Well-Being Newsletter #015. Reflecting On COVID-19
Hi friends & family,
On March 21st, my husband, Andrew, our puppy, Shea, and I departed our apartment in Baltimore, Maryland. With so much unknown at the time, we didn’t have a set agenda, but with Andrew’s offices closed and my permanent work-from-home flexibility, our plan was to spend a week or so quarantining at our parents’ homes in Connecticut and on Long Island. Well, tomorrow, May 21st, marks two months since we first left Maryland. Looking back it is unfathomable how quickly yet slowly those two weeks transformed into two months. These are some weird times.
One thing I’ve found particularly helpful over these past two months is taking a moment every now and then to sit down and reflect on the pandemic — what I’ve learned, moments that have brought me joy, moments that have brought me sorrow, moments that made me laugh, things I miss, things I appreciate, what I’ve accomplished and so on. I have found these moments to be so helpful, so today’s post provides some ideas to help you reflect on this time.
Sending love & light,
PS — If you’re just joining or were forwarded this email, you can subscribe here and look for these emails in your inbox every Wednesday & Sunday. I’ve included links below to my prior emails by topic.
Well-being Tip #015. Reflecting on COVID-19
[Emotional/Mental Well-being: Being aware and managing your feelings, being at peace with who you are, and having the tools you need to weather life’s ups and downs.]
Self-reflection helps build two components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness (the ability to understand your emotions, values, goals, & impact on others) and self-regulation (the ability to control and adapt your emotions & impulses to changing circumstances). Here are some techniques you can use to reflect on this time.
While journaling is a great way to document your experience during the pandemic (I know my friend Jaime is excited to share her quarantine diaries with her future children one day), it is also a very valuable tool for clarifying your thoughts. Journaling is associated with tremendous benefits such as reducing stress, improving immune function, boosting our mood, and strengthening emotional function. As someone who has struggled with keeping a journal over the years, I often find prompts to be a helpful way to guide my thinking. Here are some prompts I’ve been pondering. What else have you been writing about?
- What or who has brought me joy? Why did this bring me joy?
- Who can I bring joy, and how?
- What changes have led to the most distress? Why?
- What are some of the silver linings I’ve found in quarantine?
- What have I learned about myself? About others?
- How will I integrate these learnings into my life moving forward?
2. WRITE A LETTER TO SELF
Though this sounds like something you may have done growing up, a letter to self is actually an effective way to frame the experience you’ve had, potentially answer some of the prompts above, and describe the impact the pandemic has had on you. I know many of us have had ‘aha’ moments of realization around what is most important to us after this time. Use the letter as a way to remind yourself of these realizations long after the pandemic ends.
3. CREATE A PHOTO BOOK OR SCRAP BOOK
If writing isn’t your thing, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Even if it is screenshots or funny photos sent to friends, gathering and compiling pictures or other reminders from this time will help you clarify some of the major moments for you during the pandemic. We may not look our best (I may or may not be referring to my puppy and my husband… who now thinks he’s a hair dresser and dog groomer), but these two months have likely transformed us in some way. The act of documenting this time will both help us reflect in the present, while giving us a tangible artifact to look back on in the future.
4. FILM A VIDEO DIARY
Along the same lines of journaling or your letter to self, a video is an alternative way to document your thoughts and feelings about this time. I know many people have been using video for Zooming / FaceTiming with friends, and maybe even Tik Tok, but video can also be a great way to talk out your feelings and again, be able to refer back on them down the road.
One thing to keep in mind is that self-reflection is not just for adults, these ideas are certainly applicable to kids too. Regardless of their age, your kids are processing this time in their own way. Tools for reflecting may help give them an outlet for what they are feeling, and a window into their life during this time as they get older.
Did you know there are multiple dimensions of well-being? Each email focuses on one element from the University of Michigan’s definition which encompasses: Physical, Emotional/Mental, Environmental, Financial, Occupational, Social, and Intellectual Well-being. Well-being is a passion of mine, and these tips & tricks are solely based on my own research and personal experiences.
In case you missed it, here are links to some of my prior posts by topic:
April 1st: Well-being Tip #001. Quaran-screen time
April 8th: Well-being Tip #003. Gratitude Attitude
April 5th: Well-being Tip #002. Connecting during COVID-19
May 3rd: Well-being Tip #010. Celebrating during COVID-19
April 12th: Well-being Tip #004. The more you know…
April 15th: Well-being Tip #005. Finding Meaning
April 22nd: Well-being Tip #007. Virtual Workouts
April 26th: Well-being Tip #008. Boosting the “space” you’re in
May 6th: Well-being Tip #011. “Working” well
April 19th: Well-being Tip #006. Silver Linings by Linda Jacobs, LMHC
April 29th: Well-being Tip #009. Validating our feelings by Allie Finkel, LCSW
May 10th: Well-being Tip #012. Tips from Moms
May 13th: Well-being Tip #013. Nutritional Well-being by Leah Cohen, MS, RDN
May 17th: Well-being Tip #014. Supporting each other through grief & loss by Allie Finkel, LCSW