Why Do I Ask My Clients To Journal? This is a popular topic I’ve been chatting with clients about quite a bit recently, so here’s my take for anyone else following along here!
As a Holistic Nutritionist and AIP Certified Coach, I frequently ask my clients to start a “Nourish Journal”.
The primary purpose of a Nourish Journal is to help assess patterns in diet and lifestyle that may be contributing to chronic symptoms, illness, mood imbalances, and more. Journalling is a practical tool to help you reach your healing goals!
Why is this helpful?
When making changes to any element of your lifestyle, be it dietary, movement, etc., it is unfortunately very easy to lose the thread. We actually have so much trouble remembering details day to day! Have you ever tried to remember what you ate for lunch on Thursday two weeks ago, or when that migraine started last month?
If you experience any debilitating and/or chronic symptoms, or brain fog especially, journalling will be a worth its weight in gold in helping you keep track of your progress. You will start to see the gradual changes you might not otherwise notice, and tease out patterns that you couldn’t see before.
Tracking symptoms, dietary protocols, and overall progress is also useful for other practitioners on your health team. Just like providing recent lab work, having a journal prepared (compiled into bullet points!) can be helpful to get a new practitioner up to speed on your case history.
What should you include in your journal?
I ask clients to jot down the essentials of their daily lives for a few weeks – what time they wake, what they eat, how they feel, how they slept, and what their symptoms are. I might also ask them to rate symptom severeness on a scale of 1-10, such as: joint pain – 8, anxiety – 5, fatigue – 7, etc.
You can start slow, or dive into the minute details headfirst! What you choose to include in your journal will ultimately depend on your health goals.
For example, someone suffering from chronic joint pain and following an elimination protocol will likely need to note all food/drink consumed, rate their pain on a scale of 1-10, and might want to add sleep, movement, and stress-factors to their journal.
On the other hand, someone healing from an eating disorder will likely need to avoid listing foods consumed, but may find lots of helpful information by tracking sleep, mood, movement, and other self-care practices.
Chat with your practitioner to assess what will be most helpful for you!
“I Feel Like I’m Being Judged”
Clients are often concerned about adding yet another new “task” to their day, or can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the prospect of having to share every detail with their practitioner.
While trust and confidentiality are important tenets of the client/clinician relationship, most practitioners will never make you show a journal if you aren’t comfortable. They may ask you to share bullet points from your notes so they can help you find the patterns that may require support (that’s what we’re here for!), but ultimately, starting a journalling practice is for YOU. It can teach you a lot about yourself – information which you may decide to share when you’re ready (or not).
As to creating more work for the client, I absolutely get it! However, I do believe that once you start you will find the benefits outweigh the energy input! Even if you only journal for a week here and there, any patterns that are there will likely emerge and we can support you where you are at.
Healing isn’t linear – it takes work, and it also takes rest!
Creating a Nourish Journal (+ Free Download!)
You can journal ANY way you want! Handwritten, typed into a word doc or on the notes section on your smartphone – choose an option that works for you. Some people love to doodle their feelings or use stickers to make journalling more fun!
If templates are more your thing, I’ve created a free printable for you! Included is a blank weekly Nourish Journal with instructions on ways to use.
Basic items to include: wake/bed time, food and water consumed, any symptoms noted, supplements/medications consumed, bowel movements, etc.
Additional options: sleep quality, chronic or acute symptoms on a scale of 1-10, mood, movement, other self-care practices, menstrual cycle, etc.
Journalling is about helping you heal, so it’s important to be honest with yourself to get the most out of the practice. The right practitioner understands you’re human and won’t be judging you – I promise! Honestly, sometimes ice cream for dinner will nourish your mental/emotional health more than it will damage your physical health – trust me 🙂
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