Patient Blogs | Psoriasis
How Are You Today? Journaling for Self-Care and Wellness
photo of woman writing in notebook on porch

“People ask me why I write. I write to find out what I know.”

- Virginia Woolf

Taking pen to paper to express myself and process my experiences has always been an important refuge for me. I’ve seen the world through a decidedly introspective lens from a very early age, and journaling provides a quiet connection with my inner thoughts, feelings, and moods that allows me to process my world and the world swirling around me. Throughout much of my journey with psoriasis and other chronic conditions, I’ve used writing and journaling to chronicle flares and symptoms, monitor side effects, correlate triggers, identify patterns, and relate the emotional toll of chronic disease. Recently, I’ve used my journals as a seed collection for more reflective psoriasis stories shared with the intention of helping others facing similar diagnoses and challenges.

Data Is Powerful

At its most practical level, documenting symptoms, flares, and other bodily happenings through journaling creates an important record of my physical experiences. Journaling creates a data set that can be used to prepare for medical appointments, clarify facts for my care team, and shine the light of awareness on the ways that I am improving or struggling from day to day. So much of my life can be lived in a disembodied state as I race around making plans, worrying about the future, checking things off lists, and managing my interactions. It’s easy to tune out of my body. Keeping a record of how I feel is a pathway to tuning back in. And it doesn’t need to be complicated. During past psoriasis flares, even simply noting three bullet points a day with a symptom and severity focus spoke volumes (swelling – 6, pain – 7, or redness – 8, for example). Direct evidence is hard to ignore, and more importantly, it helps match a problem with a meaningful solution.

Patterns Paint a Picture

Over time and through consistent record-keeping, patterns begin to emerge, insights surface, and critical connections are made. I discovered agency in the reflection, awareness, and curiosity. Healing chronic conditions can be slow going sometimes, and keeping a daily record helped illuminate both progress and setbacks. How has my skin changed since starting this medication? When did I start to notice a change? How has it changed? If it’s not changing for the better, should I ask my doctor what comes next? Is this medication related to the headaches I’ve been experiencing? This flare is worse than usual, what foods am I eating? Have I been stressed? This kind of thoughtful inquiry helped me take responsibility for my health in concrete, self-informed ways, which in turn empowered me to manage my psoriasis and other chronic conditions with more confidence. It also motivated me to analyze my behaviors and initiate impactful change.

Awareness Creates Change

In the past few years, lifestyle and behavioral changes have kept my psoriasis and other chronic conditions in check, providing a solid foundation from which to explore other important and interrelated aspects of my wellness – like mindset and mental health. At the beginning of this year, I began keeping a wellness journal to bring additional richness and intentionality to my daily life. I am recording new data centered around gratitude, mood, mindfulness, and movement. Beyond the bullet points, journaling is also now a way for me to nurture play and creativity using color, collage, drawing, and stickers – a delightful side effect of fun in a life experience and personality sometimes hemmed in by seriousness and control. Halfway through the year, wellness journaling has become a treasured ritual that helps me prepare and plan for each week, pause and reflect on my well-being each day, and respond to my own needs with mindfulness and compassion. More than the sum of its colorful, stickered pages, my wellness journal is a joyful outlet and a physical symbol of a daily commitment to faithful self-inquiry and self-care – always asking, “How are you today?”

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Cavan Images / Cavan via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Krista Kellogg

Krista Kellogg

Diagnosed since 2001

Krista Kellogg has lived with psoriasis for more than 20 years. She is dedicated to living well and humbly shares her journey in service to others on a similar path as a writer, blogger, and WW wellness coach. Krista has served as an advocate and volunteer leader for the National Psoriasis Foundation. She lives in Miami and is the co-founder of Center Content, a mindful marketing and creative content agency.

Latest Blog Posts From Krista Kellogg

Surfing the Cycle: Psoriasis and Mental Health

Surfing the Cycle: Psoriasis and Mental Health

For me, managing the emotions of psoriasis is as much a part of the disease state as the pain, itching, and damaging inflammation. As with other chronic ...

Read more
My Simple Seven: What Self-Care Means to Me

My Simple Seven: What Self-Care Means to Me

Whether we are living with chronic conditions, responding to our tumultuous times, or navigating an ever-changing new normal, prioritizing ...

Read more