I admit that I’m not big on long journal entries. To me doing daily journaling is just one more thing to check off the to do list. What I prefer is tracking things that are important to me (such as daily word count goals), using my to do app to check off the things I completed, and utilizing programs like One Note to organize my progress on projects and to have a place to “brain dump” ideas. It was in reviewing one of these things (my word count spreadsheet), that I truly saw the impact of the events of the past 30 months (or so) and saw in “black and white” as it were, the fact that yes I had been dealing with burnout and exhaustion for that long. (I’m coming out of it, thank goodness, and I hope to talk more about how I’m deconstructing what happened so it (hopefully) won’t happen again.)

This was a watershed moment for me. I saw, in the terms of something that’s vitally important to me and I’m realizing vitally important to my mental health, the actual impact of a specific event in my life. Even if I didn’t trust my experiences, which let’s be honest most of us who are neurodivergent/chronically ill/marginalized (pick one or all!) have been taught that we’re not reliable narrators of our own experience, those numbers confirmed my beliefs. Considering that I’d been told “oh it’s not that bad” by numerous people including professional therapists, this was huge.

And it shifted everything.

Being able to look at this tracker and see in stark terms just how I'd been affected shifted how I looked at everything. All of a sudden I went from a "maybe it's just me" position to "this really happened, and something tells me it… Click To Tweet

They took advantage of me. That’s the power of having a tracker. It shifted my mindset and shifted the way I looked at a situation.

There are times when journaling helps get the thoughts out of your mind and helps you organize your feelings. If this works for you, then I encourage you to keep going. However, for many people the idea of sitting down and writing even a quarter of a page every night is daunting. And I don’t want this to keep you from getting the benefit of trackers and journals where possible.

Find something that’s important to you. It could be spending time with a hobby you love, or something more specific. Then, find a way to track it that makes sense to you. Notating on a wall calendar (or stickers?), using a spreadsheet, using a specific notebook. Feel free to experiment.

Use this as a measure of your wellness. If you find you’re suddenly not doing this activity that you enjoy, then that’s a good indication that something is happening and its impacting your well-being.

Nothing is too small to be tracked. Having this proof allows you to look back on things and see what may have happened or where things took a turn for the better or the worse. Don’t ignore the power of trackers and journals when it comes to your wellness; they can literally change your life.