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Journal writing has been long recommended by mental health professionals as one of the key pillars of self-care. Here’s an initiative that chronicles the Covid-19 world.
None of us can seem to remember a time when things were different. When we didn’t have to worry about washing our hands enough or wake up to news of more infections and more deaths all over the world or be ordered by our governments to stay indoors.
We are all in this together, but each of has been dealing with – or trying to deal with – this unprecedented situation in our own ways. And apart from the common anxieties and hopes we all share, each of us is carrying the burden of our own individual emotions that stem from our unique experiences: the health and safety of family, the education (or entertainment, more likely) of children, the physical stress of household chores, the uncertainty of our work lives, and much more.
One of the things I have found helpful in my own life, especially in times of emotional turmoil, is the act of journaling. Writing a journal regularly – just a free-flowing, stream of consciousness few pages – has been long recommended by mental health professionals as one of the key pillars of selfcare.
My husband and I moved to Malaysia from India, where we had lived practically all our lives – in the middle of February. Two weeks into our life in Kuala Lumpur, the Covid-19 lockdown was announced all over the country and I found myself housebound in a new city, where I barely knew anyone. So yes, this has been a mentally taxing time for me and I have been spending much of it in the virtual company of people.
I voraciously read dozens of snippets on social media channels about the pandemic and the lockdown: personal rants, links to interesting or inspiring or just plain terrifying articles, funny memes that provided some respite… I saw how my friends seemed to find solace in sharing their stories, somehow feeling that they were not alone.
And that is where my idea of creating a community blog for people from all over the world to write about their own lockdown lives sprang from.
Why a blog, someone asked me, given that blogging itself is well past its prime in this age of 280 characters and instant ‘likes’. I have been a blogger for over 16 years now, beginning at a time when the form was nascent in India, and observing it through its peak and trough. Some of my closest friends today are people I met through their (and my) blog. While writing may be my preferred form of expression (as a journalist), writing on a blog does not require serious writing chops; as I said earlier, this is just one step above ‘dear diary.’
I set up the blog with two main aims: to document these turbulent times for a time when we emerge from all this and think back in wonder – for yes, we will emerge from this too and we will find it hard to remember a time when things were different; to offer an open but safe space for people to express what cannot be shared as a pithy social media post or over a phone call with friends. It’s just been three days, and so far, there are 22 contributors from six countries writing on topics as varied as food, poetry and home schooling. May this tribe increase!
How you can contribute to The Lockdown Diaries
Reading – Visit the blog regularly, leave your comments on the posts and engage in meaningful discussions.
Writing – Send in guest posts on your own experiences to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and be featured on the blog
Image via Canva, used for representational purposes only
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Charukesi is a Journalist from India who writes on travel, wildlife, food, arts & culture,
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