I don’t talk about my bullet journal that much on my blog, apart from sharing a few of my monthly setups. But I really want to start sharing more with you. I started my bullet journal in June 2018, the day I sat my last GCSE exam. I was not coping well that year and for a couple of years on too, but my bullet journal helped my mental health so much.

I’ve always been a creative person but wasn’t amazing at art or calligraphy writing. Thankfully I’ve gotten better, though you definitely don’t have to be artistic to start a bullet journal. There are so many amazing benefits to a bullet journal and I’m so lucky that one of them is that it helped improve my mental health so much.

Organization

It’s no secret that bullet journals are for organization. I’ve always been an organised person, with my daily to-do lists and highlighting or ticking them once I’ve completed a task. I can’t spend a day without a to-do list! It’s somewhere that I can plan out my whole life. I’m currently at the end of my 3rd bullet journal and I think the more I do it, the more I enjoy it.

I’ve made so many lists from camping equipment to bucket lists and things I want to achieve in my life!

Tracking my mental health

I’m going to tell you about one of my counselling sessions from back in 2018. I had an amazing counsellor, someone who I really trusted and felt like he understood and was on my side. I will say that looking back, my eating disorder had 100% control over me so I’m not sure this was entirely healthy. But that’s another thing.

So, before I tell you about the session and how it relates to my bullet journal, I’m going to have to give you some kind of context. I think this was in 2018, though it could have been the end of 2017. I would have been either 15 or 16, depending on exactly when it was. So back then, I had anorexia, depression & anxiety, I mean I still have depression & anxiety. But I’m pretty much recovered (refer to my previous post to see what I mean). I found it so hard to explain to people what I was going through and how I was feeling. And you might not understand reading this, in fact, I kind of hope you don’t because I don’t want any more people to go through it.

Basically, having anorexia, depression & anxiety is like having 3 other voices in your head. Then there’s me, however weak I was in comparison. So that’s 4 voices in one brain. Depending on how I would be feeling, the loudness of the voices would be different. Sadly my voice was always the silent or whispering one, the other three took over.

My counsellor would sometimes ask me how I was and it would get really complicated because a different voice would say something different. I tried to explain it to him and he understood, which was a massive relief! He would ask me which was the loudest and the order of them. It helped me so much that when I started my bullet journal, I decided to start a mental health tracker.

I wanted to know how they changed each day because honestly, I was just as confused myself. My memory was terrible so writing it down just made it a lot easier for me to remember.

I created a way to track all of this, and what better than my bullet journal. I drew 30 boxes and then colour coded the voices. Anorexia was grey, depression was dark blue, anxiety was red and turquoise was what I called ‘smart brain’ or later on ‘rational’.

This is what it looked like:

mental health bullet journal tracker

It was honestly such a help to see how my mental health changed over months and even years! I kept up this tracker for almost 2 years, basically until I would forget to do it. If you want to know the dates specifically, it was the middle of July 2018 – January 2020.

Trackers

Obviously, there’s my mental health tracker, but I do have lots of other trackers too. In the first year of bullet journaling, I tried to track my period but I kept forgetting to fill it in so I gave up with that pretty quickly. I also used to have a dream tracker, but mine are so vivid that I used up the paper too fast, as well as a sleep tracker but my sleep was too disturbed. But it was very effective because I went on sleeping pills when we realised just how awful my sleep schedule was!

At the start of the academic year (and because it was closest to June which is when I started), I start my yearly mood tracker. Mine is Inside Out themed, with the moods being Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. Once again it is something that I like to look back on and see what the most dominant colour was. It has been interesting to see the progress of my moods over the last 3 ish years.

Seeing the three-yearly mood trackers next to each other just makes me feel quite proud of myself and how much I’ve overcome in recent years. 2018-19 is mostly sadness, as well as fear with hardly any days of joy. 2019-20 is mostly fear and I think slightly more joy than sadness (bit gutted I didn’t finish that year 🤦‍♀️). 2020-21 is still going but it looks like joy is the most abundant, with sadness and fear probably the same. I’m happy with that!

Another yearly tracker I have is my book tracker! This is another one of my favourites and inspires me to read a bit more. Once I have finished a book, I write down the number (in the year), the title, my rating out of 5 stars and the date I finished the book.

bullet journal book tracker

As you can see, I find it hard not to give 4 or 5 stars!

Having a theme

When I first started, I just did random themes and they weren’t constant through the month. That kind of thing really stresses me out now, so I have one theme for the entire month. I thought it might be interesting to see how I layout my bujo and what I include every month.

I really like to plan ahead so I have actually decided on all my themes for the rest of 2021. One of my favourite things to do is buy a new washi tape each month. Some people collect stamps or football cards, I collect washi tapes! They are just so pretty and I love supporting small businesses on Etsy too. It’s a win-win situation. I won’t spend more than £3 on a washi tape – mainly because I buy lots and I am still a student… I normally have a theme idea in mind, then search for the washi tape and base the entire month and pages around the washi tape.

