My Ugly Bullet Journal Spreads

Sometimes the ugly things around us are a reflection of ugly things inside us. Next week, in my regular month review, I’ll talk more about how May has been a rough month for me. But I’m focusing on the bullet journal this time around because it’s one of those ~*~aesthetic~*~ things in life, and I wanted to share how the non-aesthetic results are just as important as the beautiful accomplishments. I also wanted to mention that, even though I don’t like the ugly spreads, I still appreciate them.

For my weekly layouts in May, I had anticipated on using a similar format to the ones I had used in March 2018 and April 2018. But for a few reasons, they turned out terrible.

Sometimes, my bullet journal gets neglected. If you want to compare, April’s layouts were beautiful. I put effort in them and really enjoyed planning my month. But for May, my weekly spreads didn’t jive with me. There was something off.

I know I like to show the best sides of my life, especially online. Why shouldn’t I? After all, if I’m proud of something, I should share it. If something is beautiful, I want to show it to others. There’s nothing wrong with putting the highlights on social media or my website. I don’t deny the ugly sides of my life, after all. (Like when my mental health gets bad and destructive; or how I experienced therapy in 2016; or reflecting on changes, conflicts, and regrets each month.)

So here’s some of my trashy bullet journal spreads! They’re incomplete, they’re filled with scribbles, and they’re failed attempts at keeping my life on track.

A spread created after half the week had gone by, with unfinished art…

 

A week with missed days of planning…

 

A layout with a time codex that just didn’t work at all in the small module size…

My favourite thing about the bullet journal is the customisation capabilities. It’s nice to have the creative outlet as well, but it’s times like now—when I’m looking back on May and preparing for June—where I’m grateful for this planning system’s lack of commitment. If I had a printed planner designed by a company, no matter how beautiful it is or how well it previously worked, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to change it up on a whim.

I’ll be noting all of these struggles in my monthly review, which is one of my favourite bullet journal hacks, next week! My planning for June will change for sure, since my issues with using my journal this month were present throughout the month. Sometimes I’ll miss a few days in a week, or a week doesn’t get designed as well as the rest. But those are non-issues compared to ugly bullet journal spreads week after week. They’re a sign that I’m using the wrong tactics, and I need to readjust what I’m doing. They’re also evident that my mental health isn’t condoning good planning.

Layouts like this remind me of times over the last 3 years when the same thing happened. But now, I’ve started to notice that it’s a sign that my mental health isn’t at its best. I use my planner to keep on track of my life. My mental illness affects all aspects of my life. The two go hand-in-hand, so I’ve become aware of when my planner reflects my health. My journal is another tool to stay mindful of my life. The ugly layouts and ugly moments are part of that.

5 Reasons To Read Poetry

My love of writing started with poetry and song lyrics. Although I’ve been reading novels since I was kid, I branched out to read poems in my teen and adult years. I think all novelists should be reading poetry along with the books they read! Here are five reasons to read poetry, especially if you write novels.

Expose yourself to new vocabulary

Genre tropes mean you see a lot of the same language used for characters, settings, and conflicts. Poetry can span so many genres and topics, and playing with vocabulary is a key aspect of writing poetry. For me personally, I’m always looking for new words to add to my vocabulary. In all the languages I know, vocabulary is my weak spot. I struggle to use different words and get creative, so poetry gives me easy access to unique words.

Read styles different from genre fiction

If you’re like me and read a lot of genre fiction in the same demographic (YA fantasy!), you’ll notice that a lot of the writing styles are… very similar. Poems tend to have a strong voice, especially since there are so many styles of poems. Haikus, sonnets, free verse, spoken word—they’re all different. I love spoken word poetry and have a background in writing and performing it, and it shows in my fiction writing! Writing that can be read aloud has a different flow to writing that is easier to be read. So

Discover new writers

One of the best reasons! There are so many poets out there! It’s always a good time to find new writers whose work you enjoy. Poets need support and rarely become bestsellers, so hype them up and follow them online when you can.

