How Bullet Journaling Helped Me Improve my Well-Being

To say that I led an unhealthy lifestyle would be an understatement. Sleeping in during the afternoons, never stepping out of the house, and neglecting personal hygiene — are only a few examples of how I had come to start living. I would cry a lot, unreasonably and irrationally, and fall into low moods on a daily basis. Sure, I was struggling with clinical depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder all at once, but at that point in my life, everything about my routine and lifestyle was in shambles and seemed hopelessly beyond repair.

On top of all of this, I had completely stopped eating and had lost 7 kilograms within the span of two months. With both my physical and mental health deteriorating at an alarmingly high rate, I was sucked into a spiral of confusion and despair; I was having all my medicines and attending all my therapy sessions, but there was a crucial thing lacking in my journey to betterment: my own personal efforts.

Both my mental and physical health were deteriorating at an alarmingly high rate.

For so long I hadn't even realised that to keep my brain emotionally sound, I had to dutch in with my efforts as well. Depression is a mental illness that cannot be treated without the help of medicines, but even after the medicines have settled in and started to work, you can’t expect miracles to happen overnight. Without personal effort, I would be stuck where I was, in the never-ending cycle of self-pity and self-loathing while everything around me went into utter chaos.

As anyone with knowledge about mental illnesses would know, putting in a conscious effort comes even harder to an individual battling any of these sicknesses. I wasn't in the best condition and was already at a disadvantage at giving my life a much-needed makeover, but at the same time, whiling away my days with zero energy or inclination to perform any task was taking a toll on my self-esteem and confidence.

During this period, I turned to my bullet journal. Bullet journaling is something I had been doing for two years already, but the tasks I would write in it would always be limited to assignments or important dates. This time, however, I let myself design a system that would work in my current scenario. I got off of Pinterest and #bujoinspiration tags on Instagram and Tumblr and told myself that I would need to write down all the ugly sides of my life if I wanted to manage them.

I began by setting daily tasks like “Take a bath,” “Wash your face,” “Brush your teeth.” There was an initial embarrassment at having to pen down such mundane things but what I needed to realise was that I shouldn't have to feel embarrassed about something I haven't been capable of doing. If taking a bath and brushing my teeth was a task for me and required effort, I needed to give myself a little appreciation at having performed them the days that I did.

The first few weeks didn't show a lot of results but I soon started jotting down every little thing that seemed like work to me, regardless of whether it should qualify as a real task for others or not. I wrote things like, “Take morning medicines” so I wouldn't forget and felt a sense of satisfaction each time I checked off these little tasks.

Within a month or so, I had accomplished doing these things that I had found so hard to do for such a long time. I tracked my sleep, even if it meant writing “Didn’t get out of bed the whole day” and this made me get up every morning with a new sense of purpose. If nothing else, I at least had to complete the tasks for the day: taking a bath, eating at least one meal, changing the sheets.

For the first time in months, I felt in control of my life and loved every second of it.

It soon became an obsession that helped me track my activities and made me feel responsible and accountable for them. For the first time in months, I felt in control of my life and I loved every second of it. From there, I have now succeeded in keeping my Depression in check by doing a number of other things. The tasks that seemed gigantic slowly fell into my everyday routine and I found myself being able to perform them with ease. I gained back all my weight and started eating healthy regularly. My daily tasks now include “real work”: meditating, exercising, replying to emails. I still make sure to write about simple, small tasks that cause me distress.

Bullet journaling is an activity you do for yourself. It is a part of personal maintenance and should remain just that, without any judgements coming into it. You know what you need, and you know how to achieve it. Don't be ashamed of penning it down and working towards it – No matter how tiny it may seem to others.

One City at a Time: Our Favourite Out-of-the-Ordinary Travel Destinations for 2018

To travel, and to travel well — is every man’s greatest desire and one that isn't so often fulfilled. Whether it is backpacking across the hills of Uttarakhand, or enjoying the ever-vibrant nightlife of London, travelling is an activity that is unparalleled by any other. With so many cities to see and so many cultures to experience, one can never run short of new places to visit. Here we curate ten of the top often-overlooked destinations that you should definitely consider putting on your travel bucket list.

