Over two years into this pandemic, a lot of us are still figuring out how to live with it—and the toll it has taken on our lives and community. Restrictions may have eased, but with slightly rising cases recently, we can’t help but hold our breath each time they announce alert levels in our areas. Even as we enter the second half of 2022, many (myself and my family included) still prefer to keep it safe and only go out and travel when it’s necessary, important, or unavoidable. That said, a lot of us, especially those who live with people vulnerable to COVID-19, like the elderly and small children who cannot be vaccinated, still prefer to stay isolated at home than put our loved ones at risk.
Continued voluntary isolation may keep us safe from the virus, but it does take a toll on our mental health. I know this from experience, as I have had to grapple with feelings of anxiety, isolation, and loneliness when I became a first-time mom right at the start of the pandemic, living so far away from my family and friends. My whole motherhood experience so far has been tainted by the pandemic, something that I wrote about here.
Honestly, I haven’t found the time, opportunity, and courage to seek professional help, so far. There have been a few things that have helped, though. One of them is reading up on mental health and how to cope with the challenges pandemic motherhood brings to it. Another is reaching out to my support group, who, besides my husband, while all a plane ride away from where we live are still easily within reach via video calls and messaging apps. And finally, I have resumed my journaling habit.
Several of the articles I’ve come across in my reading up on mental health during the pandemic confirm that the pandemic has caused a lot of people to experience emotional fallout. Interestingly, a number of them also cite that journaling and intentionally doing some me-time and self-care help in having better mental health and are able to better ground themselves and handle challenges. This verywellmind.com article, “6 Mental Health Lessons Learned During COVID-19,” and this Michigan State University Extension study cite journaling as one of the most effective ways to cope with stress and mental health struggles brought on by the pandemic.
I usually blog about my journal finds at the start of each year, but some friends recently sent some nifty new journaling must-haves that I thought I’d share with you as we enter the second half of 2022. As I always say, it’s never too late to start a journaling habit.
Essentials Notebook (P238 on Crazy About Paper). This elegant-looking notebook comes in two colors: Black has blank pages, while the light brown (Kraft) variant comes with dotted pages. Both have gold foil stamping on the cover. With 72 sheets/114 pages of 14.8cm x 21cm, 100 gsm cream paper, there’s enough space for all your thoughts and lists for the rest of the year or so.
Big Ideas Notebook (P440 on Crazy About Paper, P560 at Fully Booked). This big lined notebook (80 sheets/160 pages of 19cm x 24.7cm paper) is perfect for keeping track of your thoughts and ideas, as well as forming visualizations. It comes in two colorful cover designs: One says “Start each day with a grateful heart,” while the other says “Explore. Discovery. Design.” Bring this notebook around with you throughout the day, displaying your big ideas and dreams on its pages.
Dare To Be Grateful card deck (P300 on Crazy About Paper). Each day, pull a card and spend a moment thinking about what you are grateful for. And if you have time, write it down—this is the easiest way to start a journaling habit. It’s like your daily dose of inspiration and encouragement to get you through a rough day. The Dare to Be collection also has Dare To Be Courageous and Dare To Be Creative card decks, meant to inspire and help you reflect on your goals and aspirations. Beautifully designed, each themed deck contains motivational quotes, “I am” affirmations, and prompts for journaling, goal-setting, or self-reflection. Each deck comes with 56 pieces of 8.9cm x 8.9cm cards with 300gsm thickness, round corners, and matte lamination.
How to start your journaling habit with these products
Have you ever felt like you have overflowing emotions but for some reason, you can’t seem to let them out? Or maybe you feel like you’ve got so much to say but can’t exactly put them into words, so you end up bottling everything up? Incorporating a journaling habit into your life can open up endless possibilities for growth and development, as the studies I’ve mentioned above have shown. Whenever you’re feeling anxious or sad, journaling can help you unload baggage and eventually free yourself from the pandemic negativity you’ve been carrying around.
Or whenever you’re feeling happy and proud, you can write your heart away—and nurture the energy boost so you can continue feeling positive throughout the day and week. There’s really no limit to what you can write about in your own journal!
So how can these products I’ve mentioned above help you get started on your journaling habit? If you would like to start off your day journaling, try doing Morning Pages (which you can read up on here), then use that creative energy to journal through your daily routine on either of the two notebooks.
Or if, like me, you’re into journaling before bedtime because you’re too busy during the day, I found the Dare to be Grateful deck useful for getting me started (I’m sure it’s useful in the morning, too). Just pull a card and spend a moment thinking about what you are grateful for each day, then write about it if you can. It’s easily the first step in creating a life you love. As they say, thoughts become things, and gratitude creates greater happiness.
I’ll be posting the inside pages of these products on my IG Reels, follow me and watch it on my Instagram, @trixiereyna.