People who have been diagnosed with a mental health illness or mood disorder must learn how to track their progress for the following reasons:
- It helps to know if their medication is working;
- Doctors might require it; and
- Regularly monitoring our moods and physical symptoms can help manage our condition.
Monitoring our mental, emotional, and physical symptoms need not be a tedious task. If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health illness or mood disorder, learn how to track and monitor your progress. Here are some creative and helpful ways to do so.
Find colorful and creative templates online
You would be surprised by how many creatives have uploaded their original templates for their fellow strugglers to use. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on Etsy buying these cute and vibrant templates; a quick Google search of the keyword “mental health tracker” already yields plenty of these free handmade templates that you can print.
Make your own templates
If you have a talent for calligraphy, lettering, or art (or even if you don’t!), you can even make the template yourself, especially since you’re the one who knows what you need the most. Whether it’s to keep track of you receiving your disability benefits, your doctor’s appointments, your medication, or your hourly or daily moods, you can personalize it according to your needs for this season and change it as time goes on. Allow yourself to be inspired by the designs you find online.
Download some apps or software
Keeping track of your mental health? There’s an app for that! Think of your current needs at the moment and try to be precise when searching for apps that can help you. Here are some examples of apps you can download depending on your needs:
- eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker
- Worry Watch
- Therapy Buddy
- Moody Month
- Mood Log
- CBT Thought Diary
Tracking your mood yields plenty of benefits, like helping you determine your triggers for foul moods, self-harm, and other negative actions and behaviors. You can also establish strategies for handling harmful impulses and low moods and monitoring the lengths to which therapy and your course of medication are working.
Chronic illness tracker
- Manage My Pain
- My Medical ID
- Day One
- Me. Meditation
Because mental health issues are often accompanied by physical pain, you would also benefit greatly from using apps that were created for those recovering from chronic illness. It will help you ensure you don’t miss your doctor’s appointments and medication, monitor your physical symptoms, and gain an understanding of the kinds of physical discomfort that come with your mental health symptoms.
Create a private Instagram or blog
If you love photography or graphic design, consider creating a private Instagram where you can document the following:
- Photos of anything that made you smile or triggered you
- Selfies of when you’re having a hard day so you can see how your symptoms are affecting your appearance
- Typography of quotes you love and encourage you
- A detailed record of how you’re feeling on any given day
Your private Instagram can include anything that you want. Think of it as your very own digital diary. Just make sure to put up the following safeguards:
- Set the account to private. Find someone you would entrust your life with and allow them to follow the account, especially if you are struggling with self-harm, being tempted to relapse, or having suicidal thoughts or ideation.
- Add two-factor authentication to ensure that your account is hard, if not impossible, to hack.
- Don’t add your real name to your bio and use your profile picture. Most importantly, don’t write your triggers and trauma anywhere on your account that is public; you want to ensure that there is nothing on there that can be used against you by anybody.
If you don’t want to use Instagram, you can opt for other platforms, like WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. Some of them allow for password protection so that you can only allow certain people in. Look into these different blogging platforms and choose the one you think is easiest to use and design. Make this digital diary your home, and let it be something that gives you joy every time you open it.
If you are struggling, know that you are not alone in your journey. Speak to your trusted loved ones and therapist about these creative ideas and tell them about your plans so that you can have support in this new worthy endeavor.