The other night when I was out walking the dog with my husband I asked him which was his least favourite month of the year. “January,” he said, without hesitating.
I think many people would agree. The holidays have come and gone, the weather is still miserable, and there’s not a whole lot to look forward to this month (except for my mom’s birthday, of course – sorry mom!).
But really, there’s a reason Blue Monday – the ‘most depressing day of the year’ – falls on a day in January (even if it is considered a bit of a PR stunt). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is in full swing, and many people are struggling more than ever to get out of bed and maintain levels of energy throughout the day.
So, if you’re feeling extra low this month you are most certainly not alone.
I have to admit, this is the first January in a while in which I haven’t felt any SAD symptoms tug at my mood. I think there are a few different reasons for this, one being the newfound freedom and relief I feel after making a big career change. Last fall, however, I was feeling like a completely different person – stressed out, burnt out and extremely frustrated.
My move to becoming a full-time entrepreneur, together with the launch of The Reply, has brought many positive changes to my life. One of these changes lies in my writing habits.
I write everyday.
This isn’t new – it’s something I have been doing for years now. But when I was working full-time for someone else, I was writing what I had to write. Now, I’m writing what I want to write.
I’m writing real stories based on interviews with real millennials for The Reply, featuring topics that influence my own everyday life as well as the lives of our readers. I’m also blogging again on Web of Words, where I write about positivity, creative muse and life as an entrepreneur, tracking my highs and lows along the way. And I even started writing in a journal again.
What’s your point, you ask?
Writing makes me happy. And it could do the same for you.
Last week, New York Times contributor Tara Parker-Pope wrote a story called Writing Your Way to Happiness. In it, she references recent studies which have proved “writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders.” Not only that, but it’s also found to “help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory.”
For my fellow writers and bloggers, I doubt this is much of a surprise. The reason most of us started writing in the first place because we enjoy the way the words make us feel.
But I’m hoping this may inspire others to consider taking up the craft. You don’t have to be a good writer to write in a journal. No one else has to read your words. Focus on writing down your thoughts, capturing your personal experiences, and reflecting on your goals in your life and career – big and small. Track your progress along the way, noting challenges that arise and the solutions you found to overcome these hurdles.
Be completely honest with yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you discover.
Do you believe it’s possible to write your way to happiness? Share your thoughts in the comments below.