The new year is often a time of reflection and goal setting. Whether you are starting therapy, ending a relationship, or just working on your wellness, writing about your life can be a therapeutic way to foster growth. If you find that you get writer’s block or struggle to decide what to write about, try using these 52 journal prompts to get you through the year.
What goals do you have for the new year?
What type of movement makes your body feel strong?
How can you speak to yourself with positivity when rising in the morning?
How does rest play a role in your day-to-day routine?
How do you foster love in your home?
How would you like to show up for yourself this week?
How do you love yourself?
What are the characteristics of a loving relationship?
What are you doing to heal yourself?
What progress have you made on your goals?
How can you give yourself grace this week?
What space in your home has been neglected and how could you give it attention?
How are you taking care of your body?
What does “stopping to smell the roses” look like in your life?
How do you incorporate spirituality into your life?
Where do you like to go to be with nature?
What emotions come up for you at meal time?
What is the first thing in your morning that brings you joy?
What is one phrase you can say to yourself that uplifts you?
How can you be intentional about new habits?
What do you need this week to feel well?
How can you show up for yourself and those around you?
How can you make your home better meet your needs?
What in your environment helps you calm your nerves?
What excites you and lights up your face?
How can you prepare for stress instead of reacting to it?
What do you need from your relationships in order for them to improve?
How do your finances affect your mental health?
How could a consistent routine alleviate stress in your day-to-day life?
How will you incorporate self care this week?
What will your future self be thanking you for doing this week?
What are your goals for the next month ahead?
How can you enter this week feeling refreshed?
What is one thing that brings you hope for the future?
How can you show up for yourself and your community?
How can you make your space feel more warm and welcoming?
What is a strength of yours and something that you love about yourself?
What will quench your desires this week?
How can you show up for yourself this week?
When will you practice gratitude this week?
How can you reward yourself for getting through another week?
How can you honor your ancestors in your decisions this week?
Why do you crave rest and how can you make space for it this week?
What are your strengths and how can you put them on display?
Who can you ask for help in order to reduce any present overwhelm?
How are you giving to the people in your life and community?
What are the pains you need to let go of in order to move forward in life?
What and who are you grateful for this season?
How can you start your week in a way that helps you flourish?
How will you work towards your goals this week?
Who or what inspires you to keep pushing forward?
How do you express love for yourself and others in your life?
Use these affirmations to acknowledge growth and learn about yourself along your journey. This is just one short chapter on a long path to wellness.
Terminating your therapy treatment after months or years of work, progress, and building a therapeutic relationship can be hard. It can feel like a breakup or a betrayal or the end of a chapter in your life. Your therapist may feel this way too. Termination is a necessary part of helping you learn how to rely on yourself and your new skills, but it still doesn’t make it easy.
There is often a desire to check in with a client after terminating therapy, but it’s not something we can ethically do, unfortunately. Therapists love hearing from an old client that they are doing well or they’ve reached a major milestone in their life. We just can’t reach out to ask ourselves. Don’t think this is because we aren’t interested. Your therapist is always rooting for you. Long after you end treatment, your therapist may think about you and wonder if you did that thing you were working so hard to reach. Therapists care long after treatment ends.
There’s often times some key thoughts therapists wish they could share with old clients. So it may be helpful to know what your therapist couldn’t reach out and say…
We are rooting for your growth and peace.
Just because it was time to end formal treatment, doesn’t mean the progress or growth stops. As you end therapy, you may find that the hard work is just beginning. Instead of waiting for that weekly session to share about your ups and downs, you may be spending time on your own writing about your week or making time to share with loved ones. You will continue discovering things about yourself and learning about you. It may just be a more unconscious growth, and that’s okay.
We hope you are staying well and prioritizing your needs and desires.
Don’t forget to continue checking in with yourself. Asking yourself how you are doing, and what your needs are. Recognizing new goals or changes in your values. We know life happens and you may even feel inclined to reach out to re-start treatment, but you got this. Life will throw you curve balls, and you will hit them out the park. You will always be growing, and we know you have the tools needed to meet any bump in the road with grace.
We valued you sharing your story with us, and are wishing you well.
Your therapist holds so much gratitude for your openness and willingness to pursue wellness in your life. We hold your story dear and think of you when we are helping new individuals on their journey. You helped your therapist grow and learn and become a better clinician. Not only was your story shaped by the time you shared, but your therapist’s story was also influenced as you both traveled this path to growth. Thank you.