#10 – Denpasar, Indonesia

Image by  killerturnip  via Flickr

Image by killerturnip via Flickr

Often traded over in lieu of Bali’s more tropical and tourist-accommodating parts, Denpasar is a paradise not to be missed. With a burgeoning modern cityscape, here you’ll find all the local attractions along with the trademark greenery. Witness enticing sunsets and mesmerising monuments that date back to the times when the city was a Dutch colony. With a million things to do, Denpasar offers the perfect weekend getaway full of music, beauty, and commerce.

#9 – Florence, Italy

Image by  vic xia  via Flickr 

Image by vic xia via Flickr 

A truly iconic city, Florence is a carefully crafted delight to the artist, architect, gastronomer, fashionista. With its scenic splendour and mind-blowing domes, Florence houses some of the world’s greatest art pieces. Visit the cluster of jewellery stores that rule the city’s bridges and let yourself be enchanted by its rolling expanse of countryside. Get drunk on the intoxicating sea breeze or immerse yourself in Florence’s romantic wonders.

#8 – Los Angeles, United States

Image by  Gilbert Mercier  via Flickr

Image by Gilbert Mercier via Flickr

There is no denying LA’s Hollywood glamour, but its high time its vibrant beaches and creative atmosphere come into the limelight. Blessed with the sea as well as a hilly terrain, Los Angeles truly is the city of angels if one takes a look at its bright, blue skies. Explore the theatre, music, and art side of the city, along with its sprawling architectural scene. Apart from these, LA is full of culinary gems that are sure to bedazzle any gourmand.

#7 – Turku, Finland

Image by  Henri Sivonen  via Flickr

Image by Henri Sivonen via Flickr

Move past Helsinki, this bustling city is a wonderful experience of art and culture. It sits at the mouth of the Aura River and forms an important part of Finland’s rich history. Visit the medieval castles, the Turku Archipelago, and the contemporary restaurant scene.

#6 – Wrocław, Poland

Image by  via Flickr

Image by via Flickr

Too many travellers think that Poland’s serendipity is limited to its capital, Warsaw. Wrocław proves them wrong. A culturally diverse and energetic city, Wrocław is majestically designed. With beautiful architectural influences evident in the city’s marvellous market squares, Worcław makes you fall in love at first sight.

#5 – Kruger National Park, South Africa

Image by  Abespires40  via Flickr

Image by Abespires40 via Flickr

Kruger is a tourist-dominated region, true, but few know of its otherworldly appeal and overwhelming beauty. With a number of wildlife activities to undertake and a myriad of species of animals to appreciate, Kruger has something for everyone. Visit Sabi Sand Game Reserve, a quieter park bordering Kruger, and make your way through this lovely place’s tracks through the wilderness.

#4 – Frankfurt, Germany

Image by  Mariano Mantel  via Flickr

Image by Mariano Mantel via Flickr

Rebuilt after WWII, Frankfurt has restored itself to its complete glory by becoming one of the largest commercial and trading centres. Though mainly a business destination, its many attractions are not lost upon the wandering traveller. Home to van Goethe, it is a city ripe with literature and history. With irresistible charms that include its varied gardens and lively nightlife, Frankfurt is a city for the young at heart.

#3 – Bikaner, India

Image by  Jean-Pierre Dalbéra  via Flickr

Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr

Not as popular amongst travellers as the other Rajasthani cities, Bikaner is heaven in the middle of a desert. Full of mahals or palaces, this city is breathtaking to the very core. Witness the beautiful craftsmanship of the local artisans, indulge your taste buds with a full traditional thali, and walk through its labyrinthine lanes. Bikaner is any history enthusiast’s dream and never fails to wow with its royal beauty.

#2 – Pembrokeshire, Wales

Image by  Paul James  via Flickr

Image by Paul James via Flickr

Pembrokeshire is a world in its own right. Surrounded by the sea and home to many award-winning beaches, this city is a study in diverse geography. Wildly gorgeous and boasting a brilliant marine life, Pembrokeshire has so much to offer. Visit castles, the renowned National Park, and admire the hilly landscape.

#1 – Tel Aviv, Israel

Image by  adybert  via Pixabay

Image by adybert via Pixabay

White masterpieces from the architectural Bauhaus movement dot this serenely painted city of Israel. Usually overshadowed by Jerusalem as a travel destination, this city, with its dazzling coastline and glittering skyscrapers is a treat to the eye. Visit its many markets and sample the local Lebanese cuisine while enjoying the breezy atmosphere that Tel Aviv has to offer.