This blog is no stranger to the idea of mental health, and it has always been something I care about – it affects so many people and I’ve been glad to see that it’s being talked about more and more. My blog hasn’t really been as much about giving people 1908343 ideas for bullet journaling, but rather sharing what I have been doing and what works for me. With finding out recently I’ve been living with anxiety for a long time, I will share about how I’m turning to my bullet journal to help manage my mental health and anxiety.
First, I had to really come to the realization that what I was feeling was anxiety. That for a long time I felt these feelings but called them by different names – and somehow it clicked for me one day that these feelings my friends had been feeling, I also felt. So I started by identifying it.
By identifying how it felt in my body, I could communicate it to other people who could also identify it. As no surprise to anyone, I felt like suddenly I wasn’t so strange, so crazy, that someone knew about the war that was waging in my head.
For me, this helps personify Anxiety. I have friends who feel differently about this – whether to consider the Anxiety absolutely part of you or if it can be separate. For me, right now, I’m finding it helpful to acknowledge that anxiety is part of me but is a separate acting force. To me, it feels like anxiety is a lens that colors the way I interpret what’s going on, which results in some of the irrational spinning thoughts that aren’t based on facts. By having some separation from Anxiety I feel like I can say hello to it, acknowledge it, and then tell it to stop driving.
Supplies used: A5 dot grid Leuchtturm, Smart Craft fine liner brush pens from Michael’s
I’m a very action oriented person – it helps balance out my very deep-thinking and reflective nature. This page is dedicated to the things I’ve done in the past to curb my “overthinking” and “meta-analysis” modes. A lot of these things have just helped me get out of my head and into my physical body. Since I think SO MUCH I have to actively distract and divert my attention away from my plans and memories, and focus on what is happening around me.
I am just starting the journey of figuring out what really works for me in my body – just like how we figure out what works for our bullet journals, I’m going to experience a lot of trial and error to find my go-to strategies. If you’ve seen my Bullet Journal Evolution Video, you’ll know this might take me a while!
Quickly, there were things I figured out didn’t work for me but others swear by them – one of them being mantras. So perhaps they work when I write it out in calm mind – but I have found that often, it actually makes it worse (read: I cried even harder instead of calming down). My hypothesis is that saying a mantra could have reiterated what I was not rather than what I am. If I need to say I’m okay, that must mean I’m not. See? Learning all the time.
Supplies used: Inkjoy Gel Pens
The page I’ve found most helpful is this one. Since anxiety is mostly in anticipation of a bad outcome, and we can’t prepare for every bad outcome, the only thing I can really focus on is the belief that I will be OKAY no matter what happens. This is something I feel more strongly in my career life (which is why I don’t really invest in 5 year plans), but have a harder time with my personal and relational life.
This page reminds me of all the reasons why I will be okay, and how I have already proven to be resilient. The crux of my anxiety is believing that I am inherently worthy of love and belonging – just by being, rather than performing or doing anything to earn that love. The balance of being and doing is so challenging in the US, so this is a hard thing to believe. So, we practice.
I’ll be clear – I am early in my journey here. SO many others have been living with anxiety, named, for a long time and have been managing it in their own ways. This journey will evolve and I’m excited to see where we go with it – I hope you’ll join me.
In upcoming parts I hope to create collections around books to read and songs for a playlist that will shake up my anxious thought patterns.
I’d love to hear what you have done that works for you – maybe we can help each other? 🙂 Share below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org