Using Journaling for Holiday Self-Care

by Paper House

The holidays are an amazing time. It’s a whirlwind of family visits, gifts to buy, homes to decorate, and food to make. But in that wonderful whirlwind, our mental health can take a dive.

Caring for ourselves during the holidays is essential. This is why I’m sharing six ways you can practice self-care— using stationery of course!

We’re all different. For me, journaling is a form of self-care, but it might not be the same for you. Use these ideas as inspiration for your own holiday self-care prompts and change them so that they are helpful and meaningful to you. 

All spreads were made using Paper House Productions’ Mandy Ford Soul Care Creativity Kit.

Creativity Kit- Soul Care

The Importance of Self-Care

Taking care of ourselves and our mental health is always important, especially during the holidays. There are a lot of demands on our time and energy. We can’t keep giving to others if we don’t take the time to fill our cups too.

It might seem selfish to take time for yourself with such a busy schedule. But taking that time ensures you can actually keep up with your schedule and obligations. Ten or twenty minutes of self-care a day is usually enough to help your mental health. 

Self-Care Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ways to be intentional with self-care.

1. Make a Self-Care Idea List

Self care ideas

Raise your hand if you’ve told yourself you’d do a certain self-care activity and then forgot to do it. A great way to combat this is to make a list of self-care items to reference when you need ideas. And since it’s the holidays, throw in a few seasonal activities too.

You can find whole lists of holiday self-care ideas on Pinterest. Don’t forget that self-care is more than just treating or indulging yourself. While it may be fun in the moment, over-indulging often causes more stress. You also need to do things that help your mind and soul, like cleaning out a closet and donating gently-worn clothes.

Self care spread ideas

I kept my self-care page simple to focus on the list itself. The page took me about ten minutes to complete and contains some of my favorite self-care ideas.

2. Journal Your Thoughts

Self care journal

Journaling is a self-care staple for a good reason. It allows you to share your feelings, record your day, or reflect on aspects of your life. Anything you write stays between you and your journal.

Since it’s the holidays, it can be fun to add some seasonal prompts to your journaling practice. For example, I added this question from the kit that reads “What brings you hope?” Again, Pinterest is a gold mine for journaling prompts of all kinds.

Journal prompt

The end of the year is also the perfect time to reflect on what you did this year and what you’d like to do in the upcoming one. Write about the goals you’ve completed, as well as those you haven’t.

Are they still worth achieving? If so, what prevented them from being completed this year, and what will allow you to complete them in the coming year? Do any need to be fine-tuned or even replaced with new goals? Questions like these help me be thoughtful while preparing for the new year.

3. Holiday Habit Tracker

Holiday habit tracker

During the holiday rush, good habits can fall by the wayside whether or not you want them to. Consider using a habit tracker to keep yourself accountable.

A habit tracker helps measure which days you did a task. The simplest way is by using a calendar and marking every day you do the habit. In this example, I used a mini calendar for each habit I want to track.

We all have our own habits that make us feel good in body, mind, and soul. They can include things like:

  • Exercise
  • Eating healthy
  • Self-care
  • Limiting screen time
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

For this spread, I used an acrylic calendar stamp to save from writing all those tiny numbers, which I highly recommend. You could also add a habit tracker to any regular calendar or even your weekly planner. If you prefer a digital format, try a habit tracker app.

4. Make a Christmas Bucket List

Christmas bucket list

I always have lots of activities I want to do during the Christmas season. A bucket list is a perfect way to make sure I get most of them done. There’s nothing more discouraging than reaching Christmas Day and feeling like you didn't do anything fun.

Start by curating your list. Activities you want to do, movies you want to watch, places you want to go, and so on. Then figure out how many you need to do each week to get through them.

Bucket list items

Remember not to go too crazy with your bucket list. Some people love having a daily activity. Some only want to worry about one each week. I always intend to accomplish my list but don’t beat myself up if I can’t.

5. Track Your Reading

Book tracker

Whether you have holiday books you want to get through or need to meet your yearly reading goal, a book tracker helps keep you…on track. It gives you a reminder to read and something fun to fill out when you’re done with each book.

For me, reading is self-care. It’s a way to slow down and escape for a while. Plus, it’s a great way to reduce my screen time.

Book tracker details

You can add a book tracker right in your bullet journal as I did here. I use digital trackers like Goodreads and Bookmory, but I also love keeping a physical record.

6. Write a Card to a Loved One

Homemade card

Letter writing is becoming a lost art. Make a loved one's day by writing them a card or letter. You could even become a pen pal with a friend.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t always mean doing things for yourself. Doing something kind for someone else brings joy to both of you. We need to take our focus off ourselves sometimes and remember there’s a whole world of other people out there.

Premade cards are fine, but I enjoy taking the time to create cards by hand. This is something that runs in my family and I like continuing it as a tradition.

Decorated envelope

I also like decorating the outside of the envelope. For me, it makes every phase of the letter special from the moment its recipient opens their mailbox. I think seeing a beautiful envelope also brightens the mail carrier’s day!


Use these ideas to inspire your own self-care this Christmas and beyond. Set yourself up for a great holiday season starting with your mental health. By making sure you prioritize self-care now, you’ll head into the New Year strong and ready to conquer.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Friends!