Journaling as Pandemic Self-Care
My Empty 2020 Journal, Covered in Dust
Last January, I went all in on my bullet journaling. I had previously managed to keep a successful journal that tracked all kinds of things. Each page contained scales for pain symptoms, mood, energy levels and more. My doctors found this to be extremely useful in helping form my treatment plan. Most importantly, I could see which of my treatments actually made my symptoms better. I also tracked sleep, water intake and activity.
As a treat for this resounding success, I bought myself a fancy journal to which I could add different kinds of pages. I prefer grids to line for many things but found myself drawn to pages that had to-do lists. I bought pages of calendars that someone else printed out! (previously, I drew everything by hand). It was indulgent!
Then the apocalypse hit. Pandemic pandemonium cast my days and nights into chaos. All of the lovely progress I made during the previous year found itself shunted off into the shredder. Starting with the month of April, my large wall calendar remained empty. Even worse, my daily journal fell by the wayside. I felt like I had nothing to add. My doctors visits were all postponed, my physical therapy remained in limbo for months. In all, the treatments that formed the basis of my health plan had come to a standstill.
Journaling the Pandemic
This year, I plan to modify my journaling technique so that I can reintegrate my healthy practices. In many ways, I have adjusted to the pandemic and its tendency toward chaos but I plan to use my journal as an anchor. Of course keeping a journal that tracks my symptoms can make up an integral part of my self-care. It also can be a type of documentary of the way the pandemic has changed things for us spoonies as well as how we adapt to this new, constantly evolving reality.
In addition to tracking symptoms, perhaps we can also track the ways in which we find time and energy to socialize. Social isolation is not good for anybody, particularly the chronically ill. And not even the most stalwart introverts among us should go completely into Hermit mode. I have found ways to reconnect to old friends through video chat. In particular, these reunions seem to really bring me back to who I am as a person. Seeing my friends “all grown up” is a joyful experience for me. In my new journal, I will be tracking these conversations, making records of what might otherwise be fleeting.
Journaling during these times can also be an excellent method of assessing risk, monitoring symptoms and reminding ourselves to engage in behaviors and hygiene that can prevent infection. I plan to journal my use of hand sanitizer and record any activities that might present risk including recording who I come into contact with, either with or without a mask. This can be extremely helpful to us as individuals but also can be a priceless gift to our healthcare providers in their efforts to track this disease and our chronic illnesses.
Leaning into the Spiritual
No matter what your spiritual path, having a practice of transcendence can provide strength and refuge during the pandemic. I identify as a witch. Primarily, this offers me an active orientation toward the universe, nature and my own inner growth. However, it is not necessary to identify as a witch or a member of any religious institution to reap spiritual benefits. Just by engaging in artistic and musical pursuits can take yourself outside of your body, immersing your consciousness into something larger and all-consuming. Worry not! It doesn’t even matter if you have what you consider to be “talent.” That is to say, just the act of pouring yourself into something creative puts you in the state of “flow.” Most compelling evidence points to the psychological and spiritual benefits of flow. So make time to lose time in something, whether it is artistic, athletic or just involves focusing on a project to the point where everything else falls away.
Walking through nature can bring similar benefits. Instead of counting steps, focus on the quality of your connection to the life that surrounds you, whether it is in a state of decay or growth. Appreciating the cycles of nature can aid in understanding the pandemic. This does not negate the sadness of the death and prolonged illness of Covid 19, but it can help to cope with it. The cycle of life and death is at the foundation of the universe. It can hurt like hell but drawing yourself away from the specifics and into the broader strokes of nature can be a gift. I plan to connect every day to the cycles of nature and record these things in my journal.
Journaling our Witchcraft: The Only Way Out is Through
For those of us who are witches, now is the time to reinvigorate our daily practices. There is no “set time” you have to spend on witchcraft in order to be a witch. That said, using your witch senses is the only way they will grow into fruition. Many witches I have talked to feel “disconnected” from deity, from their own witchcraft and their inner witch fires have dimmed. Engaging in witchcraft – through devotion, ritual, kitchen witchery, divination. All of the many things we do as witches – are the only way to bring back the fire. Make the time, even if it is fifteen minutes at first. The only way out of this pandemic is through it and as witches, we are lucky to have a multitude of ways through.
Even if you are a solitary, eclectic witch, find other witches with whom to connect during this time of social distancing. Look for groups that feed your fire, not your ire. Immerse yourself in a witchy book club or find a digital coven through the variety of social media we have available. One of my absolute favorite things to do as a witch is group magick. With video calling (or just by using a joining sigil) you can connect to another witch without having to be in the same room or even on the same continent. When you do this type of magick, journal it! Keep a record of how this connection made you feel as well as the outcome of the magick itself.
Join The Way of Witch Social Club
If you want a quality witch group that meets live and does group magick, join our Saturday Social Clubs. Through guided meditation and teaching the techniques of distant group magick (among many other things) we can help you rekindle that witch fire and add some quality witchy social time to your life! Join our The Way of Witch Facebook Group or sign up for the newsletter to get access to these events.