I recently shared on Instagram that I’d started a recovery journal and I’ve had lots of questions asking me how I got started and what I’ve included. So alongside a video explanation on my IGTV, I thought that I would write a blog post sharing the details so that you can start one too.
It’s taken me over 3 years in recovery to actually start a recovery journal myself – in all honesty I never really saw the point, but I regret not doing it sooner as it’s something that’s already helped me massively.
Getting all of my thoughts and feelings out of my head and down on paper has been surprisingly therapeutic and in a weird way has helped me to let go of a lot of things. My main reason behind starting the journal was so that I would have everything written down to show my new dietitian and therapist. I thought that it would be a lot easier to have all of my thoughts, feelings, rules and routines written down as it’s easy to miss things out. And I have to admit that otherwise I probably wouldn’t talk openly about a lot of the points that I have included either, but this journal means that there’s no avoiding that.
Although it wasn’t my initial intention, I’ve been so shocked at how much this journal has already helped me – it’s highlighted to me all of the rules, routines and rituals that I need to challenge but also all of the reasons why I need to recover – all of which has left me feeling so much more motivated.
My top tip if you’re going to start a journal would be to be completely honest with yourself. Although some of the thoughts and feelings might be scary to admit to yourself, let alone write down, it’s something that I think is so necessary to fully recover and it’s definitely helping me to hold myself accountable and acknowledge everything that I need to challenge.
Of course these journals are completely personal. I split mine in to 2 sections – the first half dedicated to thoughts, feeling and attitudes whilst the second half focuses on challenges and achievements. You don’t have to follow the exact format – it’s just an idea of what I’ve personally found helpful. No 2 people’s are going to be the same and what I’ve written in mine is most likely completely different to yours.
If you are suffering from, in recovery, or think that you have a disordered relationship with food then please visit your GP. You can also find advice and resources on the following websites: Beat, Mind and the NHS.
What You’ll Need
- A notebook
- Motivational quotes
- Personal touches – stickers, supportive messages, pictures etc
The first half of my journal is mainly dedicated to thoughts and feelings. I’ve split it up in to 7 different sections and for each written down any thoughts and feelings that come to mind.
I’ve split the introduction in to 3 pages:
What Anorexia has given me
It’s safe to say that this page has been left pretty blank. With nothing but the title, it’s a reminder that Anorexia has provided my life with no positivity or worth – another motivation to recover.
Reasons To Recover and Future Goals
Here I’ve listed reasons why I should recover to help keep me motivated and give me something to work towards. Whilst these are completely personal some of mine include going to uni, getting my period back and being healthy and happy.
But Why Recover?
These are questioning points – all of the reasons that the disordered part or my brain tells me not to recover. Weighing them up against all of the motivating factors puts them in to perspective and highlights that there are way more reasons to recover than not to.
The main topics
I’ve dedicated a few pages to each of the following topics and separated them with motivational quotes.
- Mood, Thoughts and Feelings
- Body Image
- Education and Work
- Family and Social Life
- Eating out and Food Shopping
- Food and Eating
Under each of these headings, I’ve written down my thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards each – both the good and the bad. I’ve been completely honest and held nothing back.
I’ve separated the 2 sections using some of your lovely supportive messages from Instagram, followed by a short introduction, listing everything that I’ve already overcome in the past 3 years. I think that this is important as it’s so easy to focus on how long the road is ahead and forget how much you’ve already achieved.
The Weekly Diary
I’ve divided the second section in to months and dedicated a double page spread to each week. The left hand side is titled challenges and the right hand side is for thoughts, feelings and events.
For example –
- Left hand side: Challenge – Increased dessert
- Right hand side: Thoughts, Feelings & Events – How it made me feel
At the end of each month, I’ve dedicated a page to write down any particular highlights and achievements from the month too.
Personalising Your Journal
Although a lot of the thoughts and feelings that I’ve shared in my journal could be considered quite negative, I want the journal itself to be a positive – a source of motivation and inspiration. To help do this, I filled my journal and separated each section with motivational quotes, most of which are taken from my quotes and inspiration Pinterest board. I also filled the center with lots of the supportive messages and comments that I received via Instagram too. But you can add whatever personal touches you like – pictures and stickers would be great additions too.
Have you stared a recovery journal? What helps you stay motivated to recover? If you start your own journal I would love to see your pictures so please do let me know in the comments below or tag me on Instagram @nourishingyas and use the #nourishingyas.
You find all of the other posts in my Anorexia Recovery series here.