College seems to be infamous for burnout and high stress levels. It seems that the expectations on college studies are higher than ever before. I felt that pressure during my first year of university, and it was this pressure that made my bullet journal such an invaluable resource when I finally discovered it. With September rolling in quickly, I have been reviewing how I use my bullet journal for mental health and self-care during the school year. Let me tell you, some were life changing for me.
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Keep a Separate Journal
I use my bullet journal in several ways to protect and support my mental health. For one, I keep a journal separate from my bullet journal, one specifically for noting and evaluating my anxiety. For me, anxiety always seemed like a monster, hidden somewhere in my mind, telling me I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t pretty enough.
Writing those thoughts and feelings down took the power away from the monster and gave it back to me. Mental illness gets its power from isolation and seclusion. The stigma around mental health just amplifies that isolation, which is why it is so important to be unashamed of your struggles and to be proud of personal growth.
Track Your Self Care and Mental Health
My bullet journal allows me to track my self-care and health. I make sure I do at least one action of self-care per day. I am going to school to be a nurse and when you spend all your time helping and protecting others, you absolutely need to do the same for yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup, just as you cannot help without first helping yourself.
In my weekly spreads I track my sleep, water, and exercise because although there may not be a lot of time for these things, it is important to try and make time for them. At its base, my bullet journal is also my planner. By using semester at a glance spreads, hourly planners, and study guides, I write all my dates and deadlines down, getting them out of my head and onto the page.
If you force yourself to hold onto all your deadlines in your head, it can seem quite overwhelming, but by writing them down and keeping track of them, the tasks can be broken down into bite-sized, manageable pieces.
Mood and habit trackers are also a very popular way to improve your mental health. By making sure you are regularly journaling, meditating, practicing self-care, or even just tidying your apartment you can help to create a routine, a vital part of mental health.
Write Your Vision, Goals, and Affirmations
Also, writing small, reassuring notes in your journal can be helpful to your mental health. By including assurances to read when you are having a bad day, you ensure you are always protecting yourself, even when times get rough.
Another method I have seen used for bettering mental health in a bullet journal is by doing a vision board directly in your journal! The first time I saw this I flipped, honestly, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Writing down your goals and hopes is a great way to help you achieve them! For my bullet journal, I plan to include a vision board for fall of 2017, but you can find many examples on Pinterest and Facebook!
As a final note, your mental health is so important. If you are a student in university or college and find yourself struggling, use the services offered on your campus. The counselors are trained professionals, and I promise that you are not alone in your struggles. Take breaks and make an effort to separate work or school and your personal life. The bullet journal system can benefit you, but don’t be afraid to ask for help! You are loved, you are smart, and school will be worth it in the end!
What other ways do your use your bullet journal for mental health and self-care?