Get out of reading slumps

Reading a new genre or form is one of my secrets for getting out of a reading slump. It’s an easy way to refresh my palette for reading. I outlined a few more ways I get out of a reading slump, but poetry and anthologies with poetry are some of the surefire ways for me to do it.

Read innovative writing

This is similar to the different styles, but I want to emphasise the innovation of poetry. Poetry can break all the rules of grammar and syntax. Metaphors, similes, symbolism, and imagery shine through in poetry. Innovation in writing craft leads to inspiration!


Here are a few recommendations for some poetry collections available online/digitally.

the secrets i keep by alex casso (Amazon)
bone by yrsa daley-ward (Amazon)
Various Collections by Elle (Gumroad)
Compasses and Other Ornaments of Direction by Coryl Reef (Amazon; I gotta promo!)

If you’re a poet and have some published writing (self-published, or self-hosted, or anywhere else!) feel free to comment below and I’ll be updating this post with them.

5 Bullet Journal Hacks

5 Bullet Journal Hacks

Honestly, I don’t like using the word “hack” for this type of post, but I couldn’t think of another word to use! I have some bullet journal hacks for you to “get more” out of your bullet journal. These are also some easy ways to change up your planning style in your journal, as well as try some new ways to plan your life. These are especially useful for me as a homebound person. I work from home and am my own boss, so I need to keep track of myself. Currently, I use all of these bullet journal hacks except for one! Maybe in June I’ll end up using the fifth hack, since I miss using it.

Without further rambling, here are 5 bullet journal hacks to mix up your planning and get more out of your bujo system.

Dutch Door Layout

A Dutch door layout may seem intimidating at first, since you have to cut your pages to make it. But once you have it planned out, you’ll have more space for daily layouts and still be able to see information from previous pages! I used the Dutch door layout in October of 2016, and it really helped me keep track of my personal projects and my final university semester. I’ll be doing a tutorial next month on how to make a Dutch door layout yourself!

Monthly Review Module

This is one of my favourite bullet journal hacks. At the end of the month, usually after a weekly layout, I include a space for me to review the previous month and pre-plan the next month. I assess what goals I want to work on for the next month, and what I need to change up for the goals I didn’t complete in the previous month. This space also gives me the chance to plan out the spreads and designs I want to use for the next month. Use this space to mindfully plan and review how your bullet journal and life are working together!

Monthly Goal Layout

I recently started adding a spread to list out my goals for the month, including all the individual tasks for completing the goal. While I’m still new to it, I’ve really enjoyed having the space to expand on goals without pinning them to a certain week or day. But the monthly goal layout that I use also has a space for me to assign goals and tasks to certain weeks! I have a bad habit of setting too many goals for the month. A layout each month to outline my goals is an easy way to see if I’m putting too much on my plate.

Daily Time Trackers

Working from home means I need to keep track of my time unlike people who have jobs they travel to and clock into. A daily time tracker (or time codex, to use some fancy jargon) keeps me mindful of how I spend my hours. My mental health also benefits from doing this! I lose track of time very quickly and easily—I don’t have much of an internal clock—so I like having reminders of time passing. A daily time tracker lets me check in throughout the day as I complete my to do list.

Non-BuJo Planning Options

I saved the best for last. My all-time favourite bullet journal hacks are the ways that I don’t use my bullet journal. Variety is so important in my life. There are also some planner features that do better when they’re displayed prominently, or take up more space than is available in my Leuchtturm. Currently, I have a daily habit and routine tracker on my mirror that I check off and track with a dry erase marker. I also have a tracker for my eating disorder that I keep on my bulletin board, since I benefit from the constant exposer. It also doesn’t fit in my bullet journal—tracking my binges is a longterm habit and act of mindfulness that I need to see displayed over the months and years. If there’s something you’re trying to include in your bullet journal, and it’s just not working, but you want to include it in your planning? Try using it on its own or in a different medium! Phone reminders, boards on your walls, or a whole other book may be the right direction.


