Why & how to keep a Health Journal

Photo: Yastremska

Photo credit: Yastremska

If you’re experiencing any kind of illness, a health journal is a great method of tracking symptoms. Even if you’re currently as fit as a fiddle, a health journal is still beneficial as it will provide an excellent comparison for you if you start experiencing changes in your health.

I began journaling my health several years ago when I became ill, and wished I had started keeping track of it long before, as I had forgotten what ‘normal’ felt like by that point. However, the journal was still very useful, and I took notes from it to my GP and various specialists, as my symptoms were complex and I didn’t want to rely on just my memory in a pressured environment. These notes proved invaluable, as it turned out my symptoms weren’t just the result of one illness, but several; without detailed notes, I’m not certain this would have been concluded.

You may feel like you’ve had a few headaches recently, but when you check your journal you realise you’ve had a headache every day for the past two weeks. Or perhaps that rash from precisely 8 days ago hasn’t gone away yet. Time to visit your GP. A health journal really can be invaluable!

What to write in your Health Journal

Photo: Tee Theerapol

Photo credit: Tee Theerapol

So, you may be wondering how to begin a health journal, and what you should keep track of. The contents are a very personal choice, however some basics include:

  • Past and current health diagnoses
  • Weight
  • Body measurements
  • Food and water intake
  • Sleep quality
  • Exercise
  • Aches or pains (rate the pain on a scale of 1-10)
  • Fatigue
  • Illness, allergies, etc.

Perhaps start with the above and then begin to personalise your journal as you become accustomed to using it and figure out what your personal needs are. Some further suggestions for health factors to track include:

  • Menstruation – this can bring a myriad of symptoms with it, so it is a good idea to track it
  • Stools – they can be an excellent indicator of health, so they are worth tracking
  • Time of eating – this can be useful for tracking bad reactions to food
  • Skin changes – another indicator of health
  • Minor ailments – your health journal is the place to note down everything health-related
  • Medications – it is very helpful to note down medication changes, including brand changes
  • Emotions – don’t forget your mental health, as it is just as important as your physical health

Layout

You can lay your journal out however you like, as it will depend of what you choose to keep track of and how often, but I’d recommend a quick daily summary so as not to miss anything important – especially if you are currently ill and experiencing symptoms – and then perhaps a weekly summary of things such as weight and body measurements. You could use an app for your health journal, but I’d opt for a real paper journal as you have the freedom to track and write whatever you like. Our range of Moleskine and Paperblanks journals are a good option.

As a long-term stationery lover, I adore working for The Pen Company. My childhood saw me carrying around a little red suitcase covered in stickers and full of pens, paper and other such goodies; my adulthood sees me doing pretty much exactly the same!

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