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Bullet journaling is my secret weapon to staying organised. If you don’t know what a Bullet journal is read this post ‘Why you NEED a bullet journal’
The goal I have for this post is to illustrate a few ways to help your mental health through using your bullet journal. I have lived with mental health (not illness as that sounds really bad) most of my 42-year long life. I have tried a lot of things to deal with it but part of the reason I am semi-stable and thriving is due to art therapy, my bullet journal and medication of course.
The ways of managing my mental health that I want to tell you about are:
- Art therapy
- Bullet Journal collections to refer back to when times are tough.
- Journaling prompts
- Tracking your moods in your bullet journal and general habit trackers.
The purpose of art therapy is to help individuals disconnect from psychological issues and provide stress relief. It also helps increase self-esteem over time as you notice the growth in your skills. The focus of Art Therapy is not to learn to make art or to create beautiful products, but to use the artistic process to facilitate healing and self-awareness. I’ve also been advised not to think too much about what I’m doing during art therapy, just do it. I truly believe that art therapy in any form can be beneficial for mental health and I currently create calligraphy both in brush pen and pointed pen form as one of my ways of disconnecting from my worries.
I love calligraphy because it makes my words beautiful and I love to write so the two melded together beautifully. I started off with calligraphy by learning the pointed pen form with a dip pen. My friend had told me about skillshare and how she had used it to learning hand lettering. So I signed up for 2 free months (that you can get HERE) and found an Artist, Audrey Ko who has a class “Modern Calligraphy: Pointed Pen Basics” . I did her class in about 10 days as it is nearly 4 hours long and I have been playing with my style ever since.
All you have to do to start learning calligraphy is sign up for SkillShare and find her class. You will need some equipment to start off though. So I would recommend buying the Manuscript Modern Calligraphy Set and Speedball super india ink to start with. If you don’t want to sign up for SkillShare my favourite site is “The Postmans Knock“. Lindsey has got an amazing array of information about learning calligraphy and free printables for playing with.
Calligraphy is just one form of art therapy you can do with your bullet journal though. You can use any type of art/crafts as a release or processing method in your bujo. Watercolours are a good way to paint in your bujo and can make beautiful backgrounds for your journaling prompts.
Scrapbooking your feelings in your bujo is a good option too if you have the materials. You are getting your feelings onto paper just in a more creative form than writing can offer. Try creating a postcard for someone that you will never send. It could be addressed to a co-worker, a lost loved one, a pet, or even a stranger on the street. Vent what you need to say but do so through your art on one side & a message on the back.
You get the point, there are lots of options for art therapy in your bullet journal or not. If you want to read more about art therapy I recommend “How art therapy is used to help people heal“. An article with lots of ideas for art therapy is on a website called Grieveable, they have an article “32 At Home Art Therapy Activities” that is a good read.
Mental Health Bullet Journal Collections
I find making bullet journal collections to help my mental health and getting creative with them gives me ways both to process feelings and gives me an outlet for my creative side. It makes me feel happy when I see pretty things in my bullet journal.
I really recommend creating a page in your bullet journal called “What I love about myself”. This is firstly a way of exploring your feelings about yourself, and secondly, you get to decorate it however you like. I actually found this page hard to do and it bought to light that I don’t really love anything about my body, which I can now work on.
A further collection worth having is one devoted to your favorite inspirational quotes. It’s helpful for when you are not well or need some words of inspiration to be able to flip to this page and get some inspiration. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a pep talk like, “Hello your a badass woman, don’t be sad you’ve got this!”.
The following collection is another one of my favorites, I call it Hygge habits. Hygge is a Danish word that means a quality of cosiness. It is a collection that I refer back to when I’m not feeling happy for any reason and it gives me ideas on how to make myself feel better in the moment.
Journaling Prompts for Mental Health
I use my bullet journal to journal about everything in my life and I feel it helps bring out my problems and then be able to deal with them. It is important to say, use mental health journaling prompts only when you feel ready and you have support structure/plans in place. Another thing to remember is that it shouldn’t replace therapy but complement it.
One of the simplest techniques I use to figure out my feelings is “The 5 Whys”. It’s super simple and best explained by demonstrating.
“How am I feeling? I’m Irritable.
Why? because I can’t get anything done.
Why? because the kids are annoying me.
Why? because they are bored.
Why? They haven’t got anything to do.
So that is very simplified but you get the idea. Mindtools has a more explanatory article about it HERE.
On to journaling prompts… There are soooo many mental health journaling prompts out there it can be hard to decide on one to use. I have just listed a few that resonant with me. The first of the prompts is the best, I think, for self-awareness.
- What do you love about yourself?
- What are you grateful for? I think that being in a place of gratitude changes your point of view on your world.
- Name 10 things you love right now.
- Your fears/anxiety/or things that stress you out? How are you going to overcome that?
- List some ways to make time for yourself.
- What advice would you give your younger self?
- Write about what you love about life.
- Write about your victories this week.
The following image has nothing to do with journal prompts. It’s just an image to break up all the text and it’s my favorite place in the world. Capilano Suspension bridge in North Vancouver.
Habit & Mood Tracking
No matter what your goals are, if you want them to happen you have to work on them, mental health goals included. This is where habit trackers come to their fore. They track your progress towards goals such as exercising every day or making sure you do your daily gratitude journaling. Being able to see your progress will make you feel good and help you stay positive about your changes.
Mood trackers are also a very good source of information and place to find patterns in your moods. I colour code my mood from the day every night and I have been able to find patterns and even been able to predict when my moods may be going to dip. As you can see in the picture below my mood varies a lot but it does it in the same or close to same way each month, so its easy to plan for.
If you are stuck for ideas when it comes to trackers Pinterest is great! The tracker from birdybujo is a really good one as a line graph of your moods. It’s easier to see the highs and lows during the month than other styles of tracker.
The image below “Rephrasing” is here just because I wanted to share it and how rephrasing can change the way you react or think about life etc.
I hope this post has helped you in your journey to better mental health. As always please comment or email me at lee@sweetbujo with questions or anything really. I love to see what you guys do in your journals and if you want me to put them up here I will be getting a gallery going soon.
Love Lee xoxo
Read more like this post.
Bullet Journal Notebooks:
- Rhodia Goalbook comes set up for bullet journaling and is fountain pen friendly
- Official Bullet Journal Leuchtturm1917 built for bullet journaling by the creator
- Nuuna I love the funky covers on these books
- Mumsy and Bub – This company makes beautiful vegan travelers notebooks. I have 3 of them 2 A5 and 1 B6 sized.
- Staedtler triplus fineliners I have these in the 36 pack and love them
- Zebra Mildliner Brush Pens
- Tombow Dual Brush Pens
- Pilot Metropolitan (MR3) fountain pen A great beginners fountain pen
- Lamy Safari fountain pen I’m a little obsessed with these pens, they are great and write amazingly
- Diamine Shimmer inks I love these inks shimmer and non shimmer alike
- Faber-Castell pitt artist pens
- Crayola supertips Great for highlighting, colouring and faux calligraphy