In my first post about managing anxiety in my bullet journal, I outlined some collections and ideas that have helped me start my journey living with symptoms of anxiety, and I’ve added a few more. These ideas have helped me, and I’m sharing them in case they might help you – or in case you have ideas to share too.
This has not been an awesome thing – some days it’s really great and I’m moving forward, and other days I feel like I’m sliding “backwards” and I’m working on letting go of that judgment of self and what progress looks like. I have such awesome friends and a supportive therapist, and I am lucky for that. I hope you all have someone you can lean on when you start spinning or feeling, too.
So many of you emailed me personally in support and I am incredibly grateful – I am working on responding to all of the emails but know that I have read every single one and it is humbling to remember over and over we are NOT alone. Thank you.
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In my weekly, I use the running weekly task log inspired by @BlueLahe. It’s helpful because it allows me to put tasks under the certain days as well as create daily habits. So I have added a set of habit trackers for my medication – it’s an easy way to minimize re-writing the task everyday.
Featuring: Tombow TwinTone pens, Tombow monoline pens, A5 Leuchtturm dot grid
I have several friends who teach yoga, and one of them told me about a mudra that means an unwavering confidence in self – represented by a thunderbolt. So when I am struck by feelings of anxiety I want to log what happened that got me through the moment, marked by a thunderbolt signifier. I think it’s important not only to acknowledge the anxiousness, but to also draw attention to how we make it through – mostly so I can remind myself that I have been resilient and will do it again.
The next few spreads I am sharing an outline, a header – because although I share quite a bit with y’all, I do like to keep some things just for myself. Hopefully you can still get a sense of how the pages might work for me, and tailor to work for you!
For the moments I’m able to sit down and process, when I’m spinning and can’t get out, I fill out my Moment Log/Journal. I describe the situation that I’m in, the spark of my thoughts, or whatever I’m spinning in. This helps me just get all the shit out of my mind and onto the paper, focusing on the act of writing and getting my feelings out rather than spending a lot of energy trying to hold it in.
I draw an arrow to connect the scenario to the thoughts and feelings it causes in me. For example, a comment might spark a spinning cycle around feelings of inadequacy at work, feeling too messy or “broken” or a burden on those close to me, feeling like I can’t measure up to some other anonymous person, etc. Identifying the root of the cause.
Then, using that thunderbolt again, I can try to draw on counter-evidence of that root cause, or perhaps why that’s not the case. Or, I can write down the I did to distract myself from the moment. (Because we all know we can’t reason with anxiety)
Finally, I have these two pages. When I talked with a coach, she talked about how she manages anxiety by always focusing on facts over feelings. That is definitely a root of my anxious thoughts – that I get swept up in feelings instead of the things people have told me to be true. I will take things that are said, or NOT said, and tell myself stories about what that person meant, or what it says about me – and they are not necessarily real or true.
So, whenever I get a good feeling, an affirmation or message, or feel good about something I did or experienced, I write it down. I also have this in my phone because I want access to it at all times, and I don’t always have my bullet journal with me. When the feeling starts to creep in, I pull this out and read it through proactively to quell the feeling. It doesn’t always work, but it takes the edge off sometimes and helps bring me down.
The Happy Log is something I want to do more. Sometimes we do so much that it blends together or I don’t pause enough to distinguish the things that are really making me happy – so trying to identify explicitly if it’s certain people, certain activities, a time of day, a place. That way I can make more intentional choices about how to design my time to do these things more.
These are some of the things that I’m trying and have been helping – and I am so thankful for all of your support. This is part of why I haven’t blogged as often in the last half year – so I am also thankful for your grace. Thank you for reminding all of us we are NOT alone on these journeys – if you have other ideas or comments, please comment below or feel free to drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. XOXO