These bullet journal hacks are very different from the original purpose of a bullet journal. They’re unique ways for you to personalise your bullet journal, while also varying your planning style. They’re methods I can swear by—they’ve been effective for me throughout my bullet journal experience over the last 2 years. Do you have any “hacks” that you use for your bullet journal or planner?

When My Mental Illness Is Bad

When My Mental Illness Is Bad

Mental illness isn’t a solitary, isolated, and vacuum-sealed experience. Mentally ill people, like myself, have friends, family, and peers. We interact with strangers. We can make mistakes and have messy behaviour, just like everyone else. Sometimes, mental illness is bad—or at least it makes us feel that way. When I say mental illness is bad, I don’t mean mental illness is a problem that needs to be fixed, or that mental illness is something immoral that needs to be punished. What I mean is that mental illness and its symptoms can have a negative impact on people. When talking about mental illness, it’s important to be honest without reinforcing stigma. But it’s also just as important not to dismiss or romanticise parts of mental illness. Sometimes, my mental illness is bad, and I end up doing hurtful things to myself and the people around me.

I have bipolar type II, with hypomanic and depressive phases. I also have complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). They’re not “pretty” or “easy” mental illnesses. Along with being complex and individual, they’re messy and difficult to manage.

This is going to be about my personal experience and symptoms. They are bad to me. They make my life harder, and they can be harmful to me and the people around me. I sometimes fear for my life when the symptoms get intense. Please do not take this as reflective of everyone with mental illness. If you can identify with what I say, then that’s okay—but if you’re neurotypical and reading this, remember that I am just one person.

Symptoms that my mental illness is bad

It’s hard to feel human when my mental illness makes me feel like an immoral person. Like what I’m doing and how I’m behaving are wrong, rather than difficult and symptomatic of a deeper problem. Maybe I’m overthinking how much these can affect other people, but I know I’ve lashed out or been incredibly irresponsible with some of these symptoms present.

Anger/irritation

I lash out a lot. When I get frustrated, I can get very impassioned and heated. It’s not nice to be around me. My hypomania often goes from hyper to angry, not happy or over-the-moon as the stereotype can be. Anger is not a bad feeling to have, but it’s very easy for me to disrespect the people around me when I get irritated.

Self-harm

I want to hurt myself. This is not good. Urges or desires to hurt myself are a sure sign that I’m not in a good place.

Lack of sleep

When I’m hypomanic, I don’t feel tired and I don’t feel the need to go to sleep. Not sleeping means that I’m hurting my body. It affects my reaction time, so driving and walking become dangerous. It also changes my routine and schedule. My self-care and work can be severely affected if I’m not resting. It’s irresponsible, mostly.

Delusions of grandeur

I become convinced that I can undertake projects and make plans that are, without a doubt, beyond my capabilities. This ends up wasting my time and resources, while also potentially wasting other people’s time and resources. If I start getting invested in a project or goal that originates from a delusion, I don’t follow through. It doesn’t get completed. I put a strain on my money and friendships.

Hallucinations

These are the scariest. Most of my hallucinations are visual and they set off anxiety. When they’re auditory hallucinations, I’m even more afraid. I hear things that don’t have a source outside my head, even if they sound like they’re external. My behaviour changes significantly, and I can end up lashing out or slipping into paranoid thinking.


These are all signs that my mental health isn’t being managed and maintained well. That’s what I mean when my mental illness is bad: it’s not being treated properly. I’m blessed to be able to have counselling and medication to treat my mental illnesses. But when I get to this severity? I’m in trouble. They can’t be managed by a crisis intervention. I feel just a level below crisis, or like it’s less concentrated and intense than a crisis, when my mental illness is bad like this. But it’s a little too much for me to handle on my own.

