We invite everyone to spend some thoughtful time reflecting on the past year by creating a journal:
On March 13, we mark the one year anniversary of New Hampshire’s lockdown. Let’s take time to journal about this past year. It has brought many changes, different to each of us.
Beginning Monday, March 15th, and continuing for four weeks, the Cook Memorial Library will post on this page a list of possible writing prompts related to our COVID experiences. Make time daily to write a few sentences, paragraphs, or better yet, a few pages, in response with as much detail as you would like to the prompts that resonate with you. Your journal isn’t confined to the written word. You can use words, artwork, or photos. It can be recorded with pen and paper or digitally. Make time daily. Make it personal. Do it as a family activity or individually. This will be a valuable opportunity to record experiences, good and bad.
You don’t have to share your journal with anyone but the library will organize an opportunity to share and compare with other journalists at the beginning of May (date and time and place TBA). Most importantly, if you do create a journal, you will have a recorded history of your year.
Week 1: Let’s begin! Write and draw whatever comes to mind when you read the prompts. Choose one or two a day. You don’t have to write to each one. Choose the ones that resonate with you. Make up your own prompts!
Activity: We have to keep socially distanced but who would you like to give a hug to today? Dedicate your journal to them and write it on the first page.
- Describe your typical day during the pandemic.
- What are your hopes for 2021?
- Describe how your house has changed during the pandemic?
- What has changed in your day to day life during the pandemic?
- Which changes have had the most impact?
- What changes have had the least impact?
- Write about something you did or something that happened today because of the pandemic.
Week 2: This week, let’s think about special people in our lives.
Activity: Write a letter to a friend or family member you miss. In your letter, you could write about some of your responses to the prompts. I’m sure they would like to hear about your new hobby or how you celebrated your birthday.
- Write about a new activity or hobby you have tried.
- How have people around you adapted to the day to day routines?
- What are you learning about yourself during the pandemic?
- Have your eating habits changed?
- How have you celebrated birthdays or holidays during the pandemic?
- How have you stayed in touch with family and friends?
- What is something you have done that you don’t think you would have done otherwise?
- Who do you miss and why?
- What has surprised you?
- Write a list of words to describe this past year. Maybe you will want to write them in two columns: Positive and negative. Which list is longer? Write about that!
- What is the first thing you would like to do after the pandemic?
Activity: Write a letter to someone in your community who has provided a special service. Thank them for their help to your family or to others.
- What will be one new change that you want to hold on to?
- What acts of kindness or positive experiences have you witnessed?
- What are your outlets for expression and creativity during this time?
- Did any of your plans change during the year?
- Write about how your neighborhood/community/town responded to the pandemic.
- Have you dressed differently?
- Write about your last “normal” day.
- What do you do for entertainment during the pandemic?
- If you could go back in time before the pandemic, what advice would you have given?
At the end of a book we often read the acknowledgments. It is an opportunity for the author (you!) to thank and honor anyone who has helped them along the way. Make a list of those special people. You can begin with “I am thankful for … (add a name)” and explain why.
- Write a funny story about something that happened to you during the pandemic.
- Write a sad story about something that happened to you during the pandemic.
- What are some things you took for granted before the pandemic?
- What frustrates you today?
- What are you grateful for today?
- What will an ideal day look like?
- What was an obstacle during the pandemic that you have overcome?
- Let’s end with a prayer, mantra, or affirmation. A prayer is usually a request for help or expression of thanks. A mantra helps to set an intention or wish: “May I find peace today.” An affirmation often states positive thinking or self-empowerment: “I am safe and strong.” These are my definitions. Interpret them to best fit your needs.
One last activity: Create a time capsule to accompany your journal. What will you include to inform someone in the future about this extraordinary year? When will it be opened – 5 years, 10?
Congratulations! You have reached the end – of this list, at least and hopefully, we are coming to the end of Covid! Be well and stay safe. And see you soon!!!
***These writing prompts were developed by Louise Wrobleski. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts!
Prefer a paper list of writing prompts? Download and print here.
Here are a few sites we used as resources for the pandemic reflections:
- www.conncoll.edu Journal to Cope with Covid-19 Pandemic
- wisconsinhistory.org Covid-19 Journal Prompts
- www.nytimes.com 12 ideas for writing through the pandemic with the New York Times