The past month has been difficult for me with new mental health symptoms, diagnoses, and medications. Because of my new symptom of fluctuating between having very little energy or motivation and then feeling very motivated and over-confident, my health care team has assigned me the task of completing a daily mood tracker.
Every day, I write down how much sleep I got, my mood, and any avoidance or impulsive behaviors I experienced. I try to add to my entries at 12PM and 10PM each day to hold myself to a schedule and gather data I can share with my therapist at the beginning of each week. I’m currently a college student and my days typically consist of remote classes, meetings, time for studying, and sleeping. I also try to see friends and have some breaks for watching a show or doing a page of calligraphy.
I suggest everyone tries this type of structured journaling, no matter what you may be struggling with because it has helped me to reflect on my good and bad days and see more of a grey area in my current quality of life. Another small nod to my username, finding the beauty in between the good and the bad seasons of life. The more we write down our feelings and behaviors, the more we can see them in hindsight and identify any proactive or reactive steps we took to prevent or deal with the consequences of our actions.
Although it wasn’t required, I’ve also included a section for gratitude at the end of my mood tracking entries because this is something that keeps me grounded in what I have to be thankful for despite ever-changing circumstances.
So try it out! I’ve seen some people color-code their moods, use one-word descriptions, or write a whole narrative of their day. Do whatever works best for you and your schedule to help you reflect at the end of each day and week.
Do you have a journal or diary that you use regularly? How has it helped you? Do you have a routine associated with it?