Every week until the winter solstice, I am going to write about living with the seasons and their affect on us. I hope it might help someone. Just know that I love you.
I am affected by the seasons. Affected is actually not a strong enough word. Ruled. Directed. Commanded.
Do you notice any shifts with the seasons? Now is the time to begin, as the seasons may change dramatically (depending on your location). Let’s talk about how to notice. Ways to watch yourself.
This is an important practice, since seasonal mood changes can be subtle (yet powerful) and it’s difficult to extract them from the context of seasonal events. Consider some reflection this year about the way you relate to your natural world.
Keep a record of your moods.
I used to track my mood on an app called Optimism. The results can be quite enlightening. Depression can affect your memory, so tracking how you feel helps you get an accurate record of your experience.
If you find it hard to rate how you’re feeling, you can also take this online inventory from Mind Over Mood which will give you a number. This has been helpful for me to see my progress or see when my depression & anxiety gets to a level where I need to change something.
Listen to yourself.
Sometimes I hear myself say something and I didn’t know I felt that way. Sometimes I hear myself say something terribly cruel about myself.
The first step is noticing. It’s a bit intimidating to think about trying to change that or how to stop the thoughts, so don’t worry about that. Just notice.
Meditation really helps with this in my experience. Here’s simple instructions from Zen Habits.
Journal your thoughts.
Try not to think too much about it, just start. This method is called stream of consciousness journaling (more on this in The Artist’s Way), where you just write whatever comes in your head. If you feel like to you have no one to talk to, or you’re not comfortable talking about it yet, journaling helps get your thoughts out of your head. It can really, really help with self understanding too. As you write, you might find things out about yourself.