Cover page

You just have to have a cover page! Some of my favourites:

Monthly goals

I hate New Year’s resolutions, but something I love is monthly goals! They are so much easier to fulfil than a yearly resolution. These goals can be anything from my personal life, to uni or blogging. Practically every month, I set a number of books that I want to read. (I think the only yearly goal I set is my reading challenge on Goodreads which I completed a week or so ago! You can see it here).

bullet journal goals

Calendar

I only started having a calendar for the whole month in April. I think I just had so much on with assignments, meeting friends & Easter. I am so glad that I finally decided to include it, sometimes you just want to see further ahead than the week you are in!

June monthly calendar in bullet journal

Mood tracker

This is probably the one thing, apart from a cover page, that I have had every single month since starting. You might be wondering why I have a mood tracker when I also have a mental health tracker. But, they feel like two different things for me. The mood tracker is my overall mood, whereas the mental health tracker goes into a bit more detail. I have 5 different colours in every mood tracker. It goes from a smiley face to a meh face and then to a sad face, with 2 levels in between. Those colours used to be completely random but now I like to have a gradient or for the colours to be similar. Like blue to yellow with green in the middle. I find that it is easier to see how my mood has changed throughout the month that way.

Here are some of my favourites:

Everyday sparkles

I think I’ve spoken about this before on Instagram and maybe my blog too. But for anyone who is new or hasn’t read it, I’ll explain it again.

When I was really depressed, there wasn’t anything much in life I was looking forward to or could become happy about. I was just getting through the day, going to sleep and then repeating the whole thing. It was exhausting. I remember a friend asking me how I get through the days (she also had depression), I didn’t want her to give up like I was almost doing. So instead, I racked my brain. I told her to try and find one thing to look forward to each day. One tiny thing. For me, it was listening to the radio in the morning as I woke up. It was such a minuscule thing, but on the days where I didn’t have to be in college at 9 am, I could listen to the entire show. 6 am – 10 am, and yes I did wake up at 6.

After I told her to try and find something to look forward to in the day, I decided to properly start doing it for myself. So, I made it a page in my bullet journal. I like to write them ahead so I have something to look forward to, some days it’s just that we are having chard with dinner. And as little as that seems, I would never imagine looking forward to eating food so it’s actually a pretty massive thing for me!

Study

During term time, I track how many hours of studying I do per day.

Habits

Originally, I created a separate page for some of these but I’ve decided to combine them now.

First, there’s my headache tracker. I used to track the number of glasses of water I drank each day, but it never really improved or I couldn’t remember. I did want to keep tracking my headaches though, I’ve done it ever since I had a really bad migraine.

Next, there’s my reading tracker. I like to know which days I have managed to read something, even if it’s only a page or to – I’m actively trying to read more at the moment.

Then there’s my skincare tracker. I am so bad at looking after my skin, I am always forgetting. I really need to get better at that, and I’m normally fine in the summer because my moisturizer has SPF in it. Either way, I like to know which days I have successfully remembered.

I like to track when I have vitamins. Near my period, I take an iron tablet because I get really faint and when covid started I was taking a multivitamin to strengthen my immune system.

Now the next one is 100% not an eating disorder thing, even though it might seem to contradict my previous post. I have a walk tracker – when I say this, I don’t mean a really long walk. It could be literally just walking down the road. I was wondering whether there was a correlation between when I had bad IBS symptoms and when I did or didn’t go for a walk.

The final thing I track is flossing. I used to be a bit obsessed with flossing, but lately, I seem to have been too tired or whatever. I don’t want my teeth to go bad and keeping up your dental hygiene is super important so I keep a tracker for it now.

bullet journal habit tracker

Related post: Five-minute habits to change your life by That Mama Club

Monthly to-do list

I started including this page every month, in February. It was when my blog really came on and I needed to make sure I had completed tasks, as well as things I needed to do in my social life. I like having lots of lists and often keep blogging & my life separate, but I just needed some kind of overview.

bullet journal april to-do list

Weekly spread

I love creating my weekly spread. There’s a strip of the themed washi tape at the top. Then I try to write the day in calligraphy and have a checklist of the things I want to do that day. I genuinely don’t know what I would do without a daily list. Even if I’m on holiday, I just need one.

Monthly faves

I’ve had this in my monthly set-up for quite a while now and I just love it. Remember those YouTube videos we used to watch where people would film their monthly favourites. Some would be makeup etc. but others had the most random things in, like a pack of quavers. Those were the ones that I would enjoy. So, obviously, I created one! It is something I look forward to filling in at the end of the month.

bullet journal march monthly faves

So there we have it! How my bullet journal helped my mental health ✨

Do you keep a bullet journal?

