I have found it challenging to sit and relax over the last week or so. I haven’t been interested in reading a book (which is rare for me), nor have I had ideas for writing topics floating in my head like I usually do. So when I picked up my prayer journal this morning I realized I had not written in it for over a week, and my thoughts and feelings had been cooped up inside of me and I needed to get them out.
So I took a moment to write an entry. It wasn’t long, it wasn’t poetic by any means, but it helped me focus and a few things became clear to me:
Journaling our feelings, thoughts, and fears can be helpful for several reasons.
What we are experiencing is unprecedented and uncharted. There is no normal, routines are mixed up, uncertainty is present, and each day new data points are brought to light. And we need time to process.
Journaling through challenging times allows us to capture:
- documentation for this unique moment in our lives (this is how history will view this time),
- identifying our emotions and how we are dealing with everything (this is to help you process what is going on),
- freeing up space in our brains to do something else.
I’m a firm believer in writing stuff down. Journals can help document, store, and be a great outlet to think. Sometimes we keep things in our head and it spins around and around in ways that prevent us from being able to focus on other tasks.
I’d been blank for what I wanted to write about for my monthly blog post. After I journaled, an idea became quite clear. I love to journal. I love to document. I love to express myself with words. And I would love to help you be able to do that do.
You can write in a journal book (any would do) or just a piece of paper. (If you are interested in sample journal pages you can download here under point #1). You can also type in a google/word doc, or your notes app in your phone.
Question prompts for journaling during these challenging times.
Remember there is no wrong way to journal. The importance is getting your thoughts written down.
- Describe what is happening today, right now in the world.
- How are you specifically impacted by what’s going on?
- How does this make you feel overall?
- Are your feelings changing moment by moment, day by day? What’s the range of emotions you are feeling?
- Who are you worried about? It’s okay to write it in a paragraph or list format right there in your entry, or write it to the side or on another sheet. There is no wrong way to journal.
- What are you most disappointed about?
- What do you miss the most?
- What is something you are able to do because of this, that you normally don’t do?
- What is something new you have learned (either about yourself or skill) because of this situation?
- How is this history in the making?
- Where are you getting your news? What resources are you checking regularly?
- How are you staying in touch with people? Who are you staying in touch with?
- Are you communicating differently than normal? What exactly are you doing differently?
- How are these differences impacting you?
- What is something you want to remember, so you can tell your grandchildren years from now?
You could give yourself intervals to answer these questions every three days or once a week.
Knowing that our “normal” right now will last more than a month or so, our emotions and feelings will most likely expand, change, float, and bounce around our homes. My prayer is that this is helpful for you as well as a fun exercise to document this time in your life.
Let me know in the comments, any additional questions you might’ve come up with during your journaling time, and I can add them to the list.
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