For optimal health in both body and mind, a steady self-care routine is essential. But in our frenzied world, letting that routine slip can be all too easy—even for the most wellness-savvy among us.
If you’re seeking a powerful tool for better self-care, we’ve found a new trend in bullet journaling that just might be for you. Part day-planner and part diary, a bullet journal is a highly customizable approach to organizing your daily routine so you can live your best life. Keeping a bullet journal can help you to hone in on your ideal self-care regimen and, in turn, support you in achieving less stress and more happiness.
Super savvy sites like BulletJournal.com, Bohoberry and The Little Coffee Fox offer step-by-step and incredibly creative guidance on setting up a journal, They contain a wealth of information and design ideas on the main building blocks of bullet journaling. These building blocks include daily logs (which let you organize your day-to-day life) and future logs (which let you map out long-term goals)—just two of the features that you can tailor to meet your self-care needs.
“The reason I love bullet journaling is that it helps me hit all the areas in my life that need care,” says life coach and intuitive Alexis Donkin. “I get to be intentional about balancing everything that is important to me.”
The Basics of Bullet Journaling for Self-Care
There are no rules or requirements when it comes to bullet journaling: the format you follow is completely up to you, and the ultimate goal is to shape your journal in a way that suits your unique interests and inclinations. For help in creating the bullet journal that’s best for you, here are some ideas on self-care-related elements to incorporate:
1) A Habit Tracker
With a habit tracker, you can outline the everyday habits you’d like to cultivate on your path to stronger self-care. The key is to zero in on tasks that resonate with you, rather than relying on one-size-fits-all advice. If a morning meditation session isn’t your thing, for instance, you might aim to practice mindful eating at breakfast or listen to soothing music during your commute to work.
You can also use your habit tracker to monitor certain behaviors that are crucial to good health, such as exercising, drinking plenty of water, and getting sufficient sleep. This allows you to keep an eye on “what’s working well, and what needs more love,” according to Donkin. “If you have a habit tracker, you can see when you’ve been slacking on physical activity or not eating enough vegetables,” she notes.
2) A Stress Management Log
Since stress has such a profound impact on your health, keeping your stress in check is a cornerstone of self-care. With the help of a stress management log, you can stay on top of your efforts to tame your tension. Along with chronicling sources of stress and recording your reactions to stressful situations, this log can track your daily practice of stress-easing techniques (such as yoga, deep breathing, aromatherapy, and massage).
3) A Mood Chart
Another way to take charge of your wellbeing, including a mood chart in your bullet journal could help you uncover negative patterns. If you’re consistently cranky after that three o’clock sugar fix, for instance, you might want to find a smarter solution to the mid-afternoon energy crash.
4) A Gratitude List
Including a gratitude list in your bullet journal may bring about major benefits. “Making a note of one thing that’s made me feel loved, joyful, and abundant helps me focus on the wonderful things happening in my life—and therefore creates more of them!” says Donkin. What’s more, recent studies show that writing about what you’re grateful for may help stave off sickness.
5) Room to Rant aka ‘Brain Dump’
Although focusing on the positive can be invaluable in shifting your mindset, bullet journaling can also help you release difficult emotions. So instead of keeping your anxieties and irritations bottled up, you might consider adding a page or two where you can write freely whenever you’re feeling angry, sad, or stressed.
“Writing out my thoughts helps me clear my mind so I can have the mental bandwidth to focus on what I need to get done,” points out Kim Alvarez of Tiny Ray of Sunshine [LINK: http://www.tinyrayofsunshine.com/] (a blog focused on bullet journaling, productivity, and creative pursuits).
Bullet Journaling’s Self-Care Benefits
By making a habit of bullet journaling, you’ll quickly find yourself more capable of dealing with everyday hassles that otherwise might wreck your mood or send your stress levels soaring. In fact, says life coach and self-care strategist Sarah Steckler, bullet journaling for just 10 to 15 minutes a day can deepen your self-knowledge, clarify your life’s purpose, and even improve your relationships.
Furthermore, the simple act of bullet journaling provides respite and—like any mindfulness practice—reconnects you with your intuition. “Bullet journaling is a wonderful way to check in with yourself each day without the distractions of social media, electronics, and the nonstop feed so many of us have a hard time escaping,” says Steckler. “There can be a huge sense of comfort in knowing all of your thoughts have a home and a place you can come back to and reference. I think a huge part of self-care we often overlook involves how often we sit with our thoughts, check in with what we really need as we grow, and make time to just be with ourselves.”
- 3 Bullet Journaling Dos and Don’ts
A few further thoughts on bullet journaling for self-care:
1) Do establish a routine.
When you first begin bullet journaling, working on your journal at a specific time each day may nurture your practice. But don’t beat yourself up if that practice shifts over time, Steckler advises. “You may love journaling 15 minutes a day, and then find that some weeks it’s more like five minutes, or even every other day,” she says.
2) Don’t get too caught up in appearances.
Beloved among artists and designers, bullet journals are often intensely visual—check the #BuJo hashtag on Instagram, and you’ll find thousands of examples of beautifully illustrated and artfully laid-out journals. But bullet journaling can still be a vital form of expression for those who aren’t so artistically inclined. “Don’t let yourself get swept up in the aesthetic of it, if it keeps you from actually journaling,” Steckler cautions. “Things don’t have to be perfect or pretty to be useful.”
3) Do keep your bullet journaling fresh and fun.
If a particular aspect of bullet journaling isn’t working for you—even if it’s an element that you’ve enjoyed in the past—go ahead and change it up. “Part of self-care is doing what feels good to you and helps you feel better,” says Alvarez. “Make your bullet journal something you want to keep going back to—a tool you craft to be exactly what you need it to be.”
Want to get started? Here’s a recap of are our top recommendations to get your bullet journal diaries underway …a big thank you to all three of you for providing fabulous images for this post as well!