We’ve all been there: You’ve cracked open a fresh notebook, massaged the spine of the book with care, clicked your particularly inky pen to life, and written the date on the top of the page.
And yet… nothing comes. How does one journal when there are simply too many thoughts to capture, wrangle, and translate onto the page? It can feel like an impossible task.
But your therapist — and most mental health researchers — maintain that journaling is a great way to manage anxiety, reduce stress, and even cope with depression.
So, how do we take this seemingly elusive self-care practice and turn it into something that actually makes you feel more organized, in-tune with your feelings, and aware of your daily behaviors?
By having someone else do the hard part, that’s how!
There is no shortage of self-care planners and guided journals on the market, and even though we also love collecting blank notebooks, these recommendations might be the best approach when you need a little more direction on the page.
We’ve compiled a list of the best self-care planners and guided journals to help you develop a true-to-you routine without feeling overwhelmed by a blank page.
By the way, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
By the way, you might also like these self-care resources: 101 Self-Care Ideas | The Best Self-Care Apps | Self-Care Quotes | How To Practice Proactive Self-Care | How To Cheer Yourself Up | How To Build a Self-Care Kit | Self-Care Affirmations | International Self-Care Day | Self-Care Gifts
The best self-care planners and guided journals on the market
The Self-Care Planner
Well, this one sounds self-explanatory, but the Self-Care Planner from Simple Self is the quintessential planner to help you prioritize your own well-being. Each six-month agenda includes prompts for:
- Meal planning
- A personalized six-month self-care plan
The planner is designed with thick, white paper, a hard cover with foil lettering, and a spiral binding for the highest quality daily ritual.
Get Untamed: The Journal (How to Quit Pleasing and Start Living)
We’re big fans of Glennon Doyle — and her guided journal companion to her best-selling book “Untamed” is no exception. Filled with references to the book and journal prompts to help you reflect on Doyle’s musings, you’ll find a number of sections that help journal users work through their cultural and self-made beliefs and find healing and peace.
Some sections include:
- Be Still and Know
- Trust Yourself
- Let it Burn
- Build the New
- Meditative coloring pages
Recovering people pleasers everywhere can get either a hardcover or spiral format.
Unsolicited Advice Planner & Journal
Adam J. Kurtz fans likely know the artist and designer from his handwriting-style bite-sized wisdom on Instagram, or perhaps his original 1 Day At a Time creative journal. Now, you can check out his Unsolicited Advice planner and journal, which he calls: “A planner that won’t make you feel bad about yourself.”
Unsolicited advice is a dated weekly journal full of:
- Realistic optimism by Adam himself for checking in and looking forward
Journal of Radical Permission: A Daily Guide for Following Your Soul’s Calling
Co-created by adrienne marie brown and Sonya Renee Taylor, the Journal of Radical Permission is an invitation to embrace who you are without forcing yourself into cramped disciplines or self-criticism.
Based on the philosophies of radical self-love, emergent strategy, and pleasure activism, the journal is split up into six key practices:
- Honing Your Body Technology
- Loving Your Shadows
- Mutual Worship
- Life Alignment
- What’s Emerging?
Explored over daily prompts, each practice centers on curiosity, surrender, grace, and satisfaction; bringing you to greater pleasure, healing, and self-love all around.
Self-Care Master Plan: A Guided Workbook for Feeling Good
A smaller (and perhaps less intimidating) approach to journaling in the name of self-care is the Self-Care Master Plan workbook. The compact book is a personalized set of topics and prompts to help you create a set of “operating instructions” for life’s ups and downs.
Each postcard-sized page includes a list or topic to fill in for yourself, like:
- Things I like to do
- People I like to see
- Power songs
- Things to do when I’m feeling sad or burnt out
- My strengths
The best part? Each page is easy to tear out so you can display when you need a little extra boost.
The Positive Planner
Anything that’s bright yellow and has the word “positive” in its name is probably a great fit for us! This 12-week planner and journal is an essential for your self-care practice.
The Positive Planner is filled with features that help you manage your life and well-being in a whole new way, including:
- Meal planners
- Shopping lists
- Daily intentions
- Mood trackers
- Easy-to-color illustrations
The journal has a simple hardcover and contains lots of thoughtfully-designed pages for any stationery lover to explore.
The Anti-Anxiety Notebook
A staple you’ve likely seen in any number of aesthetic Instagram photos, the Anti-Anxiety Notebook hails from the Therapy Notebooks brand, a team of experts on a mission to bring proven mental health tools to everyone.
The Anti-Anxiety Notebook includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to help guide you through new thought patterns in an easy-to-use journal. Prompts help reframe and reset when you’re feeling anxious, asking questions like:
- What happened?
- What is going through your mind?
- What emotions are you feeling?
Designed with a minimalistic approach and a fabric hardcover, this notebook will serve as a trusty sidekick through your rollercoaster of emotions.
The Five Minute Journal
Another aesthetic favorite, the Five Minute Journal guides you through a simple ritual that’s easy to add to any daily routine. The daily journal includes prompts to start your day with appreciation and end it with reflection over the course of six months. Some prompts include:
- Weekly challenges
- Gratitude lists
- Daily highlights
- Daily affirmations
Each journal is made with recycled or sustainably sourced paper and a natural linen cover that is bound to fit in on any nightstand.
Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self Exploration
Author and artist Meera Lee Patel is an expert at helping people nurture their creativity and embrace their inner-selves. With Patel’s vibrant hand-lettering, watercolor illustrations, and inspirational quotes, Start Where You Are is a great tool for reflecting and dreaming.
- Drawing prompts
- Playful charts
- Reflective questions
When you’re done with this journal, Patel also has two other helpful resources you’re sure to love: Made Out of Stars: A Journal for Self-Realization, and My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown.
Papier Gratitude Journal
The power of gratitude simply cannot be overstated, and doctors and scientists are even onto the idea that “counting our blessings” might just be one of the best practices we can integrate for better mental and physical health.
And what better way than with a designated gratitude journal? This one from Papier includes:
- Five months worth of entries
- Morning and evening prompts
- 30-day reflections to review the past month
- Affirmations and mottos
- Activities to help you find gratitude
With a handful of beautiful colors to choose from, you can even personalize this journal with your name to keep it even closer to your heart.
Letterfolk Abridged Journal
- Daily entries with short, repeated prompts
- Weekly breakout prompts
- Thoughtful questions like “what do you daydream about?” and “what do you want to start doing that you’re not doing?”
The journal has enough room for six months of entries and is made with a cloth cover and acid-free paper.
You Don’t Have to Understand Planner
This gentle, date-less planner from People I’ve Loved is flexible and allows you to write things down, plan your life, and figure out how you’re feeling — but dip in and out when your daily plans inevitably ebb and flow.
The planner includes:
- Weekly, monthly, and yearly overviews
- Reflection prompts
- Emotional tracking tools
- Exercises to “relocate joy in your life”
- Space to jot down memories and ideas you want to keep close
With 152 pages and a simple craft and foil cover, this planner is a great way to embrace some structure — but not too much structure.