How to Start Journaling Without Feeling Overwhelmed

Woman starting a journal

Did you set a resolution this year to ‘start journaling’ but you still haven’t picked this habit up? Do you feel overwhelmed and apprehensive because you don’t know how to start journaling without it feeling like a chore? I feel you.

People have this concept of journaling as something you have to do every single day and write pages and pages about your feelings. And that is not the case at all. There is also a misconception of starting a journal only if you suffer from depression or anxiety to process your feelings and help you get through it. And the truth is, whilst some people who suffer from mental health issues find it very helpful to journal in order to organise their thoughts, people who don’t still find journaling very useful to deal with and process any kind of tough situation.

Know what the purpose of your journal will be

How to start journaling if you don’t have anything to write about? If you thought journaling only meant writing down your thoughts and what you get up to every day, you’re wrong! Sure, this is one of the main purposes why people start journaling, but there are so many other types of journals and ways to use one that I can assure you you’ll find the one that works for you. Finding what you want to journal about is the key to starting a journal without feeling overwhelmed or pressured to do it. Take a look at the following ideas:


A place where you can write about your day, your feelings, your fears... whatever crosses your mind! You want to start a diary but you’re not sure how to start a journal entry? Good news: there are no rules on how to start one! You can even write 3 lines a day and that will already help you get a thought out of your head and make you feel better!

Bullet journal

If you’ve read my article on creative bullet journal spreads you’ll know this type of journal can be used for anything! Starting a bullet journal can help you organise your life as you can write your to-do list every day and keep a record of your habits, your expenses, the books you’re reading, etc.

Travel journal

This one is perfect for the avid traveller that wants to keep track of all the memories they make around the world! When starting a travel journal you don’t have the pressure to write on it every single day and it can end up being a place full of positive memories that you can look back to at any time. You can also do like I do and combine my travel journal with my bullet journal, so I have everything in one notebook!

Bullet Journal

How to start journaling without fancy supplies

You don’t need perfect and colourful supplies in order to start journaling. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need a notebook! Yes, most people recommend journaling on a notebook to give your mind a break from the screens and because there’s something therapeutic, rhythmic and calming about writing by hand. Starting a journal on a journaling App (or just your notes app on your phone) means not having to worry about carrying a notebook and a pen with you and just whipping out your phone when you have an extra moment in your day.

Most people find that the worry and overwhelm about starting to journal comes within the pressure of having beautiful pens and a desk full of stationary. And whilst on Instagram it might feel like this is the case, in real life most people who journal find they can be creative with a simple black pen and a paper. Plus, your journal should only be for you and as long as you like it, that’s all that matters. So, if you were wondering how to start journaling with cool pens and pencils, wonder no more!

Don’t force it to be a habit

Journaling should be something you enjoy. If you force yourself to make it a habit that you have to do every single day, you’ll end up making it a chore. Find the journal that works for you and your own journaling method. Let the motivation and excitement about picking up the journal and writing on it come naturally to you! Maybe that is once a week, once a month, or maybe every day before heading to work or before you go to bed.

Fun fact: the only journal that I have ever completed (filled in every single page on it) is my anxiety journal. I just write on it when there’s a situation bothering me, and I need to write it down to get it off my chest and know how I’ll approach it. This journal has basically become a need at this point! But don’t ask me to write about my day before I go to bed because I simply can’t do it. And that’s fine! Again, it is about what works for you and what you want to write about!

Keep reading: Why journaling is good and beneficial for everyone

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