I first started using a bullet journal for self care around this time last year. Check out my older post here all about how I was using a bullet journal to support my health and wellbeing. I ended up falling out of love with bullet journalling when I got fed up of my messy handwriting, my lack of journal creativity (just check out Pinterest for some enviable bullet journal creative flair) and not quite being able to grasp everything I wanted it to.
But what is bullet journalling to begin with? It’s a system that was created several years ago to organise your life, and since that first incarnation of bullet journalling, people have become incredibly creative with it, not only in the things they use their bullet journals for, but also in the design. To get started take a look at Boho Berry’s Bullet Journal 101 series of posts.
We covered bullet journalling as a theme in The Balance Club a few months ago and revisiting it that way really made me interested in getting back to it. I had been using my Desire Map planner since the start of the year but found I just wasn’t able to use it the way I wanted to. The beauty of Bullet Journals is that they are completely bespoke to you – but that can also be their flaw, it can feel very intimidating to try and get started with one.
I think that’s the reason I’m only now just starting to get a handle on mine after playing around with lots of different styles of journalling. Having been inspired by a range of different things I’ve come across recently, including worksheets on money mindset, my own work on mindset, working with your cyclical nature and including a few woo elements, I’ve come up with my own bullet journal system.
Now I call this a minimal bullet journal because I’m not going crazy with the design. I found that was a huge block for me and I just needed to embrace it being a bit basic and sometimes messy! I’ve also opted for a large A4 size notebook that’s ring-bound with hardback outer pages. One of the things I loved about the Desire Map planner is the larger size and ring-bound pages so that I can have it completely opened up on one page. I bought this one from Paperchase, i.e. the home of stationery porn.
Before I started this fresh journal I mapped out my daily, monthly and moon (more on this in a sec) layouts. I also played around with some simple but stylish headings that I could use but that weren’t too much of a faff.
Here’s my daily spread:
I’m setting up my day with some positive thoughts, checking in with my bank balances (a good money monitoring technique), writing out some affirmations and then journalling a little bit about my goals and dreams and what I’d like to call in. Then each day I pull a tarot card – I’m doing this as a way for me to get to know the cards and to use them for a bit of a self reflection practice. In the top corner I also have some symbols for my cycle and the moon cycle phases. I do this page in the morning and it takes me about 5-10 minutes.
On the second page I have my evidence or positive aspects area, basically to list out the positive things I’ve done or the evidence I’ve seen to show me my goals and dreams are on their way, and to keep my mind focusing on the good stuff. I also have an area to jot down anything I’ve received that day – as a business owner this can be helpful in keeping me focused on what income I have coming in. Then I have an area for gratitude, and area for a food and movement diary (which is helpful for me just now, see below) and finally a reminder to head back to my habit tracker in the monthly spread and check off how I’ve done that day. I do that page on an evening and again it only takes 5-10 minutes.
Here’s my weekly spread:
This is a single double page where I get super clear on what I have going on that week and what I’d like to accomplish. I also journal out where I am in my cycle, where the moon is in its cycle, how I want to feel that week (tapping into my Core Desired Feelings from the Desire Map process) and my top three must do-tasks. I also pull a basic three card tarot spread for the week. This takes me an extra 5 minutes to do on a Monday morning.
My monthly spread:
This runs into several pages but basically I have my reflection on the month that’s just gone, my planning for the month ahead, my reflections on my annual goals and Core Desired Feelings (basically the questions copied out of the Desire Map planner) and then my habit tracker and a wish list for the month. I LOVE the ritual of sitting down once a month to do this.
Finally, on the new moon and the full moon I get my tarot on! I use a spread from the New Age Hipster and write out what comes up from that. I also write my list of what I’m calling in for the new moon and what I’m releasing at the full moon – I also rewrite those lists on loose paper and burn them.
What I’m not using it for:
Diary – I have Google Calendar for that and I also print off a month calendar spread and stick it up on my wall.
Daily to do list – I find using a separate to do list pad much easier.
I call all of this sacred self care, because that’s really a great umbrella term for it. Doing this simple practice keeps me feeling steady in life, it gives me perspective, it makes sure the important elements of self care don’t slide because ultimately those are the things that turn what could be an average day into an amazing soul nourishing day. I started tracking my food and exercise because, as I’ve shared recently, this is an area I’d like to refocus on and keeping a track on them in that way brings in some intention to both of those areas.
In fact, that’s what bullet journalling helps me with – intention. Even if the only thing I have to be ‘intent’ about is doing the bloody journal, I know that some benefits are going to come out of it. It’s way easier to just focus on doing the journal than it would be to have to think about doing gratitude and visualisation and affirmations and exercise and keeping a separate food diary for example.
Bullet journalling ties together many different threads of self care for me, making it in itself a sacred self care practice.
Have you come across a bullet journal and if so how do you use yours? Would you give something like this a try?