Journaling: The Perfect Winter Activity
December 4, 2015
By: Adrienne Fouts
If you’re a student reading this, the last thing you want to do once exams are over is anything that resembles schoolwork, but I’m here to try to convince you to write every day over break. But don’t worry—you don’t need to do research, develop a thesis, or worry about formatting. All you need to do is keep a journal!
Journaling is actually the perfect activity to try over winter break. Why? It gives you something to do as you’re cooped up inside, and it is more productive than, say, watching Netflix all day long. It can also help beat the wintertime blues: journaling has been found to improve one’s mood and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some studies have even found physical improvements in people who journal often, including improvements in sleeping patterns and drops in blood pressure. Furthermore, journaling can help sort through your personal thoughts and feelings as well as record details of your life that you want to remember.
The best part about journaling is that there’s no pressure associated with it—you don’t have to show it to anyone and you don’t have to turn it in for a grade. In fact, it’s important to not think much at all while journaling. Writing in a stream-of-consciousness style (continuously writing whatever comes into your mind) allows your thoughts to flow straight from your brain to the paper as they occur. Expressive free-writing can help you gain a new perspective on something, work through a problem, or reveal thoughts and ideas you didn’t know you had. An interesting fact that explains why journaling works so well (especially when you’re writing by hand rather than typing): the act of writing utilizes the left hemisphere of the brain, which is more analytical and rational, and this frees the right side of your brain to access your feelings and creativity.
Journaling has many benefits and is a great way to stay sharp over winter break! To get yourself in the habit, try blocking off just 10 minutes or so each day meant for writing continuously. Even this small amount of journaling can affect your life in a positive way, and you may find that you want to keep writing even after the 10 minutes are over. As a result of all this extra (but more fun) writing, you’ll return to school better prepared for the next semester. Even though journaling doesn’t involve being conscious of style and grammar, improvement occurs simply by the act of writing and processing your own thoughts and memories.
This winter, escape the cold by curling up with some blankets, a mug of hot chocolate, and your favorite notebook and pen. Free your thoughts onto paper! You may discover something new about yourself in the process.