coronavirus, Mental Health

Writing your way through your new normal


Journaling or keeping a diary (and more recently, blogging) has always been a useful tool in our daily lives. Journaling helps maintain control of our moods, thoughts and feelings by allowing us to focus on our concerns, problems and fears while providing us with a creative outlet. 

It has been shown to improve mental health, with the University of Rochester Medical Center stating that journaling can help people with:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Stress

Currently, the Coronavirus 2019 Pandemic is causing a lot of change around the world and with constant updates every ten minutes, it’s normal for people to feel a bit anxious and stressed out. With a large number of people in the world stuck at home, it’s easy to feel bored and shut off from the rest of the world. This is where journaling comes in. By keeping a regular journal, you will be able to process your thoughts and emotions with regards to the virus, as well as focus on other areas of your life such as gratitude and self-discovery.

How to start journaling:

First, you will need a notebook (or paper) and a pen or, if you want to blog instead – a working computer, tablet or phone. 

If you don’t already have a blog, you can create one for free* using:

If you would prefer not to post your journal prompt responses online – you can use a word processing software like Microsoft Word or Notepad to record your answers. 

There are also free* online-based alternatives like: 

*(note: you may need a working email address to sign up to these services)

Secondly, it can be challenging to write in journals so the key is to pace yourself. Do not force yourself to write if you’re not feeling up to – this is supposed to be a relaxing task, not a chore! Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation – write whatever you want and do not feel pressured to show it to anyone. Your journal is personal and private and should only be shared if you want to. 

Some tips for getting into the best frame of mind for writing are:

  • Make yourself comfortable (e.g. play some soothing music in the background, make a cup of tea/coffee and find a quiet spot to write in if possible).
  • Try to set a goal – i.e. one entry a day
  • Have a set time for journaling – this may make it easier for you to stick to it

Some example journal prompts can be found here.

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