When you have fibromyalgia, processing pain signals can take a toll on the brain.
Anxiety, medications, diet, and sleep deprivation are some factors that can make the brain “foggy.” But even constant pain can bring about fibro fog. Bullet journaling is a great way to cope with fibro fog and it is a phenomenal organizational tool!
What is Fibro Fog?
Fibro fog (or brain fog, as some people call it) is a swirl of forgetfulness, getting lost easily, difficulty recalling words and maintaining conversations. It’s the moments in my day when my insecurity is on display.
Born and raised in the Bronx, you would think that taking buses and trains would be second nature for me. Nah. I get lost pretty frequently. It doesn’t matter how many times I have gone to this particular doctor’s office or trendy coffee shop, it’s not uncommon for me to feel as though I’ve never been here before.
Oh and don’t get me started on recalling words during a conversation. Let’s just say, I basically play Charades every day in my life. And I get a kick out of it.
I want to talk about Bullet Journaling because it’s a hot topic for all sorts of people. Bullet Journaling is a customized way of streamlining your lists, tasks, plans, schedules all in one notebook. All you need is a notebook, pen, and a block of time to create your bullet journal. (If you want to get all fancy, get that washi tape, stencils, and all those classy markers).
I started bullet journaling in May 2020 because I wanted to be on track with my goals and finances. However, my fibro fog was acting up. With the whole day-to-day uncertainties of COVID-19 and the drastic work-from-home switch, I found myself putting my health as the last priority on my dozens of “To-Do” list scratch papers.
The lack of organization and ongoing misprioritization contributed even more to my fibro fog. So this “blurred” or “fogged up” my personal and health needs. Which “blurred” or “fogged up” my mind in conversations which led me to play charades more than usual 😉
I knew that I needed to do something different. This insanity was making me insane!
Bullet journaling does NOT cure fibro fog, but it does make fibro fog easier to manage. Because EVERYTHING is in ONE single notebook.
Okay let’s move on because I’m excited to share with you the 5 ways bullet journaling has helped me, and can help you, with fibro fog!
The 4 Ways Bullet Journaling Has Helped Me (And Can Help You) with Fibro Fog!
- Bullet Journaling helps me expand from short term goals to long term goals.
I’m not only planning what I’ll be cooking the next day, but I am also adding in activities, dreams I’d like to fulfill for the next month, or a few months down the road. Writing up my own calendar and customizing it on my own way gives me a sense of hope, determination, and positivity for whatever is ahead of me.
Living with chronic pain can often distract me from living with a vision for the future. Yes, my body (and mind!) can often limit me, but bullet journaling helps me to stay away from settling with short-term goals.
2. Bullet Journaling helps me to set boundaries and say “No” to people or things I can’t commit to.
Do you have that people-pleasing syndrome? Or that Automatic Yes instilled in you? Too much on my plate adds to my fibro fog! My bullet journal keeps me in check. I can look ahead on my journal and see if I’d have sensory overload if I were to commit to an event or social gathering.
I don’t have to do the work of going through the foggy files in my brain to remember if I’d be available (or have the energy to go) or not because it’s all in my journal! The oh-so-casual, “I’ll get back to you” (or some variation of this) is my most favorite phrase when invited to future events.
My bullet journal is such a good tool in helping me set boundaries with the time I give to events and activities. These pages show me how much sensory overload I’ll be having next week, next month, and so forth!
3. More on social life and boundaries: Bullet Journaling helps me be prepared when I do have a BIG event or outing coming up.
This is huge for me. Chronic pain and spontaneity dance with two left feet with each other. As a strong INFJ (I probably need to retake my Myers-Briggs because fibromyalgia has reconfigured some of my personality traits!), I never considered myself spontaneous, but there are outlier moments in my life, in which I would do something that was not “scheduled” in my planner for that day.
But now that chronic pain is in the picture, I need to rely more heavily on preparing for the BIG stuff rather than showing up because it takes a toll on my brain and body.
Preparation is key. When I don’t prepare for a whole day outing, I am not fully present or even feel engaged with my circle of friends.
However, it’s bittersweet because the onus is on me to prepare ahead of time and to block off time to rest and restore before I go to a friend’s wedding, go on a hike, or other energy-expending events/activities.
I say this is bitter because sometimes I don’t receive the ideal rest prior to the outing. And yet…sweet because sometimes I do receive the rest that I need and I feel more present with my family and friends at the outing.
4. Bullet Journaling gives me a sense of responsibility aka “life doesn’t happen to me”
Prior to my bullet journal, the victim mentality was oozing into my forgetfulness and concentration issues. I was “letting” events, gatherings happen “to” me and I felt like I had no control over what comes next in my day-to-day life. Now I jot down everything I commit to in my bullet journal: people, places, and things.
My bullet journal helps me to see what’s on the horizon for next week or next month and so forth.
Bullet Journaling Simplifies Your Life
Fibro fog is still here with me, but I have some tools. One of them is my bullet journal.
But having a bullet journal is so much more than a tool to help me go through my foggy days because it also helps me to take responsibility of my God-given life.
Goals, boundaries, social life: bullet journaling helps me to clarify these factors in my life.
Clarity is key. When there is clarity, there is space for discernment and peace to flow in my days.
Have you tried bullet journaling?