In Part 1 of Journaling during COVID-19, we talked about ideas on how to document what is happening to you individually and also in the community and around the world. When your descendants or future historians come across your journal, what will they learn about the pandemic and how it affected you? In this second part, we are going to dig deeper – into your heart, to face your emotions and to find meaning behind what we’re all going through. By contemplating the below questions, and really giving some time to reflect and write it out, you’ll be able to release them from your mind and implement positive changes and a productive mindset.
What makes you sad? Has someone close to you become victim to the deadly virus? Is it the women facing violence at home? Outbreaks in seniors homes? What is it about pandemic news that hits you hardest? Why is that? You should also reflect on how much news you are consuming and whether you think you should adjust that amount. What’s the hardest change you’ve had to adjust to? No doubt our daily lives have changed a lot in recent months. While some changes have been less challenging, some have been so hard that we are still trying to adjust. Try pinpointing one or two things that you still find difficult to deal with and write down some ideas on how to overcome them. Sometimes, it helps to pretend you are giving advice to a friend who’s facing this challenge. Just keep an open mind and not be restricted by your habitual thinking and mental blocks. Don’t underestimate small wins While we all have challenges, we’re also finding success in some areas of our new life. What are those areas? Write them down and let yourself realize what you’ve accomplished. Even if they are not big things, such as writing a book or deep cleaning the entire house, you can be content with small wins. And why not turn them into advice to give to others? You’ll never know if your handy tricks can help someone move from surviving to thriving. Reflect on the changes you would like to permanently implement What will be your new normal? You are in charge of your future. When things start to open up again and life starts to go back to full-speed, what would you like to hang on to from your quarantine days? Make a list of things you want to maintain – perhaps it’s your new journaling practice, playing board games with the family, or continuing online courses that you began. This lock-down forced us all to slow things down, and we can use this opportunity to press the reset button and decide what kind of lifestyle we want post-quarantine. What’s the silver lining? Perhaps this is closely connected to the previous question, but reflect on whether some good has come out of this crisis. What have you heard others say is the silver lining, and could they be right? If you do not see it, open your mind and your heart and brainstorm. Listen to your intuition and trust that your thoughts on this are not random. What are the first few things you will do when it’s safe? To wrap it up, what are you excited about and what are a few things that you will do as soon as you can? Go visit loved ones? Get back to the gym? How about cravings that need to be satisfied, like a double scoop ice cream in a waffle cone at your fav ice cream shop? This list may change over time, so start a new page just for this, and add to it when new ideas come to mind. Here are two final pieces of advice: take your time and be vulnerable. Your journal is allowed to hold your deepest secrets and most personal confessions. It is a silent friend who will help you learn about yourself, inspire you to conjure up new ideas, and allow you to do the most productive and valuable brain dumps. Get a new pen and journal if you think that can help give you some motivation and energy.
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WRITTEN BY LESLIE TAN
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Thank You to Leslie Tan for contributing to The Collective's Blog