Health Journaling

One of the more frustrating things that I’ve noticed recently is that I’m really bad at managing my health. I try, and health is something that I value in myself and others, but I frequently neglect doing the things that actually, you know, keep you healthy. The things just take so much work, and who wants to do them when they could be doing a million other things, anyway? Especially if you have to play catchup. Again.

And that’s only half of the problem. The other half is that I forget what already happened. I can’t remember which day I sprained my ankle, or caught a stomach bug, much less how long the doctor told me to do a home remedy before calling back in. (This is why I love the detailed instructions that come on prescription labels.)

Then there’s the whole issue with never being sure if something is normal or not. Since I know I tend to ignore things, my anxiety overreacts, leaving me totally clueless as to whether or not it’s an actual concern. Which leads to asking people questions (further exasperating the social anxiety).

So I want to try out a health journal. Especially since I have a deficiency that I need to be handling better due to the degree of pain it is capable of causing. The problem is that I know I’ll lose a paper one, but all the apps on the Google App Store are for weight loss and/or exercise tracking. And I’m supposed to upgrade my phone because of the phone company switching over to 4-5G. So I can’t really try anything out right now, but I’d love to hear suggestions on methods that are organized and conveniently stay organized.

On that note, I’d just make an app myself, but I am garbage at programming.

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I’m struggling with organization lately. I used to be able to remember dates and when things happened and now it’s like ‘poof’ it’s gone. Too much happening around me for me to be able to have that precision anymore. I’m trying a bunch of things and I keep falling back onto ‘simpler is better’. I try elaborate things and a few days later I get bored. Right now I’m using google spreadsheets to track things. If I did more on my phone, I’d probably use google calendars. I know you can set up a bunch of different types of calendars (one for appointments, one for holidays, etc). Maybe that could be a temporary solution until you get your new phone?

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it’s not super clear what you need/want to track or what you’d like to be able to do with the information, so hard to give more specific advice.

if you would like to use paper to log this, consider a wall calendar or use a paper journal and tape the back cover down to your desk. very large binders put in designated spots can also work.

also consider that you don’t usually need to know exact dates of injuries and such. you might make a note of anything major like a car crash in your normal calendar. but ankle sprain? it’s never been a problem for me that i can only specify today, this month, this year, or several years ago.

i find tracking works better for me when i am not tracking too much. just the minimum that’s absolutely necessary to accomplish my goal.

for remembering doctors’ instructions, double check if your docs use online portals. it’s nice to be able to look up visit summaries and instructions again.

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@SelinaM My phone does have a calendar app built-in, but because it’s a Galaxy S5, you can only add “tasks” or “events.” I have used this feature before, and it’s a good meds reminder, but it’s impossible to actually track anything with it. Maybe the Sheets idea would work, but I tend to hyperfocus on formatting Excel sheets when I’m setting them up and then usually forget I have them when it’s time to actually use them. Especially since I only have Sheets and Excel on my computer, and I really don’t trust the internet to not go down as soon as I get something set up.

Both are good ideas, but I’ve had problems with using them consistently/effectively.

@papserweight

To clarify:
What I want to track is the various aspects of my health that are affected by the different conditions that I have. In addition to ADHD I have multiple comorbidities that I’ve been struggling to manage.

I came across this quote, which actually sums up my experience pretty well:

I was recently on the phone with my doctor and she asked me “So when did you last miss your meds?” And I blanked. I had NO idea. A day? A week? Could it have been a month?? It happened all the time! “When was your last cycle?” Uhh… definitely… this year?

As well as that, I also can’t remember when new problems begin. It usually takes a while before I realize that something is an issue, and by then I have no idea when it started. So I never have a good answer when I’m asked “when did your symptoms start?”

One could argue that tracking everything is overkill, but I feel like I need some semblance of control over my memory. It’s also a way I can be more self-aware about what I do on a day-to-day basis, and work on improving where I need to do better for the sake of my physical and/or mental health.

Looking at the sheer amount of paper that I possess, and my track record with it, I don’t think that will work out very well. I would try bullet journaling except for the fact that I constantly am losing notebooks.

I have never used online portals before, but I can certainly start now. I think it’s something I’ll like to have access to. (Especially if it means I can email people instead of calling.)


I got fed up with the amount of time it was taking to get the new phone (it’s really hard to find one that works with the company, is under the budget, and functions well) and downloaded an app after much time researching. It’s called Bearable, and it has a little of everything. There’s a customization option so you can pick and choose.

I am going to use this as an experiment, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll try something else. It’s definitely good for meds and tracking water intake. I also want to give Fabulous a spin at some point, but for now I’m going to focus on Bearable.

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:+1: Too many things to track and I forget to track something or another! I use three different things to try to keep track of things.

  1. The memo recorder on my iPhone.
  2. Calendar on my iPad.
  3. A red school notebook.

Of course sometimes I forget which method I used to record what ever. Other times I forget that I recorded anything at all, or search for something . . . not remembering that I made no record of it. Then of course there are times I can’t find my notebook, iPhone or iPad.

So what’s a :brain: :two: Do . . . or not :two: Do?

Ay! There’s the rub . . .

:prince:t2: . . . :rofl::rofl:

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UPDATE:

It’s day 11 of using the app, and I’ve figured out which parts are actually useful and which are not.

Things That Are Useful:

  • Mood
  • Symptom
  • Energy level
  • Food/Water
  • Meds/Supplements
  • Sleep
  • Factors

Observations and Notes About the Useful Things:

  • I can turn off the things that are not useful to me.
  • So far it’s been helpful with being more mindful and practicing emotion identification.
  • It’s helping me track symptoms of chronic problems in addition to problems that recently popped up so now I have an idea of what the time frame of each problem is because I can look back and check dates.
  • Energy levels are something I’m tracking because I know I get tired a lot, but I’m curious as to when my energy fluctuates.
  • It makes me realize just how much I eat/drink of junk and not water and that I need to be a little more intentional about what I put in my body.
  • It’s been good for keeping track of what meds or supplements I took, when I took them, and how much I took.
  • I now can actually remember how much sleep I got and when I went to bed.
  • The factors thing is interesting because I can put in stuff like “work” and “home” and see how different things correlate with various effects physically/emotionally/mentally.
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DAY 20:

  • The mood tracker is helping me combat alexithymia (I think that’s the right word) by practicing mindfulness.
  • The symptoms tracker is helping me actually know when problems started and because of this was useful at my latest appointment with my PCP.
  • The energy level track is, at the very least, entertaining, and at the most another way to practice mindfulness and self-awareness.
  • The food diary is good at tracking water intake and showing me my (poor) food choices. (I really need to try some new recipes.)
  • The medication part is super super helpful. Now that I have the new phone, I can get a pop-up notification reminding me to take my meds, and mark down the day, time, and amount I took.
  • The sleep function is good for knowing how much sleep I got since I can never remember math and sleep is something I’m trying to work on.
  • The factors section is interesting, not super practical, and I may have to edit it again just because it’s like that.
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