You may have shared tears, laughter, or truth with your therapist, and they will always be grateful for that time. You are deserving of continued growth and joy in your life. You are thought of and cared for long after that last session. You are always welcome in our office.
Therapy is a process that is well worth the wait when you get to the end. As more people start and end their therapy journey, it became apparent that having a space to track that progress and set goals can be a vital part of the healing journey. That is why the Healing Journal was created.
Critical questions are asked when you start attending therapy and often times it is hard to answer them. Questions like, “Are you getting enough sleep?”, “Are you eating food that fuels you?”, “Are you incorporating movement into your weekly routine?”, amongst others. These three key aspects of your healing journey can often times be overlooked when focusing on your mental health. That’s why it was so important to incorporate these vital trackers into the Healing Journal. Being able to track your sleep, eating habits, exercise, mindfulness, and more puts you in a better space to capitalize on your time in therapy. You have data and a clear picture of how these aspects of your health are impacting your mental state.
Once you have a clear picture of the foundational aspects of your wellness, it is time to move onto your goals and the plan to reach them. A treatment plan is the core of a therapist’s work because it guides the therapy process and keeps everyone on track to the finish line. One of the crucial questions to establish a treatment plan, “What will be different about your life when therapy is done?” What is the ultimate goal you are trying to reach? Is it reasonable? Is it something you have control over? What are the steps YOU are willing to take to get to that goal? Therapy can take 3-12 months to see growth, and it is hard to keep track of your long term goals without a written record of what it was you came in to work on in the first place. Using the treatment plan in the Healing Journal helps keep you on track.
90 days can sound like a short amount of time or a long time depending on what goal you are trying to reach. When making note of daily gratitude, highs and lows of the week, important questions your therapist gave you to ponder, to do lists, and so much more you need space to stay organized. Having a monthly calendar to mark important dates, upcoming appointments, and more can help with that organizational piece. Plus you’ll be able to follow up that monthly plan with daily spreads that track the little day-to-day accomplishments.
Incorporating these three tools into your bullet journal can be a major upgrade as you navigate the therapy process. Tracking your self care, planning out your goals, and ultimately noting the progress along the way are the steps to maximizing your healing journey. If you want a head start on these items check out the Healing Journal on Amazon! If you are a California resident and interested in starting therapy, book a free consultation here!
You are probably a millennial (or Gen Z) who is asking themselves, “should you have kids?”. With bigger questions looming like “is global warming going to destroy the planet?” and “will I ever pay off my student loans?”, having the responsibility of kids is getting pushed much further down the list of things you need to figure out by time you’re 30.
As many of us are getting a later start on starting a family, we are realizing we have a little more life experience and are more aware of the nuances of family planning. Getting married at 20 and having 4 kids by 30 is no longer the norm. A 25 year old, fully developed brain can see that much more clearly.
I am a mom first and foremost. It is the most important role in my busy life and the one that brings the most satisfaction, happiness, and stress. Yes, stress is one of the top 3 emotions felt as a mom. But that is for a very good reason. Being a parent is like visiting Disneyland everyday.
This is good news for those that love Disneyland. If you are a proud annual pass holder, you are probably also someone who has always wanted a whole minivan full of kiddos.
You Live for Fleeting Moments of Unimaginable Joy
If you have ever been to Disneyland, you know that Disneyland is 80% planning, waiting in line, and overspending, while only 20% fun & magical. You may spend weeks or even months planning out an ideal trip. It’s the most magical place on earth, so why wouldn’t you want to go? But the day of, after spending an arm & a leg on tickets (hotels, flights, rental cars, etc. for those non-Californians) you find yourself cramped in a car taking a rather long drive through LA traffic, which feels even longer when the last mile takes 20 minutes just to enter the parking lot. Then takes another 30 minutes to find parking, wait in line, take a tram ride, and wait in line some more. Finally there’s that ever rewarding, awestruck feeling once you get through security and see that glorious Disney character posing in front of those gorgeous hedges.
That feeling lasts all of a minute. Then you are off to grab fast-pass tickets or try to be first in line for your favorite ride. You spend most of the day waiting in line for 20 minutes for a 2 minute ride. That although fun, feels like it didn’t last long enough. You then have to make the decision of whether to eat the overpriced food or not. Those Dole whips are delicious, but is that really a meal? The day flies by and before you know it you are trying to find a decent spot in the crowd to watch the magical fireworks at the end of the night. Then you fight your way through more crowds and tram rides to head back home through traffic.
That my friends, is what parenthood is like.
