with Natalie, Design Team member
Hello, again! It’s me, Natalie, back with another post for the EBDUK blog. If you read my last post, you’ll know that my planner has become my mental illness recovery companion: a creative tool for managing my life, an authentic record of the wellness journey I’m on, and a daily dose of colour, light and hope. In today’s post, I’d like to share one of the way I use my bullet journal to increase my mental resilience and help me rediscover wellness: hazard planning.
Hazard planning is something I learned about at Recovery College during a workshop on overcoming the obstacles in our lives. As a group, we talked about upcoming events that we felt might challenge our mental health and discussed ways of helping us manage them in order to reduce their impact and threat to our recovery journeys. At the time, one of my own obstacles was that we were approaching the school holidays, and I was concerned that the change in routine might derail the wellness habits I’d formed over the previous few months, but after discussing this with the group, and coming up with some ways to mitigate this disruption, I felt a lot more positive, and once I returned home from the course, I wrote up my notes in my bullet journal as usual, and included my school holiday hazard plan, which ended up working so well, that I have been doing a monthly hazard plan ever since!
What I do is this: toward the end of each month, I look forward at the tasks and events of the coming month and assess which (if any) might cause me stress or challenge my mental health. I then write a brief list of these ‘hazards’ in my planner. Next, I have a think about what I can do to reduce my stress levels around these tasks and events, and then I make a brief note of my ideas. Over the last year, I’ve found this process very helpful because it allows me to plan for the difficulties I might face over the coming month while keeping me from overthinking and ruminating on them. I acknowledge them, plan for them, and move on.
My hazard plans have taken different forms these last 12 months. Here is my plan from October 2017. It’s just two lists, one above the other.
And here is my hazard plan for this month (August 2018). Since November 2017, I’ve been splitting the page in two and writing my hazards on the left hand side, and my plans on the right. This makes it easier for me to recap my plans when I need to.
As you can see, I’m using EBDUK stickers to brighten up this month’s hazard plan. Ordinarily, I just write or stamp the words ‘hazard’ and ‘plan’ on my pages, but when I saw the new Rainbow Small Weekend Stamped Script Planner Stickers in the shop, I immediately thought: Ooh! I wonder if Rachel could make me a sheet that says ‘hazard’ and a sheet that says ‘plan’. So, I emailed her to ask, and she said yes! Here they are in all their rainbowy glory:
For me, having a bright and beautiful hazard plan is another way of rediscovering wellness, of choosing hope over despair, and light over darkness. How about you? How do you use your planner to help you overcome the obstacles in your life?
Thanks for reading!
Catch you later.
Love Natalie xxx
Natalie Bowers is a paper crafter, media-mixer and memory-keeper who lives in the south of England with her husband and two children. A gregarious loner and shameless eavesdropper, she can often be found haunting the dark recesses of coffee shops and cafes, her pencil poised above paper. When Natalie is not writing and doodling, she is either arting and crafting in her shoffice or binge-watching YouTube tutorials on the sofa. She also likes to trawl charity shops for vintage paper and comb local beaches for sea glass. Natalie has overcome severe depression and anxiety and now happily shares the story of how she is recovering by discovering wellness, resilience and purpose through creativity, mindfulness, prayer and planning.
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