Best wishes, Cx

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83 Comments

  1. This is amazing! I love the idea of bullet journals but need the structure of actual dates so I can forward plan and not miss things 😂 I think the mood tracker is such a good idea – it can be so helpful to see how many days are dominated by anxiety or depression!
    J E M M A ♡ | https://www.ohhjemma.com/

    1. Thank you xx

  2. Your bullet journal is so pretty! I would love to journal but I get annoyed when I mess something up, so I prefer online journals so that I can change things around easier. This looks amazing, thanks for sharing Caroline and I’m so glad it’s helped your mental health x

    1. I feel you, I always do it in pencil first but it can take a while. Thank you xx

  3. Amazing article. I specifically liked your mood tracker journal and it’s fun to notice that the faces were from the movie inside out.

    1. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for sharing – I have a mostly empty bullet journal, so I might start to use that soon (you’ve given me lots of ideas on what to fill it with)!

    1. Awh, great! xx

  5. I love your spreads, they’re really creative and cute. A little off topic but do you recommend Mildliners? I have seen them been used a few times and am toying with getting them for my bullet journal. Secondly, it’s great to see you finding ways that help you! Thank you for sharing, Em x

    1. Thank you, they are amazing – definitely recommend! x

  6. Wow. That looks like a lot of work. I am in awe! I don’t keep a bullet journal, maybe because it does look like a lot of work. I can see, though, how it would help your mental health.

    1. Haha, thank you!

  7. I absolutely love your bullet journals! They are beautiful. I think your mood tracker is a great idea. I love how the different colours represent how you feel through time. Very clever! I used to write in a diary when I was a teenager, up until my early 20s. Then it just became more and more sporadic. Now I haven’t written in it in over 18 months! I know I’ll go back to it though one day though.

    1. Thank you! 🥰 I used to write in a diary too x

  8. Utilizing a bullet journal to track mental health is such a great idea! I’ve not thought of doing that for my anxiety/depression but I can absolutely see how beneficial this can be. It will definitely help me identify any patterns or triggers/predictors and this could make things a bit more manageable. Thanks for sharing your journey with this — it’s so helpful.

    1. Thank you, I’m glad it’s useful x

  9. I love bullet journaling too, a great way for me to track my habits and reading each week or month. Loving your spreads, some wonderful colour combos!

    1. Thank you 💕

  10. This has been so lovely to read. I love a bullet journal tutorial, I find the tiktok videos so soothing and therapeutic. I’ve recently started a journal but nothing as amazing as a bullet, just somewhere I can write letters and get my thoughts ans feelings down on paper!
    Rosie

    1. Thank you Rosie x

  11. I’ve always wanted to start journaling in any way, but I’m so useless when it comes to that sort of thing, because I use it for like 2 weeks and then give up! Yours looks so organised, and I’m so glad that it’s helped you manage your mental health!

    Jared x

    1. Aw, I think a lot of people relate! Thank you

  12. I lvoe how you have used your journal! When i used to bullet journal i used it for tracking certain things. I really need to get back into it!

    1. Thank you xx

  13. I’m the same! It really helps me to track my water intake too & my mental health!

  14. This is clearly a great way to track everything. You have a lovely bullet journal and I can see how useful it must be.

    1. Thank you Jamie 🙂

  15. Mind Beauty Simplicity says:

    love your bullet journal! you add a nice creative flair to the pages 🙂 I know from personal experience when I write things down, I can articulate my thoughts & feelings a lot easier. I like how creatively depicted your emotions through drawings. This is a such a fun way to track your mental health.

    1. Thank you 💖

  16. Love all the pictures and am so glad it helped you so much! I used to have one too and track my moods and really helped. Maybe will try again and use the cat-themed one! x

    1. Thank you 💗

  17. I love the hard work you have put into your bullet journal! I can definitely see why it has helped you with your mental health, I think it’s good to have something to focus on when it comes to helping mental health x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    1. Thank you xx

  18. I don’t have a bullet journal but I love seeing how it works for you! You are so creative! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you <3

  19. I love the detail in your post, and it has made me want to dig out my bullet journal, which I started several years ago. I had forgotten all about it. I’ve always kept up journaling, but you’ve inspired me to be more creative with it again, so I’m going to go through my old one and get myself a new one too.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story! I do have a bullet journal but I tend to track everything through my phone. When I’m feeling creative I’ll draw in my bullet journal. I love how there are so many styles and designs you can create in your journal, but I do agree, it can be quite difficult to come up with new themes for each page. I’m happy that keeping a bullet journal has helped you a lot. Wonderful post!

    1. Me too! x

  21. Oh wow I love your mood trackers! I have no idea how you keep this up as I’ve always been rubbish at stuff like this!

