10 Ways to Use a Bullet Journal to Keep Track of Your DiabetesElizabeth Nelson
If you like to stay organized, chances are you’ve already heard of the ever-popular bullet journal, touted as the analog method for the digital age. Bullet journals are where people keep track of their calendars, habits, ideas, reminders, lists, and dozens of other types of information in one book. Using a system of symbols that is often unique to the user, information can be categorized, and different pages can be “threaded together” for easy access.
The great thing about bullet journals, also known as bujos, is that you can literally keep anything you want in them. Some people use intricate spreads, stickers, and artsy details to make their journals more fun and pleasing to the eye. Others prefer a minimalist approach. Still others make creative pockets to hold little scraps of paper or Dutch doors to allow them to look at different pieces of information together. And everyone tracks different types of information based on their personal schedules, goals, and plans.
You may never have thought about tracking your diabetes using a bullet journal, but we assure you it’s not only possible, it’s also fun! Whether you’re creative or minimalist, there’s a way to use your bullet journal to track diabetes-related information to keep everything organized and well-documented.
Luckily, thousands of people just like you are already using bujos and uploading photos of their ideas to social media. Here are just a few of the myriad of ways other people have made managing their diabetes easier and more fun by using a bullet journal.
1. Track your hypo and hyper episodes
One of the simplest ways to track your diabetes in a bullet journal is simply to have a page where you display a list of your hyper and hypo episodes in an easily visible format. Every time your blood sugar goes beyond your desired in either direction, fill in a box of your mini “calendar” or just mark it with an X (or “H” and “L” for “high” and “low”).
Knowing how many high or low days you’ve been having lately can give you insight into how well you’ve been controlling your diabetes. If you have a goal to do a better job of this each month, it can be fun to look back and see how many days you have marked in previous months compared to this one.
2. Integrate a hypo/hyper counter into your weekly spread
Maybe having a full spread for highs and lows doesn’t work well for you, especially because it means you have to remember to flip to that page and write it down every time you go outside your target range. If you need more of a reminder, or if you just like seeing it on the same page as other relevant information, try adding a small box somewhere on your weekly calendar spread to track highs and lows. You can add them up at the end of the week or use tally marks to keep track of them throughout the week.
3. Manage your injection locations
If you have diabetes, you’ve probably poked yourself more times than you can count, both to check your blood sugar and administer insulin. It’s good to have a reminder of how long it’s been since you used a certain area so that you can make sure you give your skin a break, and your bullet journal can help you. Just sketch out your silhouette, use dots to mark injection sites, and write the date next to each site.
Repeated injections in the same area over time can cause your body to accumulate fat or scar tissue in that area. On top of feeling weird or looking unsightly, these areas can also become less absorbent, making your insulin dose less effective. It’s important to be aware of issues like this to ensure you don’t put your health in jeopardy.
Tracking where you place needles and pumps in your skin may also help you see how fast these areas are healing after use, which is just another measure of how healthy your body is. You may find certain areas require a little extra help, like a topical antibiotic cream, to heal properly.
4. Graph it out
There’s no better way to get a good sense of the big picture than to make the information into a visual. It doesn’t take much creativity or energy to make a simple line graph or bar graph, but it can make a huge difference in your understanding of your progress when you’re trying to do a better job managing your diabetes.
Here’s an example of a young woman charting her average HbA1C for each month to see how she’s improving, as well as a chart for the number of hypo and hyper episodes she experiences over the course of a year. You could also use a graph like this to chart your activity levels, food habits, and a number of other diabetes-related measurements.