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Bullet Journaling For Better Health
Using bullet journaling for better health and wellness can be a great way to keep an overall record of your health efforts, any setbacks and improvements on conditions you may have, and to help you keep your balance in life.
Mental health and illness can be a controversial topic.
Many people aren’t sure they even believe in the concept of mental health disorders. Some are skeptics who assume those who suffer from mental health disorders are whiners who need to toughen up and get over it. Others are frightened of the idea of mental illness and imagine that anyone who identifies as having a disorder is likely to go off on a killing spree.
This is nonsense, of course, and the world is thankfully changing. There is wider acceptance that many people suffer from mild to severe mental health problems and people are seeking help far more than they would have done in the past.
It’s important to remember that mental disorders vary widely in severity and even in what can be seen by others. Having problems invisible to those around you doesn’t make those problems any less real.
It’s also important to know that when we are speaking about mental health, it does not imply that you have any sort of mental illness.
Note: Bullet Journal® (also know as BuJo®) is a trademarked name owned by Lightcage, LLC. Although the name and system is used widely, it’s important to acknowledge that it is, in fact, an intellectual property protected by federal and international law. As a writer, the rights of the designer of the system, Ryder Carroll, are as important to me as are my own. For more on the Bullet Journal® system, check out Bullet Journal.
You can be physically disease-free but could still benefit from better health. That’s true of mental health too. We can all do things for ourselves that helps us balance out when life throws too much stress your way.
Ever said “I’m taking a mental health day?”
That’s self care at its best. You know you need to decompress and you take the time to do it.
Journaling, whether you are dealing with a mental disorder or not, is one of the best ways to focus in and allow yourself to unburden yourself of the things that are bothering you.
There are several types of journals you can create, and each one helps you in a different manner.
Being mindful is not easy in our busy, busy lives, but you can learn to do it.
It’s all about being in the present. Really connecting and absorbing your feelings about it.
That can be a negative or a positive experience.
By stopping to think and journal about a moment that has brought up negative feelings, you can calmly think through how you responded and how you might let a similar event affect you in the future.
You also need to be mindful of the beauty and love around you. It’s there if you open your eyes to it. And in the same mindful way, you can recognize your feelings about it and balance a day that might otherwise be “bad.”
For more on mindfulness journals, see 5 Things To Know About Mindful Journaling.
Gratitude journals are similar to mindfulness journals in that you are writing down things, people, and events that have affected you emotionally.
It is, however, designed to be focused on positive things.
By acknowledging the things in your life that you are grateful for, however small and mundane they might seem to someone else, you will feel happier and blessed throughout your day.
Also like a mindfulness journal, you may have to work at this at first.
When you are struggling with stress and difficult situations and people, it may seem hard to find something to be grateful about.
But there is always something.
Open your mind to the positive in your day, rather than the things that are going wrong.
Are you stuck in traffic every day on your way home? Do you fume and stress about the time and having to get home to make dinner?
Consider playing soothing music, or listening to an inspiring podcast or audiobook. Find something that relates directly to the most stressful areas of your life.
Or play a game. Glance over at your fellow commuters in their cars and try to imagine what their lives are like. Go into as many details as you can. It’s amazing how relaxing it is to contemplate someone else’s life and troubles. It will make you grateful for your own family and life.
A gratitude journal is very personal, but it’s very effective.
Every day, write down two or three things that you’re thankful for.
Remember that it’s not always the big things you have to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter if the only thing you can come up with is how grateful you were for your favorite ice-cold soda when you got home from a long day at work. If it makes you happy, let it make you happy.
Spending intentional time focusing on what makes you grateful takes the power away from the things that upset you.
A private journal is just that. It’s private, and it’s your thoughts alone.
There is no right or wrong thing to keep in this journal. All you should do is spend time each day writing in it.
It can be lyrics you love from a song you heard. It can be a poem that touched you. It can be a rant about something someone did that really upset you or something amazing you felt happened today.
