For those who struggle with mental health issues such as depression or managing stress, keeping track of things in a journal can be a big help. It can help you visualize the issue so you can better see how to fix it.
If you’d like to try keeping a bullet journal for your mental health, here are some pages you could consider making:
- Morning Routine
- Evening Routine
- Mood Tracker
- Sleep Tracker
- Medication Tracker
- Gratitude Log
- Exercise Log
- Water Tracker
- Monthly Review
- Annual Review’
- Keep A Diary
- Write The Highlights Of The Day
- Practice ABC Prioritization
- Make A Vision Board In Your Journal
A morning routine doesn’t have to be anything too extreme. Start with the things you’re already doing every morning, then gradually add more actions to your routine if you feel like it. If there are things you want to stop doing routinely each morning, then you can add them into the checklist as “DIDN’T ______”
Some basic things you can have in a morning routine are drinking water, brushing teeth, getting dressed for the day, or calling a loved one on the phone.
For an evening routine, again, it shouldn’t be too complex when you’re just starting out. Click here to see my other post about how to make an evening routine.
A good simple evening routine might include things like drinking water, reflecting or planning in your journal, reading a book, going for an evening walk, or taking a shower.
Bullet journals make it easy to track your mood, with the added bonus that you can write extra details about your day on the page. You can get really creative with your mood tracker or keep it straight-up functional. It’s your bullet journal so have fun with it!
I’ve made a few mood tracker printables that you can download for free. I recommend putting them where you’ll see them – on the fridge, in your bullet journal, taped over your desk – whatever you think works best.
A sleep tracker can help you notice patterns in your mental health and how it correlates to the amount of sleep you get.
If you take medications, vitamins, or other supplements, you can track them in your bullet journal. Sometimes the bullet journal functions as a little reminder system – as long as YOU remember to open it!
Writing down the things you’re grateful for every day, whether it’s one thing or a list of things, helps you think about the positive forces in your life instead of focusing on negative thoughts.
Do you exercise regularly? How about sometimes? Never at all, really?
Exercise has been shown to help ease the symptoms of depression. But it can be hard to motivate yourself to start exercising when you’re in a bad place mentally.
One workaround you can try is giving yourself a simple exercise challenge in your bullet journal. Just something you do for you, without a time limit.
It can be something like, “take a bike ride for 10 minutes” or “do 30 sit ups” or “do yoga for 20 minutes.” Make it something you know you’ll enjoy doing, and that you know you’re physically capable of completing.
Then decide a prize for yourself. Perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a new article of clothing, a guilt-free day off, or even just a pretty sticker in your journal that reminds you “You did it!”
Lastly, choose a number. 10 is a good place to start. Draw 10 circles and, every time you do your physical activity of choice, fill in one circle. Once all the circles are filled, you get your prize!
Drinking water is so important. Yet, many people have a hard time remembering to drink enough water – if they even drink water at all. Drinking water is something I’m always struggling to do. Not because it’s hard or because I don’t like it, or because I drink other things… I just don’t notice that I’m thirsty!
But EVERY time I use a water tracker in my journal, I end up drinking more water. I don’t know why, but it just works. I’ve tried using apps that remind me, in the past, but they’re somehow too easy to ignore. I like that when I use a water tracker in my bullet journal, I can see how well I’ve been doing over the past week. It makes me feel great about myself, and I can usually feel and see the difference in myself, too.
You can use your monthly reflection to make self-improvement. Looking back on your month and reading through what you wrote down can help you see what worked and what didn’t. You may see some interesting takeaways simply by reading back through your old entries for the month!
Just like a monthly review, an annual review of your bullet journal is a useful activity for self-improvement and mental health. Often times we forget just how much we’ve accomplished throughout the course of the year.
Before I started my bullet journal, I had a hard time remembering even a single memory from some months in the prior year. It’s pleasant to look back through my journal and remember what I did during summer vacation during December, for example.
Keep a Diary
A diary or journal can be many different things – writing down what you did, how you feel, etc are the classic examples. My advice is to keep your diary entries short and concise, so that you can avoid going down a worm-hole of negativity when you’re feeling upset about things. Try to summarize your feelings about something using just a few words, then move on to the next.
Write the highlights of the day
Write down the top highlight of your day. What was the best thing that happened? What made you happy? If it was a completely bad day, write down one thing that you want to happen tomorrow.
Practice ABCD Prioritization
Also called ABCD analysis, this is a technique that can be useful when you’re feeling overwhelmed by too many things on your to do list.
Basically, what you do is go through your list of things you think you need to get done (or make one if you haven’t written it down yet). Then assign a letter to each bullet point based on this scale:
- A – Tasks that are perceived as being urgent and important (these are things you must do today to avoid consequences)
- B – Tasks that are important but not urgent (these are things you must do, but can skip for today)
- C – Tasks that are unimportant but urgent (these are things you must do today, but will not have consequences if you don’t)
- D – Tasks that are unimportant and not urgent (these are things that you can skip without consequences)
Make a vision board in your journal
Just like a designer might make a vision board on the wall to collect inspiration for a final work, you can make a vision board page in your bullet journal. Draw the things you’d like to see in your life, or list them as decorated words.