How To Keep a Health and Wellbeing Journal
Health encompasses so much more than your weight and physical measurements. Mental and emotional health, stress levels, quality of sleep, energy levels and social wellbeing are just a few other important components of our health. Through keeping a journal that details these aspects of your health and lifestyle, you will discover how lifestyle and diet factors intermingle. For example, stress, hormones and exercise all play a significant role in how much and what type of food your body craves. Tracking both diet and lifestyle behaviours will help you identify what changes are necessary for you to become your healthiest self yet.
Why Should I Start a Health Journal?
You Can Discover Lifestyle Patterns: Journaling can help bring some awareness to the habits and actions you perform every day and the impact they have on your life and overall wellbeing. It can be useful to identify behaviours that are beneficial to your health and others that do more harm than good.
You Can Identify What Needs to Change: Once you’ve recognised that some habits you have don’t leave you feeling your best, you can brainstorm a few small changes you can make to enhance your sense of wellbeing. For example, you may notice that on nights you watch TV in bed or scroll through your phone before sleeping, you sleep poorly and wake many times throughout the night. You may then decide to start switching off all technology one hour before sleep and consider lighting a candle and reading a book instead.
You Will Be Kept Accountable: The act of writing down your health habits and discovering what does and doesn’t work for you allows you to create goals and track your progress and journey on a regular basis. This will help you stay accountable and achieve your health and wellbeing goals.
What Should I Record?
Record what time you go to bed and what time you wake up in the morning. Record how you feel upon waking, are you well-rested and refreshed or do you feel tired and fatigued? What is your night-time routine in the lead up to sleep? Does following this routine help you to sleep more deeply?
Record how you feel before and after any form of mindful activity such as reading, meditating, listening to music, baking or simply walking in nature. Do you feel calmer and more focused? Or are you still restless and agitated after engaging in these activities? Identify what works for you and aim to spend 10-15 minutes every day completing this task.
Pick 3-4 times throughout the day where you stop and ask yourself how you are feeling. It could be upon waking in the morning, before you eat your lunch and just before you go to sleep. Do you feel fatigued? Lethargic? Do you feel more energetic and focused in the morning compared to the afternoon? Do you hit a ‘slump’ after lunch? A good start is rating how energetic you feel on a scale of 1-10 while asking yourself these questions and jotting down any other observations.
Stress Levels and Mood Changes
We’ve all reached the end of a long day where we feel exhausted, burnt-out and grumpy. On these days, it can be useful to write down the stressors you encountered across the day and why they have made you feel stressed. Although we may not to be able to eliminate all sources of stress, identifying ways to minimise and reduce our level of stress can have profound impacts on our health and mood. This can be as simple as dedicating more time to a long commute, preparing meals in advance or setting aside time in your week to time block your tasks in order to feel more organised and in control.
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