De-stressing with Bente (#12)


Learning to relax again: how do you manage to do that? Bente (23) is a freelance journalist and works as an online editor at Flow. Having experienced a near-burn-out, she’s finding her way to a life with less stress. And every Friday, she takes us with her on her journey to get there.

A few months ago, I met up with a friend for lunch, and during our conversation, she told me, “You really should keep a bullet journal. It makes your life a lot easier.” She then showed me her notebook. There were double-page spreads with monthly goals, as well as pages listing weekly and even daily appointments and to dos. As she thumbed through her journal, she continued. “It’s like an agenda and to-do list in one. Very handy.”

I could use more overview in my sometimes-chaotic life, and so I decided to purchase a journal like that for myself too. The purpose of it is that you fill the pages in yourself. This can be very practical, but after looking on Pinterest, I soon saw that many people turn it into a true work of art: from scribbles in the margin to complete portrait drawings and full-page collages. I wanted that too.


But I am not an artist, and the pages did not benefit from my attempts, aesthetically-wise. The bullet journal was supposed to make my life less stressful, but it only left me feeling frustrated. After a few weeks of trying, I was so discouraged by my boring-looking pages that I quit.

My boyfriend Nick thought that was a great shame. “You are far too much of a perfectionist,” he told me. “A journal like that does not have to be beautiful; it’s main aim is to be practical.” He had a point there. Of course. I was so focused on making Pinterest-worthy pages, that I barely dared to write down my tasks and appointments—which is what the whole system is all about. But even so, I didn’t pick up my bullet journal again. ‘It’s not for me’, I thought.

Until Nick placed a brightly colored package in my hands. I unwrapped it to find a brand-new bullet journal inside. “Now,” he said, “this time, let that striving-for-perfection of yours go, and remember: good is good enough.” I wrote those last words on the front page. In simple uppercase letters.

  • Bente’s other blogs can be found here.

Photography ©Estée Janssens/Unsplash