I had just entered the world of parenthood for the first time almost 4 years ago and I was quite overwhelmed. My “adulting” phase was in full swing. There were so many appointments and tasks that I had to remember not only for myself, but now for a family. I had to find a better way to organize my time and write down a to-do list. Agendas and pre-printed planners were nice, but the pressure to write in them everyday quickly led to me abandoning them. Plus, the already made layouts felt too constricting. None of them seemed to have a winning combination of what I needed. While searching on Pinterest, I came across a few Bullet Journaling Weekly Logs and was taken by how flexible this system was. Two more kids later, I’m still using the Bullet Journal method to keep me on track. I don’t forget any events; I’m prepared for my appointments; my chore list is running smoothly; and my kids are on a pretty good schedule (except my newborn, who happens to be his own boss at the moment). But I still felt like something was missing. That one thing was me! My bullet journal showed less and less of me taking care of myself and more of me taking care of everybody and everything else. I wasn’t a priority to myself anymore. I decided to create a second bullet journal, but this time the intention and focus was on me and my self-care. It was, and still is, important that I continue to better myself as an individual. Self care and the Bullet Journal work perfectly together. With the right intentions; self care and Bullet Journaling can provide you with a positive experience. Both are multidimensional. There are a variety of ways that you can take care of yourself and the Bullet Journal method caters to many uses, styles, and functions. Both are a reflection of who you truly are. As you put in more energy into your self-care and Bullet Journaling, you’ll find that they both will show you special details and characteristics about your personality and the way you think. You see, the intention of self-care in a Bullet Journal is all about creating a space that makes you, and only you, happy. You can choose to dedicate a few pages or an entire notebook to self-care. Either way, it is there to help remind you that you are indeed important and it is vital that you function positively and efficiently on a day to day basis. You must fill your “cup” of well-being until it is overflowing. Adding self care ideas and strategies into your Bullet Journal helps you to schedule, organize, and plan the way your cup gets filled. To help me plan and organize my needs, I adapt 8 different types of self-care into my Bullet Journal. 1. Personal Care – This is where most people start when it comes to self-care. We think of treating or rewarding ourselves as a way to decompress or acknowledge a meaningful accomplishment. You might want to schedule a spa day or celebrate at your favorite restaurant. In your Bullet Journal, you can dedicate a monthly layout of uplifting events and appointments that you have scheduled for yourself. A spread like this can increase motivation and encourage you to keep moving forward. 2. Psychological (Mental) Care – In this area, you are taking care of your mental health. This includes your thoughts, your perspective, the way you analyze and problem solve a situation. Using a bullet journal can help you to shift negativity into positivity. One type of Collection that I use is my “Affirmations” log. It’s simply a Collection of my favorite affirmations that I like to repeat to myself in times of self-doubt and insecurity. It’s an instant mood changer.
3. Physical Care – Taking care of your body is essential. Getting enough rest, eating right, drinking enough water and exercising set the tone for your self-care. Using habit trackers help you to stay consistent with your health goals. They can also help you discover interesting patterns in the way that you take care of yourself. For instance, you may notice that going to bed an hour earlier increases your focus during the day dramatically.
4. Emotional Care – The way we feel is linked to many aspects of our lives. They are connected to events (excitement for an upcoming birthday), objects (frustration over a leaky faucet), and to people (sadness for a death of a loved one). Using a “Wellness Tracker” can help you remember what triggers your emotions so that you can cultivate more positive experiences and stay away from the negative ones. 5. Spiritual Care – In this section I am leaning towards the faith aspect of spirituality more so than the religious aspect (although keeping pages about your religion in your Bullet Journal is a fantastic idea). It’s important that we maintain a sense of inner peace in a world that can be so cruel at times. Having a quiet moment to focus on positive aspects of your life is rejuvenating. I try to remain centered through prayer and meditation, which are scheduled in my daily logs.
6. Professional Care – Going to work, even if it’s something that you love doing, can be draining at times. It can take up a lot of our energy, leaving us with little to have at the end of the day or week. I like to use a layout dedicated to my projects in order to help me be efficient with my time and stay motivated.
7. Environmental Care – This is the place where we call home. The place where we come to relax, laugh, cry, and commune with others. It is a place where we can create a world of our own. Maintain your physical space by using a chore/house cleaning schedule in your bullet journal.
8. Social Care – Who are the people that make up your team? Your tribe? Your village? Each social circle has a different set of people for different purposes in your life. Create a go-to list of contacts that you need. You can keep one for pen pals, for family members, or for co-workers. Knowing that you have people who support you makes traveling life’s journey less lonely. The way that you approach self care in your life is as unique as the way you create your Bullet Journal. There is no way to fail or only one way to do it right. No two people do it the same way. Some techniques that work for one may have a totally different outcome for another. It is all about growth and being a better person for yourself. When trying out something new, it’s easy to want to start right away and get things rolling. You want that perfect skin care routine or “planner peace” as soon as you get your first notebook. But it does take time to find out what’s right for you. It requires patience. It requires gentleness and kindness towards yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you try out something that isn’t totally for you, and you start all over again. I, in fact, still research different self-care strategies as I change and grow in my adult years (how can I find more time to sleep? those three kids :). Think of self-care and Bullet Journaling as a journey rather than something to accomplish. You’ll pick up skills, tools, and lessons along the way that will help you to make your life’s path easier. So, what new self care pages are you going to try in your Bullet Journal today? Or are you up to the challenge of creating an entire self care bullet journal? Could one area, or all eight areas, of self care use some attention? Track it, record it, and reflect on it. You deserve to be a priority in your own bullet journal.
About the Author:
Tracy Halliday is a wife and mother of 3 beautiful children. During her “me time” sessions, she likes to read a good novel, go for walks around town, and write in her journal. She is currently documenting her path to a better self on Instagram as @selfcarejournalist.
When I decided to integrate digital planning into my system, I really tried to reduce as much overlap as possible between my iCalendar and my bullet journal. My goal was to use these two tools together, as a team, so I could optimize on their individual strengths.