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30+ self-care journal prompts

A hand writing in a mixed media journal, surrounded by art supplies like Washi tape, scissors and markers.

As a writer, journaling is pretty much my go-to self-care tool. When I need to check in with myself, scribble down some ideas or reflect on my relationships, journaling always helps me feel a little lighter by putting my thoughts into words. But you don’t have to be a writer or a journal expert to start your journaling journey. Journaling is for everyone. 

So whether you want to give yourself a little time to care for yourself, unlock your creativity or explore how to bring more compassion to yourself and your loved ones, here are some unique self-care journal prompts to help you dive even deeper. 

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Journaling for Self-Care  

From relieving stress to boosting your mood, journaling is an excellent way to carve out some necessary me time. Take a moment out of your day to connect with your inner self with these self-care journal prompts. 

  • What does it mean to you to set healthy boundaries? How can you do more of this? 
  • What’s something you can forgive yourself for and forget?
  • Write a love letter to your body celebrating all the things it can do. 
  • What are 5 things that make you happy (people, places, movies, songs… anything!)?
  • Write a thank-you note from future you thanking you for taking good care of yourself. 
  • Make a list of affirmations or things you’d like to hear/remember on those hard days. 
  • How do you imagine yourself in the future? What are your hopes for the future?
  • Describe a real or imaginary place that makes you feel safe in as much detail as you can.
  • What are your favorite things about your personality?
  • What’s something you accomplished that you never dreamed you would?
  • Things you should stop saying “yes” to or things you should start saying “no” to.
  • Which things/activities/moments in your life leave you feeling energized rather than drained?

Journaling for Creativity  

Creative journaling is all about surprising yourself and finding new ways to translate the world around you. Reflecting on how creativity shows up in your life can also offer insight into your own creative process. The self-care journal prompts below are great for unlocking your creative side and exploring your passions. 

  • Draw your favorite animal with your eyes closed. No judgement, no expectations—only a drawing that makes you laugh or pleasantly surprises you.
  • Use a new tool on a page: a new pen, new stickers, paper scraps you haven’t found a use for yet, etc.
  • What’s a creative project from your childhood that sticks out in your memory? How can you do it again or do it differently?
  • How did you play pretend when you were younger? Capture a play-pretend scene (in writing or drawing or collaging) that’s stuck with you.
  • Take a walk and write about all the interesting shadows you notice.
  • Go to the nearest window and sketch whatever you see outside.
  • Close your eyes and think of your happy place. Now draw your happy place. (Bonus points for doing it with your eyes closed.)
  • Use different colors to do a visual representation of your favorite laughs. 
  • Think about a time when you were an absolute beginner at a creative endeavor. How did it feel to be bad at it at first? Did you improve? What was that journey like?
  • Write about your favorite hands-on way of expressing your creativity (sewing, knitting, painting, woodworking, etc.).
  • Write about your day without using the letter “a.”
  • Choose a song/painting/piece of artwork that you’re drawn to. Why do you think that is? What is it about this piece that resonates with you? 
  • Go to the nearest window and list every color you notice.
  • Make a list of activities/hobbies you’re passionate about and journal about their origin or your personal connection to them. 

Journaling for Compassion  

Compassion is truly a balm for the soul and it’s always a good time to explore the many ways compassion shows up in your life. When you focus on what it means to care, fostering more compassion throughout your daily life becomes that much easier. Deepen your bond with yourself and others by reflecting on the following self-care journal prompts centered around compassion. 

  • Describe a time in the past week when someone showed compassion to you. 
  • Make a compassion bucket list. 
  • Who is your “compassion role model” and what are some of the things they do to earn this title?
  • What does cultural empathy mean to you? How do you practice this? 
  • What’s something you’ve been tough on yourself about lately? What would it look like to give yourself grace instead of grief about it?
  • How would you define empathy? How do you practice it in your life? How could you practice it more?
  • Spend time asking an older person (family or friend) about their life experiences, then spend time reflecting in writing on what you’ve learned from them.
  • Who is the most compassionate person you know? What’s one thing they do that you could borrow?
  • Do you have a globe anywhere nearby? Spin it to the exact opposite side of the world from where you’re standing now. What do you think someone’s day is like there?
  • Does anyone you know seem extra lonely at the moment? What could you do to help with that? (It can be a small gesture.)
  • List five ways you could spread a little kindness to other people in the next week, then try to do those things. 
  • Make a list of people you always mean to check in with but never get a chance to follow through. Take some time to write them a quick note or give them a call. 
  • Credits:
  • Sara Quenzer, Matt Gowen, Keely Chace and Melissa Woo