The last two times I went on vacation I completely ignored my mental health. It’s just so easy to do on vacation because you’re always distracted from it. But, if you’re anything like me, anytime you ignore your depression it comes back the second you settle down and it comes back hard as fuck. I fell into some serious depressive episodes after getting back from my last two trips.
That being said, I’ve come up with a way to hopefully prevent my depression from coming back and leaving me in a depressive episode. I can’t promise this will work, but I’ll give it a shot. Another factors that might add to this is the likelihood I’ll be on new medication right before my trip. We’ll see what happens.
I absolutely love Mental Health Bullet Journals. I don’t do them as often as I should because I absolutely hate setting them up. There’s so much detail that goes into them, especially the pretty ones you see all the time online. Mine is a bit different from those, a lot more simple. But, feel free to add your own personal touches. These bullet journals help with keeping you aware of your progress and are really great if you’re a busy person. I’m not normally, so it’s pretty simple for me to keep track of how I’m feeling without one. That’s why I’ve created it specifically for my travel when I will be busier than normal. However, these journals are great to use on an every day basis.
How To Set Up A Simple Bullet Journal
To keep it as simple as possible, I grabbed just a lined notebook, a ruler, and my favorite type of pen. You can add colored pens, use pencil before going over it with pen, use highlighters, whatever your heart desires. I’ve even seen people use decorative tape to add some color.
I’ve used this notebook before for some mental health tracking. So, to keep things organized I create a page with the month on it. I also like to add a little quote to the page.
These pages help keep you aware of what habits you’re doing. They also help remind you and keep you accountable for the things you need to be doing. I also like to use it for keeping track of my moods. You can personalize this to fit your needs but here are mine:
- Medication #1
- Spaces to add, just in case
- Hours of sleep
- Minutes exercising
- Minutes napping
- Servings of coffee
- Marijuana (sometimes I smoke, very rarely though)
- Servings of alcohol
- Packs of cigarettes smoked
- Minutes with friends
- Sex (always a good thing to keep track of)
- Washed face
Sometimes, you need to add a little note to remind you of why you felt a certain way or why you did or didn’t do something. If I’m on a new medication, I usually add the amount that I took. Sometimes I add little things about the day that had an impact like, didn’t do a damn thing until noon.
This is a more positive way of keeping track of what you’ve accomplished during the day. Sure, to do lists are great and the feeling of checking something off is awesome, but what happens when you don’t do a damn thing on that list? Add what you did to the Daily Done List. No matter how small, you had to have done something. You can add, got out of bed, drank coffee, filled out this journal. Be sure to add what you did do on your to do list as well.
My favorite way of remaining grateful is to write down a list of 10 things I’m grateful for. But, sometimes I don’t do it. Okay, a lot of the time. So, at least picking one thing a day will help. Or you can add a list daily, whatever you like. This is a great way to remind you to look at the positives, and super easy if you’re busy.
I know this is supposed to be for travel, but I’m starting this journal leading up to my vacation and I have therapy appointments before I leave. It’s always great to write down what you’ve talked about or what you need to talk about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten everything I was supposed to do for therapy homework.
We all get angry sometimes. It’s good to have a place to vent. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t spend too long dwelling on the bad. Devote only two pages to this.
This one can seem a bit too detailed, but your health is directly dependent on what you eat, or don’t eat. It can help to figure out what foods are causing you to feel a certain way, and if you look back at all the junk food you ate you might feel motivated to change that bad habit.
I get a lot of ideas, some seem so great that it feels super urgent and I have to do them all at once, perfectly. When those ideas come up, it’s good to write them down and revisit them at a later time to see if they still hold their importance. Also, little ideas like home improvements that you don’t want to forget.
This one is new to me, something I added for just the trip but it’d be good for daily use as well. Just write down anything that stuck out to you during the day, it’d be nice to look back on.
Ever go on a date and want to keep the concert ticket? Just stick little papers like that in between the pages. It’s always great to look back on those. If you want, create a little pocket for them.
Bring It To Life
Plan some time each day to fill this out. I like making a space in there so I can fill out my habits Morning and night. Because, a lot of those habits happen twice during a day or your mood may change.
Carry It With You
Carry it with you to put the little papers in, to update your food tracker, or whatever little things you want to write down during the day. You don’t have to do this, but it’s easy to do during little moments of down time.
Do It Daily
The whole point of this is to do it daily, it won’t really work otherwise.
Review It Daily
Look back over the days and see the patterns that happen. What causes you to feel a certain way? Find out by looking back each day.