How I can improve

Talking about these issues requires self-awareness. Without being aware of my own behaviour, whether it’s from my mental illnesses or not, I can’t make an attempt to manage and improve myself. The mental health community needs to give space for these discussions as well. We need permission to converse about our harmful behaviour without being villainised for experiencing it. Mentally ill people, especially those with mood disorders like mine, have a reason for why they act certain ways. It doesn’t mean they should be given a free pass to continue that behaviour. It means that we need to be aware of the context.

If I flip my lid, I need to reflect on that. Why did I react that way? Was it appropriate? How is the rest of my behaviour, in terms of symptoms?

This also means I need to learn how to follow-through with correcting my behaviour and apologising if I do end up hurting someone. I need to be able to have the grace and forgiveness to apologise to myself, too. I need to be able to say to someone, “Hey, it was wrong of me to behave that way, and I sincerely apologise for my behaviour. My mental health has been poor, so I’ll be taking some time to address it and my symptoms—including the rage I directed at you and the irresponsibility of my actions.”

I am one person, and as Kelly Kapoor said so intelligently about managing her one-person department, I am not easy to manage. It’s especially true when my mental health is bad.

Launching A Patreon

After some deliberating, I’ve decided to launch a Patreon for my blog, writing, and art!

Why Patreon?

I played with the idea of placing advertisements on my blog, but I wanted to keep this website as clear and focused as possible on my content. I can’t describe how frustrated I get when I’m visiting a blog, trying to read a post or look at pictures, and I have to scroll through advertisements in order to find the content. Not just scroll past ads to get to the content, but to dig for it amongst the clutter.

I didn’t want that experience for my blog. It felt inaccessible and off-brand for me. So to monetise my work (because a blog is work, writing is work, and art is work), I settled on Patreon.

It’s free to set up. It’s also a platform I’m familiar with. But most importantly, it’s something I need to stick to in order to gain the rewards from it. I hope to get some support for my creative endeavours, notably my artwork. I haven’t had much motivation to create and share my art. Recently, I realised why: I didn’t have an audience for it, and I didn’t value my efforts.

With Patreon, I feel so much more motivated to deliver content, regardless of patrons and how many I have. It’s an external form of accountability.

It’s also a space that I want to grow and focus on. As such, I’ll be announcing blog posts, writing updates, and artwork there before I post to any other social media. While I will continue tweeting, instagramming, pinning, and facebooking, Patreon will come first.

You can follow me for free to get those first updates. I will love you and be eternally grateful if you pledge, too! Exclusive content is available at tier one, the Cait Siths, for $1 a month, so you don’t need to pledge much to get behind-the-scenes.

Click below to reach my Patreon page. I hope to see you there!

Patreon Become A Patron Button

Month In Review: April 2018

April felt incredibly long, but not sluggish like March. I think I experienced all four seasons’ worth of weather—winter, fall, summer, and spring. But mostly winter. I had lots of small projects to work on, so I was fairly busy, but thankfully not overwhelmed. I can’t reveal everything I did this month, but much of it relates back to my artistic creating!

A celebration: I managed to get over the hardest parts of my revision of The Pilgrimage! Chapters 5 to 9 needed to be completely rewritten from nothing, and I finished them!

A change: The status of my employment changed! This is a good change.

A conflict: It still felt like winter all month long. It snowed for a week straight at one point and I was so done with it. I love winter so much, but when I lasts from November to the end of April? Half a year of winter? No fucking thank you.

A relief: I spent a week out of town and it ended up feeling like a mini-vacation. I traveled 2 hours away from my hometown and where I stayed was filled with grass, sunshine, and the beginning of spring!

A regret: The Pilgrimage didn’t get finished this month. I’ve been trying to finish it for a year now. I’m trying not to beat myself up over it, but I’m eager to finish so I can start Avatar Five, another fantasy novel-length project.

