Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by Johna Jenkins, a nurse practitioner, and the co-founder of our sister brand A Plan for Health.
I shared recently with the Whitney English planner team about how I’ve been using our Daily Wellness Tracker. Tracking various health factors on a regular basis is absolutely essential. This notebook is the perfect tool to help me keep track of what’s going on with my health so that I can make the best decisions, deal with any issues that might arise, and ultimately feel better.
Let’s talk about why and how I use a wellness tracker! I’ll share tips for the exact health factors I track every day and best ways to utilize the information.
Have you ever wondered about a new, often random symptom or body ailment?
When DID my neck pain start?
Did I do something that might have brought this on?
I’ve been getting headaches a lot lately. When did that start?
Was it because of something I ate? Something I did? The time of year?
Often, when new symptoms arise we can’t remember all the details that led up to that moment. You’re left thinking about whether you did something that could have caused what you’re experiencing. You want to get to the bottom of an ailment in order to alleviate it but, you don’t have a clear picture of what got you there.
Four minutes a day. That’s how long it typically takes for me to track what’s going on with my health and my body. I share more below on the exact factors I track every morning and evening. While it might take you a bit longer in the beginning to form your tracking habit, eventually, it will become second nature and take just a few minutes a day!
Here are my best tips for using a daily wellness tracker consistently!
Get a dedicated daily wellness tracker. I track everything in a special, only-for-health-tracking notebook. Our Daily Wellness Tracker is made for this, but you could also use a plain ‘ol ruled notebook or a Whitney English pocket notebook! The bottom line is you need a separate space to track health factors. Why use a separate health tracker? It helps you focus on your health. If you need to look back and use the tracker to decipher symptoms or ailments, you’re not muddling through other notes or to-do lists. The health tracker is all about YOU and YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY.
Keep your daily wellness tracker handy. I suggest somewhere near where you sit in the morning and evening. I keep mine is in a basket at the end of the sofa.
Use the method of “pairing” to remember to use your daily wellness tracker regularly. Gretchen Rubin frequently mentions using pairing to help create a habit. For instance, I sit down with my coffee AND my wellness planner first thing in the morning. Am I ever going to skip my morning coffee? Not a chance. I’ve paired my daily wellness tracking with something I never miss!
Track the same things every morning. I jot down the same factors every morning including how I’m feeling (at that moment), sleep, and any medications, vitamins, or supplements to take. I also make general notes about my schedule to track any potential challenges throughout the day. You want to include anything that could impact you physically or mentally. Today I’ll be gardening which could mean my muscles are sore tomorrow. I’m going to Costco so there’s a chance I’ll be lifting heavy packages. This evening is my son’s parent-teacher conference and we might get into a discussion about challenges or his grades. The point here is to track what you’re doing so if needed, you can use it as a frame of reference later on. If I have my meals planned out for the day, I’ll also include what I plan on eating in my notes too.
Circle back to your tracking at the end of the day. Exercise, pain, and hydration are the key metrics I fill out at the end of the day. If I need to add or adjust to my meal notes I’ll do that too. I’ll also note if I feel any different than when the day began and jot down any strong positive (or negative) emotions from the day. Let’s say we had a great conversation at the parent-teacher conference and I’m feeling really proud of my son, these positive moments are also great signposts you might need to reference later on. Later I might reflect that it’s been a great week despite a physical symptom or setback. Noting that great conversation about my son reminds me that being in a good mental place also helps my physical self.
Are there days I don’t want to record everything or times when it takes me a bit longer than four minutes? Absolutely. Those are the days I need it most. Stress and anxiety can easily manifest themselves as physical symptoms, hence the reason to use a daily wellness tracker. By learning to identify what’s bothering me physically and mentally, I’m taking control of my own health. You might start to see patterns or triggers… ‘You know, those headaches DID start right about the time my child started struggling with that subject in school.’
To be clear, using a daily wellness tracker doesn’t instantly solve your problems or immediately make you the picture of health. Tracking wellness factors regularly simply means you’re armed with the right information to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Tracking health and wellness factors is absolutely essential to take better care of yourself. You will become more in tune with your body and be able to make better health decisions, address any issues early on, and generally work towards feeling better each and every day. Grab a Daily Wellness Tracker or any blank piece of paper and start now.