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How To Look After Your Mental Health At High School [Back to School]

September 17, 2021 3 min read

Exciting, stressful and very very busy. High school is a time where new responsibilities are taken on, college applications are sent off and those final few years at home go by in the blink of an eye. 

COVID-19 brought the conversation about  young people’s mental health to the front pages, but the issue has been a part of students’ lives for longer than just the pandemic. With academic pressures, life-changing decisions and the general demands of growing up, there’s a lot to contend with!

So, this week, we’re going back to school and interviewing some of our favourite student bullet journalers to discover how they look after their mental health during their studies. 

Today, we’re chatting with Paloma aka  @dove.bujo. A bullet journaler and high school student from the USA, Paloma knows how to manage her time, prioritise sleep and protect her mental health. 

When we spoke with Paloma, she was getting ready to start her final year of high school and begin her college application process.

Paloma’s biggest surprise about student life

“The biggest surprise about student life for me has been realizing I need to have better time management. 

As I got more homework and the difficulty of my assignments increased, I had to find a balance between making sure I did my best on assignments while also getting enough sleep.”

Habit tracker and productivity tracker spread in an open journal with fish theme

Paloma uses her bullet journal to track habits and monitor her productivity each day. Photo credit  @dove.bujo

Using bullet journaling for mental health

“To me, mental health is emotional well-being. Mental health is important for studies because if you are not in a good place mentally, it can be very difficult to focus and put forward your best efforts on assignments. 

My studies placed some extra stress in my life. Sometimes I feel very anxious that I will not finish assignments on time or that I will get a low test score. 

Bullet journaling greatly helps my mental health because not only is it a place where I can write down all my assignments and tasks in order to stay organized, but it is also somewhere I can  be creative and a way to de-stress.”

3 tools to support your mental health at high school

“My three favorite strategies for looking after my mental health are bullet journaling, reaching out to others, and doing self care activities. 

I like to schedule time for both studying and looking after my mental health.One of my favorite strategies is using the pomodoro method- for example studying for 45 minutes and then taking a 15 minute break to journal about my day. 

Some of my favorite self-care activities include doing a face mask, making a cup of tea, taking a nap, painting my nails, and going on a walk or bike ride.”

Open journal on fabric showing flower doodles

Need to destress? Paloma recommends using a doodle page. Photo credit@dove.bujo

Separating your self worth from your school results

“Some advice I would give to new students starting school this fall is to remember that a test score  does not define your worth, and to reach out to teachers and friends when you need assistance.

I would highly suggest  keeping a journal, whether that be for writing down due dates to stay organized, drawing, journaling about your emotions, or for writing the highlight of your day and things you are grateful for. 

Journal showing July Highlights page
When you need to reframe your day, use your bullet journal to create a highlights page with all the positive things that happen. Photo credit@dove.bujo


Also, schedule time to  take care of yourself because if you are not in a good state of mind, it can be difficult to do your best in your studies.”