A random memory: I went to a dog park with my pal and his family dog (Alaskan Malamute, I love her), and we got a little lost on the way home. We were walking in a path and I almost stepped on a gartner snake. They’re relatively harmless to humans, so I paused and gave it some distance. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a snake in the wild, but I recognised it as the same kind that used to hang around my old house. (My friend is scared of snakes and went ahead with the pupper.)

Overall, April was a full month. I came home to warmer weather, made a pact to get back into jogging now that I can, and I’m feeling optimistic about May.

April Bullet Journal Spreads

April Bullet Journal Spreads Weekly Monthly BuJo

In an attempt to bring spring into my life, I went hardcore with my April monthly bullet journal doodles. I haven’t gotten this artistic and drawn this much in my bullet journal before. The pops of colour in the flowers really brightened up my month for my spreads. The snow hasn’t completely melted where I live. I’m pretty desperate for florals and greenery!

Monthly bullet journal spreads

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Month Monthly Layout 01 Filled

As is my style, I have my bubble layout tracker, which I didn’t feel like photographing for this month. If you’ve seen any of my other posts with monthly bullet journal spreads, you’ve seen my tracker layout. It changes ever so slightly from month-to-month, but between my March monthly bullet journal spreads and April, they were basically identical.

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Month Monthly Layout 02 Fitness Calendar Tracker

I really wanted to focus on the flower drawings. Bullet journal doodles are outside of my normal journalling, after all. For some of the flowers, I used Planning Mindfully’s flower drawing tutorial to get started. I also used references from image searches and from a drawing book I own. Also against my normal journalling, I used pencil crayons (“colored pencils” to Americans, I think?) to colour the doodles. I typically use markers for my monthly bullet journal designs, trackers, and calendars. The pencil crayons made the monthly layout a bit softer, since I could blend colours more easily.

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Month Monthly Layout 03 Calendar Agenda

Overall, I’m very, very happy with these monthly bullet journal spreads.

Weekly bullet journal spreads

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 01 Filled

The weekly layouts for April are a bit similar to March, but because I had more small projects to work on this month, I adapted slightly. The daily modules for April are a tiny bit larger than they were in March—a very good thing. After I filled up most of the days, I barely had room to decorate.

I used the same layout each week this month, and prettied them up afterward with washi tape. I don’t like decking out my bullet journal spreads with designs before I fill them in. It’s impossible for me to know which days will be busier and fill the module.

Here are some before, during, and after shots of my weekly layouts!

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 02 Midweek

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 03 Filled

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 04 Filled Closeup

My bare-bones layout for weekly spreads is incredibly bland. My last week in April started off with pops of washi tape only because I messed up with marker in an area and wanted to cover it up!

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 05 Empty

April Bullet Journal BuJo Spread Week Weekly Layout 06 Midweek

Since I’ve gotten into the habit of doing my monthly bullet journal spreads and weekly layouts at the start of the month, I use my journal more consistently. It takes some time to get set up before I can use it (about 4 hours total, actually—more if I’m experimenting). But then I don’t have to set aside time each week to draw a layout. It’s much easier to commit to a weekly layout and use the same design for the month.

I’m excited to start designing and planning for May’s monthly bullet journal spreads!

Writing Transformation From Lit Mags

Improve Wring Craft From Lit Mags

During my reading slump at the start of this year, I picked up periodicals again. I had burned myself out of genre fiction and YA fiction. I craved a way for me to improve writing craft. So I turned to my stack of literary magazines and picked Room Magazine to marathon. They release publications four times a year and publish writing exclusively from people who are not cisgender men.

The volumes include poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, interviews, and essays. The bulk of the content is poetry and short fiction. Eight issues of this magazine is two years’ worth of material, and each volume consists of around 90 pages of content.

I read them in the span of a few weeks. I’m a slow reader, so reading that quantity in that time frame is unheard of for me.

I read nearly 800 pages of literary fiction. I love poetry and short stories, and even though there were pieces I didn’t like in some of the volumes, I still read them. There must have been over 100 pieces total—100 complete written pieces. Imagine reading 100 books, or 100 essays, condensed down into a few pages. That many self-contained stories is magical; inspiring; awesome.

