Hello WIMBAs and welcome to another fantastic episode. How have you been feeling? I’ve been reading and hearing from clients that burnout rates keep rising. The latest statistic I read was that 52% of workers are feeling at least a little burned out. And since you’re in healthcare, your numbers might be even higher.
And I also just heard someone say that she has struggled with depression her whole life and to her burnout feels no different from depression.
So if you’re someone who struggles with low mood and you’d like to improve your mood and feel happier overall, I dedicate this episode to you.
Here’s how we’re going to tackle this today. This is something I used to do with many of my depressed clients when I was working as a therapist in private practice. I would encourage them to track their mood.
If you’re new to mood tracking, I’m going to explain exactly what I mean by this, why this is to your benefit, and how you can do it effectively.
So mood tracking is where you keep track of your mood – plain and simple. You’ve probably heard of gratitude journaling. That’s where you write down something you’re grateful for each day. Well, mood tracking is where you’re keeping tabs of your mood every day.
This is important for a few reasons. Eva Hoffman, author of How to Be Bored, shares hers. She says,“If we rush ceaselessly through disconnected activities without checking in on our moods or motives, we can lose track of ourselves; in a sense, we lose the ability to experience our experiences.”
So mood tracking is that self check-in that requires you to take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Not only does it help you be more present and aware, but it gives you data that you can look back on and see if your mood is improving over time.
And because you’re all women listening to this, realize that mood tracking is even more important for us because our mood can fluctuate quite a bit when we’re menstruating. Many of my clients reported a dip in their mood around the time of their period. When they started tracking their mood, they were able to make the connection between their cycle and their mood and prepare mentally and even take some precautions ahead of time to stabilize their mood.
I hope by now you’re seeing the value of tracking your mood. Now the question is how to do it.
There are a few different types of mood trackers and based on your personal preference you can choose what will work best for you.
If you are someone who likes to journal and hold a physical notebook in your hand, then having a mood journal might be a great way to go. This is where you write for yourself about your mood that day. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the day perhaps after you get home from work or before you go to sleep. And again, depending on your preference, you can keep it open in terms of format or you can have it more structured where every day you answer the same questions. You might rate your mood on a scale of 1-10 as an example.
You might reflect on how certain behaviors or daily activities influenced your mood. For instance, does your mood decline after a bad night’s sleep? Do you feel more irritable when you eat certain foods or when you don’t eat on time? Noticing these connections will help you be more mindful of your choices and then prevent an emotional rollercoaster from happening.
What do you do when you’re in a certain emotional state? Reflecting on your coping techniques is also instructive because if you use a technique that isn’t improving your mood and you realize it, you can start to be more strategic about when and what coping strategies to use.
Maybe you’re not so into writing freestyle about your situation, but want to understand what contributes to your mood and how to shift it. That’s where doing a thought log might come in handy. This is where you have more of a worksheet that you fill out about what happened that day, what your thoughts were about it, how it made you feel, and what you did. This connects the dots between your thoughts and feelings and gives you more awareness of how it’s not the circumstances, but your thoughts about them that created your feelings. In other words, it can help you identify triggers that affect your mood or lead to mood swings.
To recap, there are loads of benefits to mood tracking. One of the biggest is self-awareness. By tracking your mood, you get to better understand what triggers your mood swings. These can include internal factors like your thoughts, your hormones, your fatigue levels, your diet, etc. They can also include external factors like the weather, how you feel when you engage in certain activities, or how you feel around certain individuals. It can inform whether the way you cope is helpful or not and shine a light on what you should do more or less of. We also talked about different ways to track your mood depending on your particular preferences.
So now that you have all this information, if you’re someone who is serious about improving your mood, take the next step and start tracking it.
And if the mood you’re stuck in is burnout and you want me to coach you on that, sign up for a free Breakthrough Session by going to: www.bookachatwithsharon.com
You don’t have to continue to struggle. Your mood doesn’t have to be a mystery. You can master your emotions and live a more balanced and happy life. Let’s go!