Do you want to stop your period from ruining your life? Harness the power of charting so you know what is going on with your body and what your hormones are doing during your cycle.
Today I wanted to share with you how I track my mental health, depression, anxiety, mood, and menstrual cycle. I have been charting my period for a few years now and I really enjoy it. Honestly, it was daunting at first, but I soon got the hang of it and realized how important this was to me. This is how I set up my BUJO F.A.M. Charting & Tracking (Fertility Awareness Method) and how I use it to stay on top of my Mental Health, Depression & Anxiety.
I use a separate journal for my fertility awareness charting method. I follow F.A.M. which is the fertility awareness method and have a really great book by Toni Wechsler, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 20th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. It really taught me a lot about charting and getting to know my body. I wish that I would have learned this information when I first got my period or maybe a year or two after when I was a teen. It really would have taught me a heck of a lot more about my body.
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The reason I choose to chart is for awareness about my body and to keep track of my menstrual cycle. I am currently charting to avoid pregnancy. Charting is one of my forms of birth control, I do not rely on this solely because I don’t feel confident enough to do so… BUT hopefully as the years go by I’ll learn more about this method and more about my body to where I feel confident using it as a birth control method.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 20th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health is an amazing book if you are a menstruating human! This is the ONE BOOK you should have to understand your body, hormones and cycle. If you only have one book, let it be this one by Toni Weschler.
This book has taught me more than the internet, more than my middle school health class, more that my mom, and more than my gynecologist.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility will empower you with a wealth of information so you can make better more informed decisions about your fertility, body health, mental health, and emotional health.
My fertility tracking BUJO is just random notebook that I had laying around. It’s pretty thin and has thin lines, even narrower than college ruled paper. I am duplicating my digital chart from Kindara into a physical form in my Bullet Journal. I found that by doing this I am learning more about my body because I’m writing it down in this journal by hand. I’m actually taking the time to analyze the data that I’m collecting. You’ll see below that I collect an awful lot of data when it comes to fertility awareness.
I also utilize a fold up method in this BUJO, kind of like a faux dutch door. Normally you’d have a section for notes at the bottom of your chart, but because I’m tracking so much I don’t have that room. Which is why I use the fold up faux dutch door. On this section I have my notes for the day of my cycle and my legend / key for the symbols in this layout.
What I’m Tracking:
My Minimum Fertility Tracking Metrics:
- BBT temperature
- menstrual flow
- sex un/protected
- moon phases
- cycle day
- day of month
- day 8 of cycle for a S.B.E. self breast exam (important when you’re well endowed like me)
Additional Fertility Tracking Metrics For Mood, Sexual Health, Mental Health, & Activity Level:
- initiated sex
- LH +/- test trips
- Needed An Escape
- Did I smell funny?
- Was I itchy?
- nipple / breast pain
- ovulation pain / cramps
- headache / migraine
- meds for head pain (tylenol)
- yoga or meditation
- listened to my yearly manifesto
- 10K Steps
- Did I go outside?
It is essential to chart your temperatures when you are charting for fertility awareness. And the way to do so is with a BBT thermometer, basil body thermometer. If you’re familiar with the charting method or with F.A.M. you’ll notice my temperatures are much lower and that’s because my temperature is taken pretty much in my armpit instead of under my tongue, which is a hell of a lot cooler than underneath your tongue.
Watch my video below to see why I have to have a certain type of BBT Thermometer… I have a really weird, particular need…
Setting Up Journal Key
The secret to staying consistent with any journal is to understanding it. Have you ever looked at your journal and wondered what you meant by that weird little symbol? To avoid it looking like chicken scratches set up a journal key or legend in the on the front page or inside cover of your journal. I like to take this a step further by making my key a flip out section of my journal so I don’t need to flip back and fourth in my journal during a long planning or tracking session.
My Journal Key / Legend
black heart / filled in heart = unprotected sex
heart outline = protected sex, condoms, outer-course
small filled in heart with big outlined heart = withdrawal
red line = period
big red dot = projected period
two little red dots = spotting
green line = ovulation
big green dot = projected ovulation
little green dot = past ovulation
purple line = luteal phase
Best Fertility Tracking Tools
My BBT Thermometer
Tempdrop BBT Thermometer is a set it and forget it thermometer that tracks your BBT while you sleep and gives the perfect BBT in the morning which is actually calculated 2 hours before you wake up. No more annoying beeping thermometers or forgetting to take your BBT before you even move!
I have early onset hearing loss with an about 40% total loss in both of my ears, so I can’t hear normal BBT thermometers beep in the morning. Tempdrop is perfect for those with hearing loss or who are deaf and are charting their BBT for fertility tracking and awareness.
I really love The Fertility Awareness Method and charting, it has taught me a lot about my body. It makes me feel like I’m in tune with my body and my hormones. I can really tell when I’m about to ovulate and noticed different changes and shifts in my mood, physical body, and mental health.
Because I struggle with depression, anxiety and sometimes P.T.S.D., I need to stay on top of everything. AND I need to understand what’s going on with my body and mind. Charting has really opened that up for me. If you have mental health struggles like I do, I highly recommend that you try charting. Everyone needs to get to know their body better, because the physical body really affects the mind, which affects mental health. It’s all interconnected which is one of the biggest things that I have learned from charting.
Charting tells me a lot about my body and I need that information to rationalize why I’m feeling a certain way and also to explain to myself why I’m feeling a certain way. There are some days when my depression and my anxiety has completely taken over and if I have this data in front of me, I’m able to tell myself in those really bad freakin terrible moments that “hey this is normal, this has happened before.” “This is where you’re at in your cycle so that’s why these things are probably happening. Everything is ok and there’s no need to worry. Just trust the chart, trust the data that you’ve collected and keep moving forward.”
So…. charting has really really helped my mental health. I highly recommend that you do it too!
What fertility charting method do you use?