Diverse content

I can’t stress enough the importance of reading diversely—and not just sociological “diverse.” You need to read writing from disabled, queer, black, and/or indigenous people, and/o people of colour. Remember they write more than books! Read their poems and short stories and more. Read different forms—poems, short stories, song lyrics, essays—and different genres in fiction. Even if you write in one genre or form, read widely and away from the style and tropes you normally write.

I’m also a poet and short story writer, so I went into the literary magazine reading with the aims of improving my poems and short stories.

Improve writing craft

Writers learn from reading. And I learned a lot, even if I wasn’t consciously studying, analysing, or evaluating. These pieces were vastly different from the writing I was producing. My main project this year has been my older YA high fantasy novel.

The writing I put into my fantasy novel surged in quality. My words became confident. I sat down to my writing sessions and produced deliberate work. Since I write my novels by scene, I had less difficulty creating self-contained segments of conflict. I could more easily visualise and plan out a condensed piece of my story.

And I won’t get into specifics of how my style of writing changed. But poetry is like a salve on trope-laden, saturated genres like fantasy. I attribute much of my good and great writing to the fact that I started out my writing journey with poetry. If I hadn’t learned poems, I wouldn’t be as good of a writer.

Refreshed palette

In my post about how I beat a reading slump, I outlined three ways I refresh my palette and taste for reading. Literary magazines fall into new genres and other storytelling media. So not only has my wring transformed, but my reading habits have improved and rejuvenated from the change.


If you’d like to subscribe to Room Magazine, I highly encourage you to visit their website and do so. Whether it’s this magazine or another journal, adding a literary magazine to your reading regime will benefit you. And of course all the writers your subscription supports!

The best way for a writer to improve writing craft is to read. Read as much, as varied, and as often as you can. There are so many stories beyond the bestseller and new release shelves in corporate stores. With the Internet at your fingertips, seek out something different to read—and watch yourself change.

5 Ways to Practice Nonsexual Consent

How To Practice Nonsexual Consent In All Relationships

At its core, consent is asking for permission knowing full well that the recipient is not obligated to fulfill your wishes. Consent is a hot topic for sex, and for good reason. Sex is multiple people engaging in activities that rely on bodily autonomy and personal space. Nonsexual consent is just as important as sexual consent. After all, consent doesn’t begin with sexual activities and physical intimacy.

Consent begins when parents tell their toddler to hug a relative. It begins when children are told to hold hands with their classmates in school. It begins before puberty. Consent exists outside of sex. It exists for non-sexual, asexual, and celibate people.

Here are 5 ways that you can practice show consideration for your peers, family, friends, and strangers with nonsexual consent.

Nonsexual consent is when you ask for permission when you want to…
Hug, shake hands with, or high five someone of any age

You should get consent before touching someone. Hugging, shaking hands, and high fiving are mostly touching hands. But it’s still important to respect someone’s boundaries. This includes with children! Children have bodily autonomy as well. They should never be forced to hug or high five if they don’t want to.

Cook or provide food for someone

Offering a meal to someone can be a nice gesture. However, there is also a lot of risk when eating food you haven’t prepared. Asking to cook or buy a meal for someone respects their dietary needs, such as allergies, intolerances, preferences, and eating disorders. Even hunger should be respected. Don’t make someone eat if they don’t want to!

Receive emotional labour from someone

If you’re unsure what “emotional labour” means, then here’s a quick read on it! This one is especially important in the social media world. Users can post their opinions and thoughts, and read strangers’ comments and opinions in return. But if someone needs to invest their time, energy, and emotions into a conversation, respect them and gain consent.

Consider it when you…

  • Want to rant or vent to a friend.
  • Discuss personal problems for advice or help with someone.
  • Ask for educational explanations.
Privately message or friend request someone on a social network

Digital boundaries are still boundaries. Imagine entering someone’s private messages as the same as knocking on their digital door. Nobody is obligated to reply to you or connect with you on social media. If you want to engage with them, ask first.

