Wednesday, April 21

Read, write, record your take while social distancing, self-isolation

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When you stop to think about it, it’s baffling that this is where we are — unable to leave the house, worrying about supplies, frantic about what the world will look like when this crisis is done.

In trying times when the individual has little control over their environment, it can help to document your times and your thoughts about them.

Maintaining a daily log or journal helps acknowledge feelings and bring perspective, says Natasha Mehta, a counselling psychologist. “Record thoughts in any form — text, verse, video. It helps bring clarity, and with clarity comes strength.”

To get started…

Choose a time, and schedule your journaling. Perhaps every morning or night, perhaps 4 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Whatever works for you. But if you don’t pin it down to a slot, chances are it won’t happen.

Start by documenting your day — what you did and what you felt. Rohini Kejriwal from Bengaluru, who curates an art and poetry newsletter called Alipore Post, starts by writing down her mood at the time of journaling, and listing all the nice things she did for herself in the day. “I do a little doodle on the side to liven things up, and because I love to doodle,” she says.

Aditi Surana, a graphologist and performance coach, is holding anti-anxiety journaling workshops live on Instagram every day, till April 14.

She recommends that you ask yourself a few questions: ‘What are the things I took for granted today?’, ‘What’s bothering me right now?’, ‘What do I need to do about it?’

There’s also a ‘30-day guide to journaling’ by New-York-based artist and author Amber Rae. Sign up and she’ll email you interesting prompts daily, accompanied by a feel-good message.

Once you get started, you can set your own rules. Blogger Samah Marium, for instance, has recently added a section to her journal called ‘Snippets of my friends losing it’. “They are all funny entries; sort of dark humour,” she says.

‘At least now we’ll be prepared for an apocalypse; think of this as a rehearsal,’ goes one of her notes, quoting a close friend’s frustration.

Kejriwal says it was her therapist that got her into the habit of journaling. “My iPad is where I journal and doodle, and it has often helped me see the bigger picture. I can also trace who I was some time ago and who I am today, and most days it feels like I’m becoming a better me.”