    Corinne x

    1. Thank you, it does take a bit of time but I love it! x

  22. Hi, Caroline. Thanks for sharing your experience with bullet journaling and your mental health. I use to bullet journal and it was fun for a while but then I gave up. Probably because I was trying to be too artistic with it. But watching your BUJO and how it helped you makes me want to start back again.

    1. I’m glad it was useful! Thank you x

  23. Really great and creative way to keep track of your mental health and emotions! I had never seen something like this before. I totally understand how they were helpful to you. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you! 💗

  24. Oh my goodness, I adore your bullet journals! You’ve really tempted me into re-attempting one 🙂💚

    1. Thank you! x

  25. I’ve always wanted to start a bullet journal but since I’m not creative, I’ve detoured away from it. I do keep a regular diary/journal but you’ve inspired me to try a bullet journal again.

    1. Aw, I’m glad! x

  26. I’m really glad bullet journalling has helped you a lot!! Yours is so cute and I really should get into doing one x

    1. Thank you 💗💗

  27. Your bullet journals are so creative looking! It’s fantastic you’re able to see all your progress over the past few years. I’ve never tried bullet journals but looking at yours inspires me to do so 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thank you! xx

  28. I have only ever used bullet journals as a study planner and the ideas you provided to use mental health trackers sounds really useful!

    1. Thank you! x

  29. Your bullet journal is stunning. I tried to get into bullet journaling and it didn’t work for me, but I am so glad it worked for you and has improved your mental health.

    1. Thank you xx

  30. This looks incredible and you have such a creative eye for designing the pages! It’s wonderful that you have this as a way to help track your mental health and other health/habit items to help you be aware of how things are going (which is oh so powerful!!). Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thank you! xx

  31. Wow! I love bullet journals and yours is so cute. I have been wanting to make a post about my bullet journal and seeing this has just made my motivation skyrocket. I agree that bullet journaling helps mental health. The benefits of bullet journaling can never be overemphasized. My favorite page is mood tracker page. It’s so important to be able to track my mood. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Ruth!

  32. I love bullet journals but haven’t updated mine recently. I think they can be such a benefit to our overall wellbeing. I really enjoyed reading about the things you choose to include in yours.

    1. So true x

  33. Your bujo is so cute! I also utilise a bullet journal and it’s so helpful for tracking things like moods and whether I’m meeting my health goals 🙂 Glad it also works for you!

    1. Agreed, thank you x

  34. I’m so glad to hear bullet journaling helped your mental health so much! I don’t bullet journal myself but this year I’ve started just generally journaling and getting my feelings down into a notebook and it’s been super beneficial!

    1. Thank you, journalling has helped me lots too 🙂 x

  35. That’s awesome! Journaling daily has been a big part of improving my day-to-day mental health and I always have my journal on me

    1. Thank you, me too x

  36. Had to comment again since it disappeared while not finishing filling everything underneath. This bullet journaling is really an eyeopener for myself and awesome idea to keep track of your habits and goals I’m just afraid or screwing everything up since I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to notebooks and journaling in general. Really brave of you to share with us your readers and followers about you health conditions also made me realize we all have things to work on. I really hope and wish you can get through this depression and anxiety or at least a way to cope with both.

    Much love x
    C ☕️

    1. I totally relate as I’m a perfectionist too! I normally do it all in pencil first & measure. Thank you x

  37. […] addressing my overriding thoughts and feelings, as often happens in times of stress, when my mental health is taking a battering. I reminded myself that there was so much in my life for which to be […]

  38. Love this! I keep on meaning to start a bullet journal but keep putting it off, and this has given me so many ideas for when I finally get around to it! I love the idea of the mood tracker, the books and the monthly spreads in particular. Thanks for sharing x

    1. Aw yay, I’m glad it was useful x

  39. I tried bullet journaling, but I kinda faded away from it in April. I’m having trouble with journaling in general, though I really want to journal. Anyway, this post was so informative I’m so glad you shared your thoughts and experiences with your mental health and journaling.

    1. Thank you x

  40. First all, I’m so sorry that at the young age, you already faced some issues.
    Glad to here that you’re okay now!
    And..
    Oh! It makes me want to come back to bullet journaling again! I started with simple journal,
    when I moved here in Korea 2005, it’s just normal diary with drawings and doodles in it- my way
    of coping with different “world”.
    And 2011, I shifted to bullet journaling, but life got busy after few years of doing it =(

    I agree with you, bullet journaling helps.

    1. Thank you x

  41. I love how you arranged your bujo! I always say I’m going to start one but I never do. There’s just not enough time in the world haha but I love seeing other people’s designs! I’m glad that this helped you so much with your mental health. Thanks for sharing x

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    1. Thank you x

  42. Love this post. I have been thinking about bullet journaling for a while now. I have recently started journaling. After reading this post, I have some ideas on what I can include in my journal. I hope to start one in the near future. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you x

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