Starting a health journal can be extremely beneficial if you have any underlying, chronic, or undiagnosed conditions. They can help you and your physician find any patterns, correlations, or triggers in different aspects of your life. These include your diet, environment, mood, sleep, medications, and many more. It can also help you recognize bad habits you have picked up and help you create new ones leading to a healthier you. Here are a few tips to get started!
What should I journal about?
Track your food intake daily. You can get as detailed as you would like, for example, down to all the nutritional information. If you have gut or allergy issues, tracking the ingredients used can help identify triggers and recognize a pattern. After a period of time, the journal will help you see your eating habits and how you can improve them. It can also show us what food groups we could be missing and if we are eating too much of another group. We aren’t perfect, but recognizing these and making positive notes in our journal can inspire us to make better food choices in the future.
If you have any chronic pain, you need to track it. You should also track your pain on a scale of 1-10 to get a more accurate record of it. This helps your physician better understand your condition (or diagnose one!) and what they can do to help you. If you take any medications for the pain, write that down along with how it made you feel and how long it took. This will ultimately help you be more satisfied with your treatment plan and feel better understood.
Track how much water you drink throughout the day. This will help hold you accountable for your intake. It can create a lasting habit and ensure you’re keeping hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day, that may vary depending on your body and activity level.
All the above topics can affect your mental health, you should track your mood changes throughout the day. Our mental health is connected to our physical health, monitoring how you feel mentally can benefit your whole body. It can help narrow down patterns of what can make you feel a certain way, whether it be lack of sleep, life events, or even the food you eat. Logging your mood changes can help get you better in touch with your emotions and how to handle them.
Ultimately, this should be discussed with your physician and what they want to keep track of for your specific health concerns, however, these are a few general things you can journal about to recognize the bad habits and create new, healthy ones.
How to be consistent in your journaling!
You need to find the right journaling tool for you. Whether you find an app or a physical journal, find what makes journaling easiest for you so you can set yourself up for success.
It can be hard journaling consistently in the beginning. Set reminders on your phone throughout your day; this way, you don’t forget important things. For food, set the reminders around the time you usually eat, whereas your mood and water we recommend tracking hourly to every couple of hours. At the end of every day, review the entry and add anything you feel is important. It’s best to keep it organized, each day should be laid out the same, so when you open it up to review, it’s easy to find the information you are looking for. Try to write yourself positive notes in future dates, remind yourself what you’re grateful for, and encourage yourself. You could even find a journal that has fun photos and quotes included in it for inspiration!