So when you ask yourself, “should I have kids?”. You should really ask yourself, “would I want to plan a trip to Disneyland everyday for the next 18 years?”.
It Starts During Your Pregnancy Journey
If you are already a parent, you know that means being stressed 80% of the time, while hoping that 20% filled with joy makes up for it. Any person who has carried a child will tell you it is uncomfortable at best and life threatening at worst. But this experience is almost always shared along with the tiny moments that were so meaningful you almost forgot how much pain you were in. Like hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time or feeling them kick.
In the early stages of being a parent it feels like those momentous occasions happen a little more frequently. So all the explosive diapers and sleepless nights are met with a pretty regular hit of dopamine. Their first laugh, their first steps, their first words. All priceless moments that any parent would say was well worth it. But is it really?
It doesn’t get easier over time (although some swear it does). The stress changes from late night feedings to arguing with a toddler about why vegetables are important to worrying if your teen is making good social choices when they are out on their own. The dopamine hits get further and further apart too. Meeting milestones every few months turns to every few years rather quickly. And it all flies by way faster than we thought it would. Overall we look back with hindsight bias and tell ourselves it was all worth it. While in the moment we are thinking, “How did I get here??”.
Why We Don’t Talk about the Stressors of Parenthood
Our parents (or other parent-type figures), often spring the question on us, “when are you going to have kids?”. This question is super unfair. It is loaded with all these other underlining thoughts and assumptions. Like…
“When are you going to get married?”
“When are you going to make enough money to afford a kid?”
“Are your reproductive organs working right?”
“Do your values align with mine?”
None of these questions should really ever be asked. Unless you are the person also trying to raise this hypothetical child.
Because there is a distance between their experience of having children and the present moment; I think a lot of folks forget just how hard, stressful, and exhausting it is to raise healthy, happy children. No one discusses with you the risks of pregnancy and labor. Or the struggles of making ends meet when you aren’t considered upper middle class. Or even how you could be considered upper middle class, but once your household size grows, you are considered barely scraping by.
If someone asked you, “when are you going to add more stress to your life?”, it would be met with, “Why would I want to do that!?”. That is truly what is being asked in these scenarios. No matter what stage of life you are in, having a child will almost always add stress to your plate. You could be a billionaire and you would still be more stressed after having a kid than prior to having a kid. Will a kid potentially add love and joy into your life as well? Sure! But will it balance out the systemic issues we have with providing for today’s children. Maybe not.
How to Prepare for Children
When we talk about stress in therapy, we often use this idea of having a bucket that is sitting under a running faucet. The water is the stress that inevitably shows up in little and big ways throughout our week. If we let that bucket overflow, that is the state of overwhelm and burnout. But if we put holes in the bucket the water will flow out in a more controlled manner, and the bucket won’t overflow. The holes are coping skills.
When you are considering having children, you have to consider the fact that the faucet will start flowing more forcefully and quickly. Do you have enough holes to manage it? Do you have the coping skills needed to control the flow? Will you be able to prevent it from overflowing? Some individuals may have a slight trickle prior to having kids. So a sudden rush of water still feels manageable. But if you are holding your bucket under an already broken faucet, can you handle it becoming a raging waterfall??
Asking yourself or your partner, “should you have kids?” is a tough question. Try asking yourself instead:
“Do we have the resources needed to cope with an increase in stress?”
“Is our relationship in a place where we can focus on another life and not feel disconnected?”
“Do we want to significantly alter our lifestyles?”
“Is ‘the joy of parenthood’ a value that tops others in our life currently?”
“Would I want to plan a trip to Disneyland everyday for the next 18 years?”
On July 16th, 2022, the National Mental Health Crisis line will be active across the United States. 9-8-8. The previous number, 1-800-273-TALK(8255), will remain available, so either number will work.
Established in 2005, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline helped reduce the incidence of suicidality and depression in callers over the past 15+ years. Call centers across the United States are reachable 24 hours a day and 7 days a week via call, chat, or text.
When one calls the new number they will reach trained crisis counselors. These counselors speak with callers from a framework of empathy and trauma-informed crisis intervention. The new 9-8-8 number will be primary to 9-1-1 in cases of threats of suicide. If someone calls 9-1-1 due to a mental health crisis, they will be rerouted to 9-8-8 counselors. This is due to the fact that 9-8-8 will deploy crisis teams (in locations where they are available) instead of police to assist the individual.
When considering helping a friend or loved one dealing with mental health challenges, remember 9-8-8. It could save a life. Additional crisis resources for specific scenarios or populations are accessible here.