The winter months can be tough on everyone. Between the long nights and the cold weather, it's no wonder that many people complain about seasonal affective disorder (SAD). But did you know that journaling is one of the best ways to get through the winter blues? I know that sounds odd, but it's true! Here's how journaling can help:
Journaling is one of the best ways to get through the winter blues.
Journaling is one of the best ways to get through the winter blues. Writing down your feelings, thoughts and experiences can help you understand yourself better, which in turn helps you find solutions to problems.
Journaling has been scientifically proven to improve anxiety and depressive symptoms and can reduce stress. It also boosts positive emotions and improves memory. It's often an overlooked method to improve mental health!
Here is how to journal for your SAD this winter:
One of the most effective ways to combat SAD and boost your mood is to practice gratitude. When you're feeling blue, it can be easy to focus on all the things in life that are going wrong or don't meet your expectations. However, if you take the time to write down things for which you are grateful (even if they seem small), this will help shift your perspective from negative feelings towards more positive ones.
Be specific and concrete when writing about your gratitude: Try not only listing general categories such as "family" or "friends," but also write down specific names of people who have made an impact on your life--or even just little things like having access to clean water! The more detail-oriented this exercise is, the more likely it will work its magic on improving how much joy and satisfaction comes into play each day.*
Set aside time to reflect.
If you can, make setting aside time to reflect a part of your daily routine. Reflecting is a way to think about the past and future. It's a way of taking stock of your life, looking at what's working, what isn't working and then planning accordingly.
Reflecting can help you with your goals because it gives you an opportunity to make changes in your behaviour or environment that will improve how you feel about yourself and others around you. For example: if one of my goals is being healthier then reflecting on how I've been eating lately might lead me down some paths where I realize that maybe I need more protein at every meal instead of just lunch & dinner (like most people). Or maybe if another goal was getting better sleep each night; reflecting on why today wasn't so great might give me insight into what went wrong so next time won't go badly either which hopefully leads into better quality sleep overall!
Write down your emotions, but don't be afraid of negative things.
It's okay to feel bad sometimes. It's okay to feel like crap, or tired, or stressed out. Depression can sometimes distort our thoughts and view of the world. That feeling of being overwhelmed is simply your brain telling you that it needs more time and space to process the input it has received today.
A good way to cope with feelings of overwhelm and regulate your negative emotions is to write them all down. Don't be afraid to write about the negative, the bad, the ugly. But also, don't forget any positive emotions you have felt! It's hard not to dwell on the bad stuff that happens in your life or in the world around you so always try to balance this with daily gratitude or some positive emotions or experiences you have felt.
Focus on the future.
Nothing lasts forever. Winter will soon pass, the dark nights will soon pass and your negative feelings and emotions will pass too. How you are currently feeling, won't last forever.
As you write, focus on the future and what you can do to improve your situation. Don't be afraid to write about negative things that are happening in your life, but try to also include optimistic thoughts about how they will get better.
Keeping a journal is an easy way to deal with seasonal affective disorder. Journaling helps you feel better about yourself and get in touch with your feelings, which can make it easier to cope with SAD. It's also a great way to find solutions to problems--you can write out your worries, then look at them later when you're feeling more positive and come up with solutions that will help you overcome these issues!