A lot of the talk about boundaries centers around the boundaries that we establish with other people. However, have you ever thought about the boundaries you set within yourself and with yourself? Boundaries with other people can help you define where you end and they begin, and prevent you from being mistreated. Can internal boundaries protect you from yourself?
We spend more time with ourselves then any other person, obviously. And emotions and thoughts definitely have the power to take over your life. Especially if you struggle with a mental illness like depression or generalized anxiety disorder like I do. Recently after the birth of my daughter, I also have been struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. But even if you just are dealing with negative thoughts and emotions like all of us do, there are tools that can help you live a life where you can embrace yourself, feel your emotions without giving them control, and live a more positive life overall. One of these tools is therapy/counseling, which is for everyone, not just people struggling with mental illness. I’ve written in the past about how to discover whether therapy might be useful to you and how to find a therapist. Another tool is integrating your mental health into your goal planning and using a mental health planner (or adding it to your current planner).
Introducing My Mental Health Planner…
Someone wrote a comment on one of my mental health posts last year asking how I knew if and when my antidepressants were finally working for me. That’s definitely not a simple question to answer, but a large part of it was using tracking methods to discover patterns and changes in my mental health over a period of months and years. I kept a notebook in which I noted daily what medications I was taking and what physical and mental symptoms I was experiencing. During this period I also regularly journaled about what was going on in my head and heart.
However, what I was using at the time was a collection of notebooks and handouts that were less then cohesive and pretty cluttered. So over a year ago I decided to create the mental health planner that I would have loved to have when I was going through the most intense times of my mental health recovery. Everything kind of got derailed between a tough pregnancy and having a newborn, so I’m so excited to finally share what I have created with all of you today.
The printable mental health planner I’ve created is currently being sold in my Etsy shop. It consists of 22 pages.
What is Included in the Mental Health Planner:
2 Covers, Note to You, and Instructions
Medication Tracker (yearly and monthly options)
Life Balance Wheel
Monthly Wellness Plan
Trigger Tracking Exercise
Voice of Truth Exercise
Lined journaling page
Mental Health Resources
It is designed to allow you to keep daily, weekly, and monthly track of your mental health, learn coping methods, and help you learn more about yourself and how to manage your mental health effectively. It ideally is a companion to therapy for your mental health struggles.
This planner has trackers, weekly and monthly assessments, therapy tools, and methods for coping. Since the pages are undated and customizable, you can print out as many copies as you need of each exercise.
Details on the Trackers/Exercises in the Mental Health Planner:
Have you been taking your medications as directed? Has a change in dosage been made? Is there a correlation between medication usage and your symptoms? Use a yearly tracker if you are established in your medication regimen or a more detailed one if your doctor is making adjustments regularly.
A yearly mood tracker gives you the opportunity for a birds eye view of your overall mood over a longer period of time.
Track Habits and Symptoms-
Track both your mental and physical symptoms and positive habits over the course of a month for a more in-depth view of your mental health progress.
Identify whether your life is balanced-
Where is your time and your mental energy going? How content are you in eight major life areas? Are you satisfied with how that looks for you or do adjustments need to be make?
Make a monthly wellness plan and complete a monthly recap-
Make a plan for your mental wellness at the beginning of every month and then reflect on your progress at the end.
Review your week-
What were the ups and downs of your week?
Take therapy notes-
To more effectively utilize your therapy sessions, reflect on what you learned and assign action steps after each therapy session.
Track the origins of a depressive episode or feelings of anxiety by identifying situational triggers.
Remind yourself of the voice of truth-
Identify the lies you are telling yourself and replace them with truth.
Use to identify one thing, no matter how small, that you are grateful for every single day.
Remember what works for you-
Identify the coping strategies that work for you when you feel yourself becoming anxious or depressed.
Use journaling prompts-
Use to facilitate journaling related to your mental health.