Whether you choose to track your daily exercises, mood, sleep schedule or even your pain level for each day, health journals are beneficial for many reasons. Today, I am going to outline a few benefits to keeping a health journal, and how journaling will become your new best friend!
1. You Can Uncover New Patterns
Logging different aspects of your health and keeping track of everyday health information like sleep and exercise for example, might help you consider certain causes and effects you never thought about before. If you are someone who wants to start tracking your sleep, for example, you may uncover that over a period of time you realize that nights where you slept with a weighted blanket, you were able to fall into a deeper sleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
As well, if you are someone who wants to track your daily water intake, you may find that your mood increases throughout the day when you drink more than eight glasses of water.
2. You Will Know What to Change
There’s a reason bodybuilders and fitness pros keep a detailed record of their meals, workouts, and water intake. It all comes down to the fact that you can’t change or improve what you don’t measure, and you can’t duplicate success if you don’t know what’s working.
By tracking aspects of your daily lifestyle, over a period of time you will be able to recognize realistic measures of what works best for you and your family, so you can continue the right habits and ditch the wrong ones.
3. Stop You From Falling into a Rut
Journaling will help you notice certain lifestyle factors that may cause you to fall astray on your health plan. By reflecting on the past few weeks and visually viewing what works for you and what may not have, knowing this information ahead of time can help you to prioritize certain lifestyle changes and choices to keep you being the best version of you, and avoid slumps!
4. Personal Accountability
Accountability is one of our core values here at Full Circle Health Network, and one aspect of our lives that we strive to implement both in our personal and work lives. Many of our practitioners have turned to bullet journals and exercise trackers, to help stay on track and weed out certain lifestyle choices and changes that do not suit who we are!
Even if you’re journaling just a few key things every day, writing things down gives you a solid reason to stay on track. If you really want to stay accountable, keep a journal in a public place so that others can encourage and support you along the way.
Here at Full Circle Health Network, our practitioners are very open about our journalling, and share our wins and accomplishments with one another each Wednesday during our weekly meeting!
5. Helps to Narrow Down on Health
One of the most important factors to health journalling, is not only allowing you to identify certain aspects of your health and lifestyle that may impact who you are, but professionals.
For example, you may slowly realize that the only way your chronic pain subsides in pain each day is if you are doing a certain stretch. That certain stretch may be a factor in your range of motion for the whole day. By journalling this information, you are able to not only realize that for yourself, but speak about it to your doctor and practitioners.
What Should I Journal?
A great question indeed! The more information you record in your health journal, the better. If this seems overwhelming, start with a high level of a few key aspects of your health, and then drill down to get super specific on things that you think might help uncover more information as you go along.
Here is a list of possible contenders for your journal:
1. Medicine/Vitamin Intake
Record any supplements you take, and go back to record the days you forgot to take your regularly scheduled vitamins. In fact, days you forget to take certain meds might give you some needed insight you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise!
2. Water Intake
We all know that hydration is very important for your body on a cellular level. Keep track of how many ounces of water you drink every day to see how hydration affects your health. You can use smartphone apps for this, Daily Water Tracker, Hydro Coach, and even WaterMinder.
You can keep this one super simple by recording what time you go to bed, what time you wake up in the morning, but did you know you could also record sleep quality? Certain apps, like Sleep Cycle, can do a deep dive into how well you slept, whether or not you snored, and more to help you understand more about what happened while you were unconscious for the last eight hours.
By inputing your sleep schedule into an app, you can then transfer it into writing where you can visually cross things off and input it for yourself! Whether you choose to do your journal electronically or old-school pen on paper, both modalities work!
You don’t need to go to the gym to record your workouts — although that never hurts, either. Note any strenuous activity you did each day, from taking a brisk walk to aggressively cleaning your bathroom. All those hours of physical activity add up quicker than you think!
By imputing your exercise each day, it can also push you to stay on track and finish out the week strong!
5. Pain or Fatigue
Be sure to note any unusual pain points throughout your day, and jot down any feelings of fatigue or brain fog. It’s not a bad idea to give yourself a 1-10 score of how alert and energetic you’re feeling each day.
It’s easy to overlook your mental health and push it on the back burner of life — so, it’s extra important to pay attention to those little changes in mood and emotions. They might help you reveal some interesting patterns about what sparks sudden feelings, and what helped you cope with it. As well, help you to know when the right time to reach out to help or the best way to help you deal with it.
For all the expecting mothers out there, those who are trying to conceive, and those who want to track their monthly cycles, this column is for you! Your mood is heavily dictated by your hormones, so be sure to include this information as well. Note where you are in your monthly cycle (I recommend the app: Flo), stage of pregnancy you’ve reached, to get an idea as to what might be going on hormonally on any given day.
This might seem confusing, but don’t worry — you certainly don’t have to record all of the suggestions above. Plus, you don’t have to rely solely on your memory or carry your journal around with you nonstop as smartphone applications can help you digitally input your tracking.
If you haven’t journaled before, I’d suggest trying it for a few weeks. An easier way to get in the habit might even be just to start with a simple gratitude journal, where you input one thing you were grateful for each day. This helps to build the habit of journalling, while starting off easy!
Trust us, you might be amazed by this daily habit and what it can do.