Talk about personal, serious, or heavy topics

This nonsexual consent piggybacks off of the emotional labour one. There are topics that are meant for smalltalk, like the weather and how someone’s weekend was. And then there are topics that can get heated or emotionally heavy. These topics include religion, politics, mental health, trauma, and other private or personal details.


You don’t need to have an eloquent, highly formal method of asking someone to do any of these things. “Can I ______?” is an easy format. In spoken English, we can portray a question through vocal inflection at the end of a word or statement–when I hug my friends, I outstretch my arms and say “Hug?” (or raise my eyebrows), and this is still consent.

Over time, you build your consensual relationship and interactions with people. As you get to know someone and their boundaries, or as your relationship grows and boundaries change, you increase your awareness of what they consent to.

Here’s a real life example.

I love to hug people. It’s an intimate action that, for me, shows that I care. I also love to make friends, and I’m very upfront about when I want to have a friendship with a new person. So when I meet someone new, I tell them I’m interested in being friends with them. I also ask, “Are you a hugger? Can we hug?”

The majority of the time, this is met with an enthusiastic, “Yeah, sure!” and we hug. But there are instances where they say, “Oh, I’m sorry, no.” My reaction? “That’s okay! I totally understand.”

When you practice consent outside of sexual activities, you deepen your respect for people’s bodily autonomy. You also learn that consent is nuanced and part of daily life! There’s nothing complicated about consent unless communication is complicated.

Consent means respecting boundaries. Those boundaries are not always physical or bodily, too. Respect people’s time, privacy, and autonomy.

3 Ways My BuJo Improves My Mental Health

3 Ways To Use A Bullet Journal For Mental Health and Improve Mental Illness

Bullet journals are half planner and half journal (at least the way I treat them). When I started using my bullet journal in 2016, I tracked my university assignments, events, and exams. I also used it to stay on top of bills for the house I moved into. It gradually transformed to include details about my therapy and mental health treatment when I started therapy. Now, I love using my bullet journal for mental health! I still use it as a planner, too.

I’ve written a post already about mental health tracking, as well as a post that discusses using a bullet journal for mental health and chronic illnesses.

In this post, I explain 3 ways that my bullet journal helps with my mental health, illness, and wellbeing. Keeping track helps me so much!

Trackers let me see patterns in my mental health symptoms

Tracking symptoms of my mental health and my daily life means I have a record that I can compare long-term. For instance, my bullet journal was instrumental in showing me patterns in my symptoms that were associated/correlated with my menstrual cycle. A mood tracker lets me see how my emotions fluctuate over time. I track side effects for medication. I keep a record of my symptoms. When I visit my doctor for check-ups, I have a solid reference with my bullet journal.

The bullet journal provides written accountability for my to do lists, self-care, and responsibilities

If I don’t write something down, it doesn’t exist to me. I don’t have a good memory. Writing out notes, lists, and plans is the best way for me to remember them. Self-care and other aspects of my life, such as hygiene and chores, are greatly affected by my mental illness. So having them written down? I’m more likely to take care of myself. A list that includes “take a shower” means I’m aware of my self-care. My monthly tracker includes a space for me to note my medication so I remain consistent with my treatment.

I have a type of diary and scrapbooking to maintain perspective on the good and bad times

There are numerous benefits to keeping a journal. But it’s not always feasible if you don’t have the energy to keep up with it. I’ve tried to journal daily or weekly in that “write out your feelings” and diary format. I always lose interest and stop using it! I use the bullet journal for multiple parts of my life. It’s a natural record of what I’ve been up to over the months and years.


When I use and keep up with my bullet journal for mental health, I feel so much better! It’s one of the tools I use in treating my mental illness and maintaining my wellbeing. It’s great for planning! But it’s slowly transformed into a vital aspect of my daily life outside of planning, too.