Stress during lockdown? Starting a diary can help
Writing is great way to deal with the stress of being on lockdown
Nowadays we are experiencing a completely new situation due to Covid-19. The lockdown has forced us to stay at home and our routine has changed drastically. Working from home and not being able to do those outdoor activities we used to enjoy can be extremely stressful for us.
Despite the recommendations and free activities we can find on the web, we may feel that they are not enough, so we desperately try finding new ways to keep busy and entertain ourselves to cope. One thing is for sure, this lockdown is not going to be forever and we will go back to our lives, but in the meantime we need to find ways to mitigate our level of stress.
Writing: A creative way to enjoy ourselves
When our workday ends, the first activities we often choose to do are watching TV, playing video games, surfing the net from our mobiles, reading a book, cooking, cleaning the house or video calling our family and friends. But what about reading, and especially writing? The first thing we need to do is find that place in our house where we can feel comfortable, then switch some things around to make it our special writing spot and finally start enjoying our creative and communicative process.
My advice: just begin by writing a word or two, a single phrase or a complete sentence. The most important thing here is finding a way to express our thoughts on paper. We never know what the outcome of this activity could be. It may be a diary, a short story for kids, an article for a blog or even a book. I believe our mind is full of stories and incredible ideas that could benefit ourselves and others if they are put on paper.
Writing as a communicative process
According to Scott (1996) and Squire (1983), the writing process aims to express and share ideas permanently through graphic representations. It is a non-linear, recursive means of communication meant to build knowledge, significant meanings while editing and restructuring throughout the process. It is also considered by White (1981) as an unnatural process, but it undoubtedly offers endless ways to express what is in our mind and keep a record of every idea. While spoken words could vanish in seconds, written ideas remain in time.
Certainly, we do not speak as we write and vice versa; but when we do write, it definitely helps a lot to organize our ideas. Sometimes we write many things that we might not say while speaking. Writing gives us the chance to continue improving those ideas, editing and even changing our point of view once we finish it. It is a fact that we are all writers. We write emails, text messages, we used to write letters and postcards and some of us used to write diaries. For this reason, I think that going back to writing diaries could help us to get through these lockdown days.
Writing a diary could help
There are many examples of people who started writing a diary to overcome difficult situations and people who just wanted to share their life experiences. The variety we can find in diary content is extensive; from hard experiences to the most uplifting and encouraging ones.
First of all, find that old notebook you bought a long time ago and only used a couple of pages, or any other notebook you have at home. Then, take a pen or pencil and begin writing any idea that comes to your mind. You could also write it on your computer, but I would recommend doing it the old school way. I think that being in touch with paper, pencils or pens may influence your process in a better way.
Write about your experience working from home and how telecommuting has had an impact on your life, express your emotions and those feelings related to the activities that help you avoid feeling stressed and finally burn out. It could be possible that writing down everything in your mind becomes an exercise to relax, as coloring Mandalas or listening to guided meditation is.
Perhaps putting these ideas and feelings on paper can help you to drain away negative thoughts and at the same time, help you to keep productive while learning and improving new skills. Writing is a process that requires time and dedication, but also should be a practice you perform because you want to do it. In my opinion, it won’t work if you force yourself to write.
Let the ideas come to you like they were sent by the Writing Muse, write as much as you want, stop whenever you feel it is the moment to, read what you have written, erase or cross those ideas you don’t like anymore, start over; but most important, feel free of writing anything you want: no matter if at the end you will share it or lock it up.
Whatever you decide will be ok, as long as you feel writing helps you balance your thoughts and feelings.