Reflections from a Redhead has some great journaling prompts if you are looking for ideas to explore.
Whatever you want to write about, you get to write about.
This kind of journaling makes it easier for you to recognize yourself by focusing on certain themes.
What makes you happy?
What seems to make you sad?
You really get to know yourself when you write in a personal journal, and that’s what makes it so beneficial.
Your mental health is yours.
There is no right or wrong way to feel, but you can improve your mental outlook by focusing on the good things in life and getting to know yourself. You can’t always control what happens in life, but you can control your reactions to them. Not your emotions, your reactions.
When bad things happen, it’s normal to be angry and sad. But knowing how to control how you react to those feelings is what makes us mentally healthy.
It’s your power. No one can take that from you.
Being physically healthy is not about the size you wear or how tight your abs are.
Being healthy is something that affects all aspects of your body.
When you eat well and work out, your immune system is strengthened, your bones become stronger, your stress levels go down, your weight settles at a good level, diseases are more easily eradicated by your body’s defenses, your mind is clearer, your attitude is better, and you feel better and stronger which in turn impacts your mental health.
Quite simple, a healthy life is a happy life. And by being healthy, you are better able to help those around you.
As women, we do tend to put our family’s needs above us, sometimes at the cost of our own health.
A bullet journal is one way to begin to focus on our overall health needs by setting up systems for the tools we need. By simply adding in planning and tracking pages in our bullet journal, you can keep all of your important health information in one organized planner.
If you have medical conditions that require medication or regular testing, a bullet journal page for tracking those makes it easy and convenient. For example, if you are a diabetic, you can quickly enter your test strip results in a tracking sheet, along with any needed actions you took. By also recording (with a checkmark) the medication you took, you are not likely to accidentally take more.
Here are some recommended health pages for your bullet journal.
A food journal is, first of all, a tracker. You write down everything that you eat throughout the day. But you can also write how you felt when you had that meal (were you eating because you were hungry, bored, angry, sad?), how you felt afterwards (satisfied, full, still hungry, disappointed?). You can track water intake (I have to do this myself because otherwise I don’t get nearly enough water in my day).
You have to be honest and write down every bite, even just taste of those brownies someone brought to work. A food journal doesn’t necessarily have to include calories and nutrients. It’s easier to use a phone or computer app for that. Your food journal is for you to see patterns you may have between food and your emotions.
Look at your food journal at the end of the day and each week, and see if you can find these patterns.
Are you in the habit of having a snack during your morning meetings, even if you noted that you weren’t hungry. Why? Because they were there? How might you get through those meetings without eating a snack you didn’t need?
Do you munch on cookies while making dinner, then barely eat the meal you carefully prepared for your family? Is it because you’re hungry when you get home? Are there other choices of food that you could make that would help calm your hunger, such as crisp vegetables or even a couple of glasses of water?
By examining the “why” of your eating, you can learn a lot and make some positive changes to your diet.
Your fitness journal pages are like your food journal in some ways.
You can track the specific exercises you did, the intensity, the numbers of repetitions of weights. You can also plan out goals such as training for a 5K or a long group hike. By putting down your goals in your journal, you can then break down the tasks needed to reach that goal.
So your pages could include increasing the distance you walk or run each day, challenging yourself with cross fitness, giving yourself a taper week before the event you’re planning to enter.
You can keep notes about what you like, and don’t like, about a specific exercise and even discuss it with a trainer to find adaptations or an entirely different form of exercise.
You can keep track of your measurements, a great indicator of your progress.
Journaling about, and tracking, your health goals and progress brings benefits over time. The more you do it, the more you get out of it. Soon, the accountability of writing down your food, exercise, moods, and observations, will not only bring you better health but a greater understanding of yourself and how to be the best you can be.
Journaling can help you change your life and health.
Let your journal help lead you on the way towards better health.
When you can see yourself absorbing what you’re learning about your health choices, you will make better ones and you’ll like yourself more for it.