When to Journal | Best Schedule for Self-Reflective Journaling
If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ve likely read a thing or two about self-reflective journaling by this point. And as always, if you’re considering picking up this unique hobby, we highly recommend it. Just because you’d like to try it out, though, doesn’t mean you always have time for it.
As adults, we often get so caught up in our responsibilities and chores that we find it difficult to make time for self-maintenance—especially if it’s something new. Because of this, the biggest hurdle you have to overcome in order to reap the benefits of self-expressive journaling is finding the time to do it regularly.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the best tactics you can use to set aside time for self-reflective journaling, as well as recommend a general schedule that you can adapt to your own needs.
Let’s get started:
Why is Journaling Hard to Find Time For?
First things first: before we get started, it’s an absolute necessity to talk about why most people can’t seem to make time for journaling.
Self-reflective journaling, at its core, is something most people do for the benefits it provides. Unfortunately, if you’re new to journaling, you don’t know how it will affect you or whether it helps at all. Because of this, it’s easy to dismiss it after a week or even a few days when you don’t see any noticeable results.
As humans, this is totally normal! We are hardwired to seek instant gratification and we quickly grow bored when we don’t receive it. Social media has only worsened this condition, so it can be extremely difficult to get your journaling habit off the ground. If you want to see results, though, you must push through!
When is the Best Time to Journal?
Naturally, the best time to journal will be different for everyone. You may be someone who likes to use it as a mechanism to calm down in the middle of the day while someone else prefers to do it in the morning as a reflective exercise before they kick things off. Both of these options are totally valid.
You aren’t looking for “valid” though. You’re looking for a time that will be easy to set aside for daily or every-other-day journaling.
So, with this in mind, what is the best time for most people to journal?
According to the findings of several different psychologists and mindfulness experts, the best time for you to journal depends almost entirely on when your brain is most active—that is, either early in the morning or right before bed.
Let’s take a deeper look at why this is:
Morning or Night: When Should I Journal?
According to Sleep Review Magazine, there is technically no Universally accepted reason that some people are more active at night and others in the morning. However, there is one theory that seems to have more traction than all the others.
Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at Oxford, explains it in terms of evolutionary differences. According to him, we can trace this phenomenon back to the time of cavemen.
During this period of humanity, predators roamed at all hours of the day and night, so some individuals would be responsible for keeping watch at night and others during the day. Over time, this became ingrained in our genetics and formed two completely separate, opposite lineages: the early birds and the night owls.
So now, back to the question at hand: when should you be journaling?
The answer is simple: choose the time of day when your mind is most active and which coincides with when you aren’t caught up with other activities. By default, these times will either be just after you wake up or just before you go to bed. For early birds, doing it in the morning will provide an excellent way to kickstart your brain before you get going. For night owls, doing it before bed will help you expel the thoughts rattling around in your brain so that you can get a better quality of sleep!
Ultimately, it is up to you to choose what times suit you best for this hobby. With that in mind, however, this guide certainly should have helped you understand when journaling is best for you, as well as give you some background information on why that is.
And as a final word, we’d like to leave you with one final piece of advice:
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.
That is, if you find that you are an early bird who seems to get more benefit from journaling at night, then by all means do that. We’ve attempted to make this guide as general as possible so that it helps as many people as it can, but there will always be those that fall outside the general spectrum.
If this is you, then embrace it!
With that said, your team here at LIFEazine encourages you to get out there and start your journaling journey—as well as to be unapologetically, uniquely you.