We are all suffering under the weight of added stress and anxiety… even fear… as we navigate the uncharted waters of a global pandemic. For most of us, stuck at home all day, we are also contending with the ‘what to do right now?’ question. While binge watching on your favorite device is a great way to account for a few hours a day, it may not do much for your sanity, or your soul.

If you are like me, even when I’m engaged in an activity: working from home, playing with my son, preparing a meal, writing this… I find the little voice in my head interrupting my thoughts, and my focus, far more than usual and these little concerns seem to carry so much more weight these days.

Some of the thoughts are actually important, like don’t forget to add laundry detergent to the grocery order, and many of them are likely the result of our unconscious mind hashing through all of the stress and anxiety in the background. Important or not, when our unconscious interrupts, it really breaks focus.

Believe it or not, keeping a journal may actually help. Many of us find time every day to post a thought on social media, but there is something intrinsically valuable about writing with pen (or pencil) and paper. Journaling, the art of putting pen to paper daily to record your thoughts and experiences, also known as keeping a diary, can have several benefits.

There is something very calming, both in the immediate and throughout your day, about spilling your unconscious and conscious mind onto the page. As Julia Cameron said about her creative tool, Morning Pages, in her book The Artist’s Way, ‘Get it on the page.’ Somehow, when we get all of these future interruptions out of our head, they leave us alone to focus throughout the day.

Another benefit to journaling is discovery. Still having trouble coming up with a list of things to do with all your free time? When interrupted by that little voice while journaling, listen and write… you may have just created your to-do list, found some new and exciting activities to do with the kids or had an idea how to use those leftovers to make a great meal for dinner.

When you truly commit to journaling, you may experience, perhaps, its greatest benefit, self-discovery. As we fill the pages, we can’t help but make realizations, gain insight, form new opinions and learn about ourselves and how we feel. The true beauty about journaling is, you can enjoy all of its benefits even when we aren’t in the middle of a global pandemic, but what better time to start?