How to Use a Bullet Journal to Manage Your Psoriatic Arthritis
Perhaps you have been living under a rock (like me) and haven’t heard of bullet journaling. Yes, it’s a thing! No, it doesn’t involve bullets, or even actual journaling if you don’t want it to. What bullet journaling is a unique way to hold the little pieces of your life together.
You know the ones I’m talking about - those little parts of your life that are the first to fly right out of your brain the moment your brain fog rears its ugly head.
One of the cool things about bullet journaling is that it can be as unique. It can be creative and whimsical or very structured and detail-oriented. Or sometimes both!
When it comes to psoriatic arthritis, keeping a bullet journal can help you manage life with your disease much easier. Plus, it is a great tool to take to your doctor that tracks your disease progression and other symptoms.
Let the journaling begin!
So grab a journal and let’s get started. Hint: it is a book filled with those little dot grids that you can find almost anywhere these days, likely in the aisle where you can find the notebooks and other stationery items or online of course!
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I do recommend that you get a pretty sturdy one, especially if you plan to take it everywhere with you (like I do). So what do we track in our journal?
All things psoriatic arthritis
First off, decide all the things you want to keep track of. For example, I keep track of my appointments (obviously). But I also keep daily track of my symptoms, sleep habits, medications, and so on. List everything that you think you might want to monitor, don’t forget, you can also track your mood, pain levels, periods, or pretty much anything. The sky's the limit!
The next step is to decide how often you want to track the items you listed in the first step. Think logically here. Would it be most beneficial to track things daily, weekly, or monthly? If you find multiple answers to that question, then look at all the things and how often you will need to track them.
If you plan to journal often, then you should use at least one page for each day and use a daily layout. Or, if you only have time to journal a few times a week, start with tracking a few things and use a weekly layout.
Write down the extra stuff
Perhaps you want to write down some other things like Netflix shows you want to binge or amazing books you want to read. Think about adding pages for those things as well. These are things that you don’t necessarily want to track daily or weekly, but you still want to have all those thoughts in one place where you can easily find it.
I know some people who like to have the outline of a body so they can pinpoint the places that hurt and heal over time. Others like to leave plenty of room for journaling, therapy notes, lettering, drawing, or even coloring.
Set up your journal for success
Next up to decide is if you want to use the outlines or printables that are already made and often free or if you want to take a more custom approach and lay it out your way. The best I’ve found is a combination of both. I find drawing the lines for “setting” up my weekly and monthly layouts to be tedious. So I use printables for those. But I love to set up the “in-between” stuff on my own.
I use different themes for my monthly mood trackers and layout my own Netflix shows. Sometimes, I even print lettering sheets and coloring pages in black and white, glue them in and color them up. I mix creative things like journaling and poetry with functional things like grocery lists and errands to run. And somehow, it all works well for me.
The biggest benefit of journaling your psoriatic arthritis
I’m able to take my bullet journal to the doctor and she can see right there where I might fit on their pain scale. She can look at and see symptom progression and monitor side effects. Plus, it gives her a new way to look at the information that goes along with what I try and explain to her.
We all know that we need to make the best use of those precious few minutes we get with our rheumatologists. Using a bullet journal can convey a ton of information in just a few short minutes.
You just gotta start!
It is super-easy to fall into a major Pinterest hole when you start looking at bullet journaling ideas. I mean it, like hours upon hours sucked into the hole. While Pinterest is an amazing source of ideas, inspiration, and resources, it also comes with some pitfalls as well.
First, there is the obvious, lost time. But secondly, (like me) you might fall victim to fear of failure. Meaning that you don’t want to “mess it up” so you use that as an excuse to procrastinate even getting started.
Just open it up and get started. I promise you will find it not only useful but rewarding as well.
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