In the last eight months or so, I’ve started bullet journaling. I really love it as a way to keep my to-do list, calendar, journal and more in one more place. I’ve felt so much more organized and on top of my life since I began. If you want to learn more about the system, I recommend this video and this blog post. You can also check out this post I wrote about using bullet journaling as an unschooling tool. Today I want to address something a little different from productivity or the like. Today I want to show you all how I use bullet journaling to help with my mental health. I’m really trying to be transparent about how these things effect my life, even though it’s a little scary to put it all in the open like this.
I generally do this kind of bullet journaling at night. That way, I can reflect on the whole day and how it went. Another bonus about this time of day for me is that it’s often the part of the day that makes me feel the most depressed or anxious. Taking a few moments to reflect on the day, and particularly to reflect on the positive parts of the day, can really help me have a better evening.
I agree with Larkin in the fact that bullet journaling at the end of my day usually works best for me, too. I don’t go through quite the same journaling process, but I take notes and do some general reflections every evening. I definitely think it gives me a different kind of awareness and appreciation of how I am feeling, my mood, my accomplishments etc. at the end of my night and gives me some things to think about and notice going into the next day. -Maeve
I use my gratitude log to practice taking a few minutes at the end of each day to remember the things I’m thankful for and that bring me joy. I challenge myself to write down at least two things each day that I’ve never written before (or at least I don’t think I’ve written before). This is getting harder and harder the longer I keep it up, but I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how most days it isn’t too hard to think of a few new things. This really pushes me to find the good moments in each day and then to look back on them so I can experience that joy again.
Something that made me smile today:
I like to write down one moment each day that made me smile. It doesn’t have to be something big, or something that kept me happy all day. It’s just one moment that reminded me of the good things in life. This is also great for looking back on, because I have a record of something good that happened to me every day since last March.
I think sometimes (especially when we are just spewing thoughts and memories out on to paper at the end of a long day), we tend to look back on the negative or upsetting parts, since most of the time those are really the things we want to get off of our chest. However, I really appreciate how Larkin makes it a priority to reflect on the positive moments in their life when doing their daily bullet journaling. I think it’s important to recognize what’s causing us stress or unhappiness, but even more so to identify the things that lift our spirits and bring us joy. -Maeve
As you can see, in my wellness trackers I keep track of whether I had a headache, was exhausted, felt sick (for instance if I have a stuffy nose), or had a stomachache. I also just started tracking how well I slept the night before, but I’m not sure if that will be a detailed enough way to learn anything from tracking it. It’s really important for me to track this in relation to mental health, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Every one of these has a relation to how I was feeling that day and I need to know how the different factors effect each other. I also make extra notes on this and the next one sometimes if I think it will help me understand everything better.
I use this page to see how well I’m taking care of myself and to remind me of what I can do to feel better. The things I track are: moving my body, being outside, using my brain, eating food that made me feel good, doing something nice for myself, doing something nice for someone else, and journaling. Those are the things that effect my mood the most, but it might be other things for you. I don’t expect myself to do every single one of these things every day, but I like to know if I’m doing some far more than others or if I’m really neglecting something that will make me feel better. Also on this page I have a list of little things I can do to brighten my day and some positive affirmations.
I just started tracking moods. It’s mostly as a way to communicate with my therapist how I was that week. I love this way of tracking because I’m not required to pick just one mood for the day but it doesn’t take a ton of time to do. It’s also extremely adaptable so you could change what the moods are in relation to what you experience. I like looking back on this and seeing how it relates to what I did that day, how I felt physically, and more. That’s the great thing about having all this in one place. My calendar and to-do list match up with all my trackers and I can see how everything connects.
Like Larkin has been mentioning throughout this post, bullet journaling is a really organized, personal way to keep track of your mental and physical health. I think it’s really important to track and notice patterns within your life to see how all of the elements are effecting your everyday experiences and interactions. Bullet journaling seems like a really good way to get to know yourself and feel more grounded at the end of your day. -Maeve
I hope you found some of this helpful or interesting. Even if you don’t bullet journal, you can use these same tools on their own in whatever way will help you the most. Do you have any ideas of things to add to this? Or other pages? Let me know down below, I’d love to hear about them.