Beeminder Forum

How do you beemind mental health?

Those who are concerned about your mental health / stress levels, what do you beemind? how do you beemind it?

I would do something like:

  • find common stressors and try to reduce them
  • build up habits and strategies to improve some situations

One thing that stops me from beeminding mental health habits (like meditation) is putting more pressure onto myself and to my day to day, so it gets worse, rather than better.

Any thoughts will be appreciated.

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This is one thing that I regularly ponder, and want to eventually do a blog post about. I think it’s pretty individual, depending on your needs – I found that it was useful for me to significantly slim down what I’m beeminding, and beemind only things from three key areas which I wanted to make progress with or keep up good habits with, rather than beemind everything I could possibly think of.

That helped (until recently when I started expanding what I’m doing again), and I did find that the best things to beemind are things which are directly under my control, and which I can do in a relatively short period of time, with the ability to overachieve and build up buffer. While a lot of my goals aren’t about mental health per se, having my routine in Beeminder – and setting goals with those provisos – means I can be sure that a lot of stuff is under control by the time I’ve been through my whole dashboard (which I do every day).

I think the most impactful thing for me has beeminding my work time, not to do more but to have a strict cutoff for the number of hours per day. The other thing is beeminding my reading time, because I know (through a month-long experiment) that my mental health improves when I get more reading time. Obviously those two are linked: work less (and to a specific schedule), and thus read more.

So for me the tactic was to start simple, and link them. You want to limit x, which frees up more time/energy/brainspace for y.

Next step for me is probably beeminding sticking to a strict work schedule as well as amount of work done!

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Definitely Beemind inputs, not outputs.

The title seemed really scary to me, as it seemed to be about Beeminding extremely indirect result, what would not go well.

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Great to hear!

Maybe what I was looking for, even though I am conscious that this is something that depends from person to person, I was looking for broad general answers, common or not, about the most typical beeminded things when people struggle with mental health, both in goals and in ways of beeminding like “using enough buffer” or “having a goal of cleaning up my place”.

It might be useful to have some guidelines on the most typical beeminded things on that sense and how to beemind when things are hard. I know that there is already some information on blog / forum, but maybe a recap would be a great exercise.

All those are definately good ideas to keep in mind. Thanks! :smiley:

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Some more thoughts, which may eventually be sucked into a blog post draft:

I think for a lot of people, time spent “doomscrolling” on the news/Twitter/Facebook is worth beeminding. One of my things is the time I spend on Slack – either Slack or Twitter will be the next things I beemind, I think!

For mental health boosting: exercise, yoga, meditation, bedtime/amount of sleep, social time… I think “reading” can be a good one for some people because it’s maybe slower and less over-stimulating than online/videogames/tv.

For a while, when my anxiety was bad, I actually beeminded “leaving the flat”. I didn’t have to do it for long, I just had to leave the building and spend at least five minutes outside, and our balcony did not count. I’ve also beeminded getting dressed before a certain time, since being a freelancer means I can spend all day in my PJs if I want… but it’s not a healthy impulse for me.

I’ve also beeminded compulsive behaviours. Not all of them worked (no skinpicking goal has ever worked for me), but some did (nailbiting worked well, I beeminded “days without biting” rather than “number of times”, which I found too difficult to track). The big winner for me was the number of times I was allowed to ask for reassurance about perceived medical issues (I have health anxiety, which is the polite way to say I’m a hypochondriac) – I had a do-less goal that allowed me a certain number of times per month, which I gradually reduced.

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Similar to that for me is doom-switching - flicking back and forth between files, websites, and tasks lists, maybe doing a tiny bit of work on each or just switching then gazing in overwhelmed horror then switching again. It can suck up hours on a bad day.

I’ve had a lot of success with controlling it with my starting not staring goal. I use Tag Time whenever I’m on my laptop (where the problem is most severe), with just four tags: Frozen/SwitchingAimlessly, PoorUseOfTime, WorkingEffectively, and N/A, because I’m only interested in how well I’m spending my time, not what I’m spending it on. Then I have a hacky script that runs at the start of each day to populate the goal: it reads the TagTime log, finds the entries for the previous day, takes a sort of average but where each tag has a different weighting, and puts the single average data point into the goal. If my entire day is WorkingEffectively the data point is 1 (rare!) but use of the other tags will make it lower than 1, with Frozen/SwitchingAimlessly having a much larger negative effect than PoorUseOfTime (the N/A tag is ignored and doesn’t affect the point).

I’m actually surprised by how quickly it helped me break the doom-switching habit. I hardly ever use Frozen/SwitchingAimlessly now.

If anyone’s significantly interested and/or wants to see the hacky bash script, I guess could do a forum thread for it, but maybe it’s just something that works for my brain. :slight_smile:

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Doom-switching! I like it. I’ll admit to having a similar problem, but lack both Tagtime (since I’m a Windows user) and any knowledge of anything to make scripts work. :grin:

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