As everyone knows, healthcare can be a difficult environment to work in. Long hours, being short-staffed, and taking care of sick patients make nursing and other healthcare jobs hard. Many nurses find journaling a good way to de-stress in between shifts.
Benefits of Journaling.
Journaling has been shown to have several benefits, including:
- Reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression
- Improves mood and overall mental health.
- Improves sleep.
- Enhances the immune system.
- Decreases compassion fatigue and burnout among nurses.
- Helps a person understand and manage their emotions.
If you are new to journaling, you may find it difficult to get started. You sit down with your notebook. Open it to the first page with the intent to write something great, but your mind goes blank. You have no idea what to write about. So, you start off just writing about your day but then find that journaling is not really helping you with your mental health and is just a log of all the things you have done throughout the week. It can even be hard for people who have journaled for years to figure out what to write about. This is when journal prompts can be helpful.
What is a Journal Prompt?
A journal prompt is a question, sentence, or quote that helps you jump-start your thoughts. For example, the question, “Was today a good day?” might be a prompt. From here, you would just write about whether you felt like you had a good day. These easy questions help you focus your thoughts, and depending on what you write, it can help you figure out your feelings about your day.
Journal prompts can also help give your journaling a purpose.
If you are turning to a journal to help you through a situation you are struggling with or to move forward from a difficult experience, it is important not to just write about your feelings but how to change your perspective about a situation.
In nursing, we are exposed to many traumatic experiences and challenging issues, but we don’t always give ourselves the time and space to process those emotions. Or we get stuck in a mental loop where we might feel sad or guilty about a situation and are not able to move past the experience.
It can be life-changing
I have personally experienced this several times in my nursing career. The first time, one of my patients died. An emergency gone wrong. A medication error. All these things can make us feel terrible about ourselves. Journaling about this situation can be beneficial, but if done correctly, journaling can be life-changing.
The difference between just journaling and changing your life all has to do with the way you journal. If you just focus on your negative feelings, you can exacerbate those feelings and feel worse. What you want to do is change your perspective about your experience. Change the way you think and feel about the event. This can be achieved by using the right type of prompts. Ones that will help you dive deeper into why you are feeling the way you do and help you find a different way to view your struggle or your issues.
Types of prompt books
There are several different types of journal prompt books you can use. For example, a gratitude journal will have prompts that help you look at the positive parts of your life. Wellness journals may have prompts to help you focus on your health.
As nurses, we are exposed to unique experiences that not everyone understands. The following journal prompt books were written by a nurse and designed to focus your journaling. The questions are designed to help you explore all your feelings, good and bad, while at the same time helping you build skills to improve your daily health and wellness.
Whatever type of journal prompts you choose to use, every nurse should start the habit of journaling. It does not have to be with just a pen and paper either.
There are several different types of journaling, such as:
- Reflective- This is when you write about what has happened in your day and what you think about it.
- Mindfulness- This is when you focus on what is going on in the moment and write about your surroundings.
- Gratitude- This is when you focus and write about things you are grateful for.
So, whether you are new to journaling or have been journaling for a while, journal prompts can increase the benefits you get from writing. They can help you figure out what to write and change your perspective on things, which in turn, can change your life.
Do you journal as a travel nurse or travel healthcare worker? Do you find that it helps you? If you would like to share your story or any tips you may have, comment below.
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