Tag Archives: journalling

*Gather your thoughts*.

It’s 14th July 2020, and we’ve well passed the half way point of this year. I’ve no doubt at all that our thoughts at the start of this year as to what we might be doing or what the world would look like were very different to what has actually transpired in our personal and collective experiences.

I remember, at the start of the year, writing down a list of EU countries that I haven’t been to that I’d like to travel to before the practical changes related to ‘Brexit’ (remember that?!) come into force. We may well make plans, but we cannot put our Trust in those plans. This year has definitely been a collective lesson in that.

I don’t know anyone who thought we’d be living through a pandemic in 2020. The year ‘2020’ sounded much too ‘perfect’, too well rounded, ‘visionary’, and aspirational for anything like that. How wrong we all were.

However, let’s not ‘right this year off’ just yet, if that’s what you feel inclined to do. While there have been challenges and struggles and disappointments, there have also been opportunities to learn, grow, reflect and change.

We’re at a change point (in UK at least), where having been in lockdown for the past 4 months, restrictions are beginning to ease and society is gradually ‘opening up’ once more. Yet, what we are phasing back into isn’t quite the same as what we knew before. We now inhabit a world of the infamous ‘new normal’ that we’re all still trying to adjust to – a world of facemasks, social / physical distancing, R numbers, ‘coughing etiquette’, ‘elbow bumps’ as greetings, planned and limited interactions, and other changes to our daily lives.

Some people are excited to get back out into the world, while others find the prospect daunting, especially as the coronavirus is not yet a thing of the past.

I think at this point in time, especially if we are struggling with anxiety, apprehension, uncertainty and reluctance, it is important to take time to reframe our thoughts.

I’ve been doing this, in part, by putting together a little craft / keepsake journal to help me process and make sense of this year. Something that helps me see the positives, the lessons learned and the accomplishments that have blossomed through an otherwise collectively concerning and challenging year. By looking back to reframe our view of the year so far, we will be in a better position to look forwards as we approach what lies ahead.

We face unknowns and uncertainties as we ease out of lockdown – however, we also faced unknowns and uncertainties at the start of this process, and we have all made it through, despite the ups and downs we might have faced along the way.

While for some, reintegrating into society sounds exciting and appealing, for others, especially with underlying and pre-existing conditions in which anxiety plays a part, change can be daunting.

We’ve learned to plan, to take one step at a time, to put one foot in front of another, to encourage each other. As we approach more changes, we still have time to reflect on what we have learned so far, how we have grown, and how these lessons will help us as we take the next steps.

Taking a bit of time to gather your thoughts will help as we make our way through the muddle that we often may feel we are in. Structuring these times of reflections to think about one issue at a time will help to make things feel more manageable. Bringing creativity into the process can help us to think more positively about how we will approach what comes next, with wisdom, intention, and with care, hopefully in a way that will equip us to help other people too.

Lockdown Life Lessons (3). (Interactive Series).

As we move into the third instalment of this interactive series of reflection prompts, today’s question will hopefully help and encourage you to recognise your developing strengths and abilities during this time of global change.

Prompt 3:

Think of some positive things this time of lockdown / quarantine / restrictions has taught you about yourself that you didn’t know, or weren’t as aware of before.

Write down some thoughts about what you have learned about yourself.

Do you find this one difficult to get started on? Try breaking this big concept into smaller, more tangible parts. For example, think of your living situation. Have you spent lockdown alone or with others? What qualities were you able to notice or develop in this situation? For example, did you surprise yourself with selflessness, acts of kindness and patience towards others, being thoughtful and respectful of other people’s needs? Or did you discover a resilience you didn’t know you had to ‘tough it out’ all on your own?

Have you discovered a new skill that you wouldn’t have had the chance to develop before? For instance, did circumstances throw you into an unfamiliar world of home schooling your kids, if you have any? Did you become more resourceful in managing finances, food, and household maintenance? Were you able to share your expertise with other people and in doing so see new aspects of yourself? Did you get to grips with new forms of technology and communication? Did you take part or take initiative in helping people in your community in some way? Did you fundraise, did you inspire others, or did you develop new ways to keep yourself fit, healthy and occupied?

Remembering that we’ve all been living through a pandemic, the positive things you have learned about yourself, or developed further, needn’t be ‘big’ things. Things you might not have paid much attention to before do have a significance and an importance, no matter how small. Perhaps you’ve been the caring friend who has ‘lent an ear’ when someone needed to get in touch, maybe you’ve made facemasks and PPE for key workers, or maybe you’ve kept on keeping on through depression, anxiety, fear or weariness, and just kept ‘showing up’ for yourself and those around you in whatever small and seemingly ‘ordinary’ way you can.

Take a moment to jot down a few thoughts taking into consideration something positive or new you have learned about yourself throughout this time.

So perhaps you are wondering what I might choose to share. I’ve learned that I had the resilience to manage lockdown with almost zero human company (in person – I’m very thankful for technology that allows phone calls and communication with others) for almost 100 days. It was in fact 96 days of almost complete solitude. It wasn’t always easy, but I did it, and without the lockdown / quarantine situation, I probably never would have done this. I chose to press through the difficulties and be positive and helpful to others where I could, and learned that I can cope in isolation. We are allowed to encourage ourselves for getting through some challenging situations.

So take a moment to acknowledge something about yourself and tuck that lesson away like a treasure in your heart, so that when you think back over 2020, you will take some positive things with you as you press on. ❤

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