Mental Health

A Bullet Journalling Update


I first started journalling a little over 2 months ago, and I’m still loving it.  The small notebook I started with just didn’t have enough room to hold all that I wanted to cram in, so now I’ve got two notebooks on the go.  I found it was easiest to do a lot of day-to-day tracking in the smartphone apps I was already using, so I settled on a monthly calendar with symbols coding for important things that I want an easy at-a-glance view of.  These symbols look absolutely ridiculous because I can barely draw a straight line, but it’s working for me.  The monthly calendar and my 365 days of gratitude section are in my first notebook, which just seemed easier to keep up than to transfer everything over to my second notebook.  I also have pages for weekly summaries, including major events, goals, self-care, meditation topics, and challenges.  I am very non-artistic, so I rely on coloured pens and stickers to bring some aesthetic value to the whole undertaking.

Initially I had intended to keep my journal pretty positive-focused, but as I’ve progressed I’ve ended up including a lot more related to the hard stuff  I’m working on.  I have pages set up with headings, and then add stuff to those pages as it comes along.

Positive-focused page headings and lists

  • things that make me smile
  • accomplishments
  • inspirational quotes
  • goals
  • affirmations
  • self-care favorites
  • the kindness of others
  • my values
  • favorite foods
  • places I want to travel to
  • great analogies
  • favorite words
  • things that make me feel beautiful/sexy/confident

Things to do with my illness

  • current treatment plan
  • treatment options to consider
  • my treatment history
  • my illness symptom history
  • treatment provider visits
  • essential elements that would be part of recovery
  • what I’ve learned/gained from my illness

Therapy-type stuff:

It’s very different from the free-flow narrative style that I’ve sometimes used in the past, but I’m liking it.  Every day I go through both of the journals I’ve got on the go to see where I might have things to add.  An unexpected benefit of this has been that I get reminded each day of the work I’ve already done and the positive stuff I’ve come up with.  I think there’s a lot of value in that, and this sort of structure works well for me.

Do you journal?  And has your approach to journalling evolved over time?

Creating a bullet journal for mental health

This how-to guide on creating a bullet journal to support mental health is available free from the MH@H Store.  My approach isn’t about artistry; it’s all about functionality.

20 thoughts on “A Bullet Journalling Update”

  1. This is great, Ashley! I have a book of lists that I add to (things that are both mental health related and also include life hacks, good quotes, etc.), but most of my journaling has been happening on WP for the last 7 months. The planner I use comes with a little book to write something to celebrate from each day in, and I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with that, but I have so much trouble staying on top of a journal. It just becomes a chore. How do you stay motivated?

    1. The way I approach it is to spend maybe five minutes a couple of times a day so it’s part of my regular routine, and anything I want to talk about more at length ends up on my blog.

  2. So inspiring, you are. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been journaling since youth, and I am now 56 years old. I look back at some of it, and try not to relive the past all over again. My blog is a form of journaling, and it soothes me to write. All together I have about 20 journals around the house, and I add to journals I haven’t written in for years! Only downside, during my divorce my ex read my entire diary out loud to his family. YIKES.

    1. I used to keep all my old journals but then I threw them away at one point because I was concerned about other people potentially seeing them. Can’t believe your ex read yours out to his family… That is soooooo sleazy.

  3. I’ve never kept a journal, I am a very private person and paranoid as well. The idea that someone (especially my family) put their on it makes me uncomfortable. Having said that, after reading about this subject and the good that it does to people, I may start one.

  4. I absolutely love the idea of journaling and I buy journals all the time. But so far I’ve lacked the discipline to follow through with my plan. I’ll journal for a few days, work through whatever crisis caused me to start in the first place and then put it away… Forgotten. I love the approach you’re taking! Kudos for taking such positive action!!!

  5. This is great ๐Ÿ™‚ I started “blogging” stuff I was learning about mental health and self-help a couple of years ago, and then somewhere along the line this became stream-of-consciousness writing and getting my thoughts down on paper. Whether after a therapy session, or just randomly to get my thoughts and feelings down. I find it *so* helpful, and journal most days now.

  6. I mostly just blog but i know a few people who swear by journaling. I did get a pre-labled journel of sorts fpr anxiety where it has qoutes written in and will also tell you to write one thing you did positive or one goal you accomplished. I might have to get back into it your stuff sounds cool

    1. Yeah blogging is a great outlet for me too. I try to take a different sort of approach to my journal so it doesn’t feel like a lot of duplication.

      1. Awesome yeah i definitely need to still work on lots of copeing skills for anxiety since im off meds now i have another source but i dont want to rely on it for everything i need my skills

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