Life

Good Fridays – Bullet Journaling

I said a couple of entries ago that I should dedicate a post a week on something good in my life. Doesn’t have to be an event, could just be a great cup of coffee or a good book I’m reading. It’ll balance out all of my doom-and-gloom writings, and might actually cheer myself up as well. In more blogg-y terms I suppose it would be one of those “thankful for the little things” posts, all inspirational like. Well, I don’t think I’m great at waxing poetic about hopeful feelings, but I can write about what makes me happy. So, without further ado, let me introduce you all to the first of hopefully many, “Good Fridays.”

Today’s topic is, like the title says, the art of bullet journaling. In case you haven’t heard of it, bullet journaling is a method of jounaling that’s a hybrid of a diary, planner, to-do list, scrapbook, art project, and whatever else you want or need it to be to keep your life on track. Here is its official website, which goes into much better detail. (There’s also a book but I think the website and a good thorough Google search would suffice.) It may seem intimidating at first, but trust me, I started on that exact same page, with just a plain notebook and single blue pen, and now it has blossomed into a dedicated notebook with thick paperstock and a full arsenal of stickers, washi tape, color pencils, micron pens, and you name it. I follow Amanda Rach Lee and Jenny Journals for tips and ideas, along with Emberlinmoon, although she uses hers more as a diary to record the past than a planner for the future. There are tons of content out there for bullet journaling that you definitely won’t be lacking in inspiration.

Aside from just a joy to create, my bullet journal has become a major part of my life. I keep it right on my desk, where as I sit down to start my workday it’s the first thing within reach. I’ve always been a planner – not obsessively, but if I don’t have a general idea of what’s going on I get anxious. I also have a terrible memory (I’m only in my mid-thirties! I dread the decades to come.) so putting all of my appointments in one place is crucial. At the start of my day I write down every single thing I need to do. There’s just something about seeing all the tasks neatly laid out that makes them feel more doable. Even if some things still don’t get done at the end of the day, I still know that the chance of it being done increases dramatically if it’s recorded in my bullet journal than not. There were days where I didn’t feel like doing anything, but forced myself to sit down and open the page, and somehow the goals feels just a little bit closer, a little bit more possible, and that’s really all I can ask for.

I am no artist, however. I watch all these channels with people whose ‘doodles’ look amazing and I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler. So I rely heavily on stickers and washi tapes to decorate all my pages. I get most of my supplies from China and our local Japanese markets, and it kind of ballooned into a massive collection, I had to go by a shelf container for them. My go-to notebooks are the large dot-grids from nuuna. The size is perfect, and the paper is heavy enough that my pens don’t bleed through. I make my spreads on the last week of every month. I’d put on some music, maybe a podcast, and then just let myself relax and draw/tape/write for the next hour or two. It’s became a ritual in itself. Instead of taking a bath or getting a massage I just bullet journal haha. If you feel like this might help you I highly recommend at least try it for a month or two. I don’t really remember exactly when I started this – a couple of years ago, perhaps, but I’m sure I’ll be doing this for a very long time to come.

Life · Work

Social Media Is Bad For Me, Apparently

Well, I went to another session with my therapist and told him that, yes, I am keeping a journal, but no, I haven’t worked a lick. Yeah…remember I said I would really, really try to work these past few days? Tried and failed like no tomorrow. I told him this, and we went over all kinds of why’s and how’s and what now’s. So he set some new rules to try this week. One, do some kind of relaxation exercise for 20-30 minutes first thing when I wake up. Two, no checking any news/social media before five pm. And three, keep on journaling, of course.

So apparently what I’ve been doing the past few days was obsessively going on reddit and other news sites to check on the coronavirus situation, because right now California (and a lot of other states, but since I live in Cali it impacts me the most) are surging like mad in cases. It’s making me anxious, but I can’t stop myself from looking up discussions and other slightly alarmist news articles about it, and it went on for hours every day. As a result I get too jittery to concentrate on any creative work. So the doctor’s solution is to just ban myself from social media for the majority of the day. I may have to adjust his ‘no news before five’ stance to something like ‘no news until after dinner’, because I usually start working around 2 or 3 and 5 is way too early. But the point is the same. I wish there’s an easy-to-use site-blocker on Opera, but maybe it’s a test of character or something if I just force myself to not type in the address. I don’t know, let’s give it a week before I feel like I need to install something to do the job for me because I just can’t help myself.

He also said that I might be journaling the wrong way. I told him that writing things down in a journal doesn’t seem to help me much. I mean it helps me in that I no longer am bottling things up and am seeing things up front, and that’s good, but I feel like he’s expecting some kind of catharsis just from that process or something and I’m just like, uh, no? But he did say that maybe instead of me diving deep down I kind of just circle the same point over and over and that’s actually making me more anxious because I get stuck. Maybe. I am noticing, as of right now, even, that when I write my mind keeps on wandering to other, usually stressful things. (Did I take my medication? Garbage needs to be taken out today. I want to use this app but it’s a subscription but it might be helpful but it cost money which I don’t have! Etc. Etc.) And then I stop and try to do something else to alleviate the stress all these other thoughts brought me, which, you guessed it, most of the time is going on to social media, which then brings on more stress and oh my god it just never ends! I’m not sure what to do with that. Well, guess we have the topic for the next session, huh? In the meantime I’ll just have to, again, force myself to concentrate and not get distracted. Really makes one see the appeal of Addreall, but, you know, that’s not healthy for you either.

Life

Mental Health Journaling

So…I disappeared again. Had a small bout of depression where I lost all will to do anything. Couldn’t get out of bed, didn’t want to do anything that I used to enjoy, did no work, all that normal depression stuff. I blame Covid and the quarantine, of course, because so many people are going through the same thing as I am, I’m sure. I also tried to schedule an appointment with my psychologist and he was all booked up for weeks. Finally got through and had a chat (telehealth, perfectly safe) last week. By then I was slowly on the upswing, playing some of the video games I gave up during the worst of it, slowly slowly trying to get back to work. So I just basically talked to him about the process and everything, and he said, keep a journal. I asked what for? He said just, whenever you try to work, and then got anxious or whatever and stopped working, write down what you feel when you did. Just keep track of it, and we’ll talk about the next time.

Well, “the next time” is in two days. And I have done ZERO work. Yep. Just the fact he said I need to work and then keep a journal kept me anxious for two days and didn’t do anything. And the weekend I actually was busy, although the good news is that I am slowly coming back lifestyle-wise. (You know, take regular showers, get out of bed, clean the house, etc.) But I’ve decided that today, finally, I’m going to take his advice and do what he asked, which is keep a journal while working. I don’t think he necessarily mean a public blog about it, but I find this…strangely compelling? Like me spilling my guts to the Internet is somehow more therapeutic than me writing everything down on paper and lock it away. So that’s what I will do. Sorry that I keep on writing such glum things. I will actually try to branch out on my posts in topics, because it’s no fun reading all these during such global unrest.

Speaking of that, I think I’m going to try to have a weekly good things post. Something like “Good Friday” every Friday, where I talk about happy things that happened, or things I’m looking forward to, and the like. Might be small and inconsequential things like ‘oh, I bought this awesome nail polish and I can’t stop staring at my hands’ or ‘oh I finally started that book that I heard about and it’s absolutely amazing’. I think I’ll start this week, along with getting back to “Friday Fictioneers” (which I ironically never post on Friday, it seems). So there’s more diverse content than just me getting through mental and physical health crises one after another. Folks, take care of y’allselves.