Documenting Your Journey Through the Pandemic

Written by on May 20, 2020 in Self-Awareness, Self-Care

Remember when you took toilet paper and grocery shopping for granted, sleeping until 11 AM was a luxury, and you’d give anything just to have a quiet day at home?

That was before social isolation, supply shortages, face masks, homeschooling, and washing your hands every 20-minutes became the new norm.

Before the days began blurring one into the other.

With so much disruption and uncertainty it’s easy to overlook that we’re living through a significant event in history, and in ways that may not become fully apparent until much later, a period of life-altering transition.

This is why I encourage you to record it all in a journal.

Document your experiences, the inconveniences, and disappointments as well as the joys and sweet moments of caring and generosity, so that you will remember and appreciate the journey and how you managed to get through it.

Life During the Pandemic

Documenting your journey through the pandemic is not about proving anything to yourself (or others) about how productive you were or how much you accomplished.

It’s recording an important period in your life that may otherwise become little more than a hazy memory.

But it’s also working through your feelings and emotions as you become more self-aware and reaffirm what matters most to you.

The more honest and vulnerable you can be, the more enjoyable and meaningful the process (and outcome) will be for you.

Your experiences may include missed birthdays, or canceled weddings, what it’s like to go to the grocery store, or how you dealt with work and finance challenges.

But there will also be times when you’re able to laugh at yourself or share touching stories.

Just yesterday there was a great story about a woman who wore a sterilized hippo costume to a Virginia retirement home just so she could hug her mother.

There will be days when you pour your heart out page after page about the struggle to cope with your fears and financial concerns, while other days you may just refer to something you learned.  

One of my entries is how I discovered a combination of lemon juice and baking soda can be used as a substitute for yeast. That’s it. 

Out of context that would seem silly, but with the exploding interest in baking bread if you’ve tried to find yeast in the grocery store lately, it makes perfect sense.

The act of putting your thoughts in writing validates your feelings and encourages you to think more deeply about your life, which helps you to regain a sense of equilibrium.

Journal Prompts

Prompts serve as a valuable trigger for many so I created the following list in the hope that it may provide some inspiration to get you started.

  1. What have you learned about yourself as a result of your experiences during the pandemic?
  2. Have your feelings changed about your home and family life?
  3. How are you feeling about the world and how it has changed because of the pandemic?
  4. What do you miss the most about life from before this outbreak?
  5. What do you miss the least about life from before this outbreak?
  6. What changes do you think this pandemic has caused that will still be around years from now?
  7. What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your experiences?
  8. What are you doing with all your extra time? Are you binge-watching Netflix or Disney+, creating art, writing, sleeping? Explain your answer in as much detail as you can.
  9. How are you keeping up with your social activities, friends, relationships?
  10. What have you done to show your gratitude to those working to keep life going?

Closing Thoughts

When we get through this – and we will get through it – there will be a readily available vaccine and a standard set of treatments.

But even then, life will probably never return to exactly what it was before the pandemic started. History will be divided into the time before the outbreak and the time after.

It may not feel like it right now when you’re in the eye of the storm, but in the future, you will want to look back and reflect on this time.

You may even want to share your thoughts and experiences.

Many universities, libraries, and historical societies are busy documenting this journey and have set up programs inviting people to submit COVID19 journals. 

It’s not too late to participate so if you’re interested you might check online for programs using the search term “COVID19 Journal Project”. 

Whether you choose to share or not, I hope you’ll consider taking the time to document at least some of your experiences because in time these journals will be seen as a celebration of life. 

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach, and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies, and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living Start Here.

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