when you’re older, you’ll appreciate the effort that went into documenting the mundanities of your everyday life. 

However, I don’t just journal for my future self so she can look back on memories one day. I also journal for my past self who only ever dreamt of the life I live now. I only hope that you, reading this, will do the same. Write down everything—your hopes, dreams, questions, fears, failures—and while you do, picture a younger version of yourself wishing they could be where you are now; and an older version of yourself celebrating what it took to get there. 

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Keira is in her third year at UTM, working toward a double major in Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing and Communications (PWC). She is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, music lover, nature enthusiast, and above all, a health and wellness advocate who cares deeply about the world around her. When she’s not working or studying, you’ll find her reading her favourite lit-fic novels in the park or booking spontaneous trips around the world.

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