3 Journaling Techniques for Finals Season

The last few weeks before winter break can be pretty stressful here at IMSA, filled with lots of essays, projects, and final tests. If you are feeling overwhelmed or want to take a quick break from your studies, journaling is a great technique to reduce stress. Here are three journaling techniques to try this finals season:

  1. Free Writing is one of the most unrestrained forms of journaling. It is a great technique if you have a lot of thoughts floating around in your mind, have mixed emotions, or are experiencing anxiety. To do a free-write journal, simply set a timer for 3 minutes and jot down your thoughts and feelings. This technique is all about keeping your hand moving constantly, never questioning your thoughts or worrying about wording. This allows you to have an honest reflection without self-editing. For finals week, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a lot of assignments, studying, or personal life, a free write can be great to get out all those feelings.
  2. Prompted Journaling is useful if you want to journal but are not sure what to write about. For finals week, here are some prompts to help you reflect on your feelings, let go of stressors, and see the silver lining:
    • Make a list of everything that you are worried about right now, and then tear up the page.
    • Describe the worst-case scenario. Is it realistic? What is a more realistic possibility?
    • Right now, I feel challenged by ______, but I also feel supported by ______.
    • What have I learned from challenging situations in the past? How can this challenge possibly serve me moving forward?
    • Name five things that you are looking forward to.
    • Write a letter to your inner critic or your future self. What would you say to them if you had the chance?
    • List three accomplishments you made today.
  3.  Bullet Journaling is a method that combines journaling with art for extra self-expression and de-stressing. Even if you aren’t much of an artist, bullet journaling can be a really fun experience! You don’t have to make your bullet journal Instagram-worthy — you can use any colored pens, markers, or other supplies you may have on campus to make a journal page that you like. Here are some ideas for bullet journal spreads you could make surrounding finals week:
    • Make a brain dump. (This is similar in idea to the free write journal, where you write down anything on your mind. Plus, you can add in doodles if you are feeling creative!)

    • Write your to-do list in a fun font.

    • Create a habit tracker for water intake, eating meals, and how much time you sleep to make sure you are taking care of yourself during this busy time.

    • Hand-letter an inspiring quote.

    • Design a study schedule to help you keep track of everything.

No matter what journaling technique you choose, personalize it for you. Listen to yourself and your needs when selecting a journaling technique or prompt, and be honest with yourself as you write. Good luck with your finals and happy journaling!

About the Author

Hannah Johnson
Hannah is a senior at IMSA and lives in 1502 B up-quad. She is excited to be a Staff Writer and Graphic Designer for The Acronym this year. She also enjoys participating in swim team, Student Ambassadors, and Yearbook.

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