Journaling at a time of crisis: a project from Planet Aware and Kim Furnish of Instar Coaching CIC.
As we experience the devastating impact of coronavirus, our assumptions about how we live our lives have gone out of the window. Our opportunities are finite and our horizons limited. We cannot just jump into the car, pop to the shops, make a random purchasing decision or get on a plane. The ultra-positive among us have found some good. Look at the improvements in air quality, see how carbon emissions have been reduced and wildlife has returned to less polluted places. For those stuck in tiny apartments with no green space this is no consolation and Covid-19 is far from a solution to environmental problems. As for the people who risk their own health so that the rest of us can be well, there may barely even be space in their lives to consider anything more than just getting through a single day still intact and unbeaten.
This sudden change to our life has forced us to make decisions and ration our experiences in a way that we have not had to do before. It has also brought into sharp focus the concept of limitation.
Our planet has its limits and our way of life goes far beyond them. We consume too much, waste too much, pollute too much and destroy too much for this to be sustainable. Forced to rethink our way of life in this pandemic, many of us have the opportunity to focus on all those things that we take for granted but now find harder to access. It can make us think about what really matters, what we miss and want to get back, and what we can let go.
In this unique time we encourage those that have the opportunity to do so to capture their thoughts through journaling as part of My Planet My Voice. Your journal is personal to you but we encourage you at the end of this crisis to look through it and share a phrase or a paragraph with us that we will collect together as a source of reflections from this time of crisis.
How you can get involved
Journaling is a personal process that captures your feelings and responses to a moment or a situation. There are many different ways of journaling and if you would like to journal as part of the My Planet My Journal project we would love you to use your journal as a kind of a creative space where you can document what is going on for you and what is going on for the planet.
You can use your journal for emotional release: sometimes when things get really tough it can be good to get everything off your chest – or down on paper. Just in the way we offload to our friends when we catch up on the phone or face to face, you can “dump” emotions onto your page. No-one else has to see it and you don’t need to share it – we would not expect you to tell us about this part of the journal.
Once you have offloaded you can write a few “gratitudes” – things that you are thankful for. This can be hard to do when the situation is so challenging but can help even a small way to help refocus onto some positive feelings. Slow down and focus on what is around you and really “savour” it: use your senses to really experience a moment and take it in. This savouring can be an opportunity to not only savour the present – but to think about how you would like the future to be.
Look up and around, use a photo if appropriate to help as a visual prompt in your journaling – you can also submit this photo as part of the “My Planet My Photo” project. You don’t need to commit to doing a journal every day – just start: pick up a pen and get writing. Most people find that once they start journaling, the positive benefits that it brings to their mental well-being inspire them to keep going.
We will be doing our own journaling as part of the project and talking about our experience and journaling generally online – please do follow Kim.Furnish and PlanetAwareSolent on Instagram – or follow the hashtag #MyPlanetMyJournal to find out how to join us!
See our first video on journaling via Instagram.