Good morning everyone!
I had a chat with a friend last night about some of the changes I’ve made for the better this year. Since March, I’ve been changing up quite a few things about my life. Earlier, I wrote about my delve into a Bullet Journal. I have blogged about my Bullet Journal for Mental Health and was asked a few questions about it so I thought I might share it here.
This year, I decided to change a few things in my life:
· Getting fit and going to the gym
· Eat clean and drink water
· Creative and/or non-fiction writing/blogging
· Studying German
· Getting enough sleep every night
· Tracking my mood
This is based on the five good mental health principles:
· Exercising regularly
· Eating well
· Sleeping well
· Doing what makes you happy
· Drinking plenty of water
In our daily lives, we are overwhelmed with so many things – events, things to do, emotional fluctuations, friends, everything. There’s a lot to do and a lot to think about. Think of your mind as being a room and every day you are bringing home five different items. Without sorting and placing things thoughtfully, the room will become messy and cluttered, and things will slowly become lost or forgotten. For most of us, messiness results in a level of stress. As a person with the horrid tendency to overthink things and do a lot in my 24 hours, a Bullet Journal has alleviated the need for me to clutter up my mind – it sorts everything and keeps things neat, and lowers my stress levels immensely.
That’s when I started keeping a habit tracker. Small goals, without accountability, become easily forgotten. Not many people seem to understand it, but good mental health all comes down to the small things – the five good mental health principles. I started my habit tracker to ensure that I could keep on top of my mental health. What I experienced was freedom.
I was reflecting with my PT last night on progress. When I started doing Romanian deadlifts with him three months ago, I started at 20kg, and got out of breath and fatigued very quickly after 1 rep. Last night, we went at it again, and I lifted 32.5kg and (if I wasn’t sick and sniffily) I could have done more. But that progress has come from going to the gym every single day for the last 25 days (my tracker goes back into May). When I look at my tracker, I can see this, and I can see that hard work pays off, and that I am getting a step closer to what I want to see every single day. My going to the gym everyday satisfies one of the 5 key principles of good mental health.
The second development I made was doing what makes me happy. There are two things I utterly love: writing, and the German language. This year, I made a conscious decision to dedicate at least 20 minutes of my day to doing these two things. The satisfaction for me is that I purposely upgraded my iPhone to a 7 Plus, so I can write whilst on-the-go. Now that Scrivener is integrated over desktop-tablet-smartphone, as is WordPress, I can work on my writing wherever, however. When I’m standing at the train station, or walking to work, I can tuck in a bit of what I love doing whenever I have a moment. The same goes with German. I have two methods of practicing my German on-the-go: Duolingo and Coffee Break German (podcast). Squeezing in a little German everyday has helped me when I listen to German music and radio, and when I watch German TV and movies – it continuously expands my vocabulary (my absolute weakness), whilst helping me to learn new things. This way, I get to keep on top of the things I love, and I get to do what makes me happy. You might notice that the days that I do the things I love are the days I haven’t felt so tip-top – doing these things has kept me afloat, and on top of my depression.
You owe it to yourself to keep yourself healthy and in good mental health. A habit tracker has helped me do this, and I would recommend it to everyone who wants to start their journey to self-improvement. At first, you will have a lot of little crosses / blank spaces / however you choose to do it, but you will be able to see your progress. Some people track their drinking. Others track their spending. My mental health is what I care about the most in my self-development right now.
Let me know if you’ve got questions! I am always happy to share other elements of my Bullet Journal if you’re interested