It’s been so many months. And it’s still not over! Some places have opened up, but it’s still not the same.
What happened to the last semester of life? Where did normalcy go? What happened to Everything We Knew?
Why can’t this just be a bad dream and we can wake up and start a new day like we used to? Why isn’t it over? Why doesn’t it stop? OK, ready to be done now!
Whoever you are, wherever you live, you’re affected by the pandemic. There’s a lot we can’t control. But we can try our best to stay healthy and let out all the stuff that’s churning around inside of us. We can let out some of the frustration – confusion – anger – sadness, ETC. We can catch a short break by focusing on something better, too.
Try one or more of the following journaling prompts to release a bit of your burn:
- What are the first 5 things you’re going to do when this is really ALL over and life is back to normal? Pick one and tell why and how it will be AMAZING!
- Write a letter to COVID-19. Tell it plain and clear what you think about it – don’t hold back!
- Make a collage that expresses JOY! Hang it where you can see it every day.
- What feelings have you experienced while living in a pandemic*?
Anger Boredom Confusion Peace Sadness Anxiety Depression Love Fear Distraction Apprehension Irritation Stress Fatigue Loneliness Happiness Courage Surprise Worry Courage Guilt Shock Upset Joy ______ ______ ______ ______ ______ ______
Circle the ones you can relate to, or add your own. Underline those that are hard to handle. Put a star by those that feel good. *Know that ALL feelings are normal!
- Draw a picture of what you imagine COVID-19 would look like if it were a creature. When you’re done, put the picture through a shredder.
- List the top 10 things that are driving you crazy about this pandemic. Choose one to write more about. Keep writing until you have nothing left to say!
- Fill in the blanks:
I can’t change ___________, but I can choose to think _______________.I can’t change ___________, but I can choose to think _______________.I can’t change ___________, but I can choose to think _______________.I can’t change ___________, but I can choose to think _______________.I can’t change ___________, but I can choose to think _______________.
(For example: I can’t change that we’re in a pandemic, but I can choose to think, “It won’t last forever!”) (From Put Your Feelings Here.)
- Tape your favorite best-friend picture somewhere on a blank paper or cardboard. Decorate around it with gel pens or colored pencils or stickers or sequins or whatever you want!
- Write the name of your favorite place to be. Describe what it looks, sounds, feels, smells, and tastes like. Then sit quietly and close your eyes. Take a breath and imagine yourself there. Stay as long as you like!
- Write a letter to your “someday grandchild.” Tell them what it’s like to live through a pandemic. What do you want them to know?
And remember – it WILL end. There will be a day when we look back and go “OMG – do you remember 2020? So glad THAT’S over!”
Lisa M. Schab received a Bachelor of Science degree in interpersonal communications from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in clinical social work with honors from Loyola University of Chicago. She has 30 years experience as a practicing psychotherapist and 40 years experience as a freelance writer. Lisa has authored 18 self-help books for children, teens, and adults, including the international best-sellers, The Anxiety Workbook for Teens and The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens. She has been interviewed as an expert for articles appearing in The New York Times, Scholastic Choices Magazine, Teen Vogue, Psych Central, Today’s Parent, Parent Circle, and The Mother Company, among others. She has also written professional training courses available for continuing education credit through Professional Development Resources (www.pdresources.com,) and has authored regular columns on Tweens & Teens for Chicago Parent Magazine and Healthy Families for Sun Newspapers. Earlier in her career she spent six years as an early childhood teacher and one year as a school social worker. Lisa is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW.)