How good are fresh starts? We all love them, in fact, it’s why we’re more likely to embark on a healthy change at the start of a new week, new month, new year or even new decade. There’s something refreshing about going “Ok, here it is. A new beginning. I’m ready to start again.”
Post-isolation, many of us are facing a different kind of fresh start. The peculiar and at times, confronting, circumstances that have jolted us out of our usual routines over the past few months have offered a unique perspective on our lives and ourselves. Without the distractions and demands of our regular lives, we may have found new and surprising things to uplift us, inspire us, connect us, teach us, challenge us and frighten us, and we can use this newfound wisdom to help understand ourselves better and shape our future into something new. Something great.
With the help of Mary Hoang, Indigo’s founder and head psychologist, we’ve compiled some journalling activities below to help you reflect on your experience in isolation, and use those reflections to positively shape your life ahead. Our community has also shared some of their own experiences, which may also resonate with you as you personally reflect.
What did you find the most challenging about isolation?
Did any difficult emotions come up for you? What lifestyle/routine changes were the hardest to adjust to? What personal/emotional changes were the hardest to adjust to?
No social events
Being separated from work/activities, which play into my identity
Sitting with difficult feelings
Parenting and working at the same time, with limited downtime
Confronting loneliness and insecurities
Working from home
Allowing myself downtime
Lots of time in my own company
No motivation for healthy habits, and loss of routine
Being with my partner 24/7 without much me-time
Fear of the unknown, anticipated grief
Lack of human interaction
Not being able to physically be there for friends & family who were struggling
Reflecting on these challenges, what can you recognise as important/valuable aspects of your life and self now?
E.g. Being isolated from friends made me realise that socialising and connecting with others face-to-face is really important to my wellbeing.
E.g. Working from home and parenting full-time made me realise I can be faced with a daunting and demanding task and meet it head-on.
E.g. Feeling empty and isolated in my own company made me realise that I need to spend some time working on my relationship with myself, practicing self-compassion and relying less on external distraction/validation.
What did you find the most rewarding about isolation?
What joys & learnings did you discover? What did you find that soothed you? What nourished your soul? What surprised you – in a good way? What did you realise you’d miss after the end of iso?
The simplicity of walking and listening to music/great podcasts
Enjoying time with myself
Giving myself downtime
Taking care of plants
Learning to create boundaries around work
My passion for art came back
Acts of kindness are good for the soul
I started making my own clothes and drawing again after putting it off for so long
I learned how to slow down which helped me to listen to my anxieties and understand them
Reading and journalling
Relaxing at home and enjoying the little things
Sourdough baking (cliche I know, but SO yum!)
It’s ok to live day by day
How can you honour these joys and learnings, by weaving them into your post-iso life?
E.g. I can schedule in time for me, where I can be with myself and be ok with life slowing down for a while.
E.g. I can make a routine to read and journal at set times of the day, three days a week.
E.g. I can continue to be assertive and express my boundaries around work and honour my down-time in the process.
Finally, fill in the below to create personalised affirmations that you can journal regularly, or write down and stick up somewhere you’ll see often.
The most difficult thing I managed to overcome during this experience was _____.
In challenging & uncertain times, I learned that _____.
I now honour myself by making time for ________.
I know that when things get weird/scary, I can always ______.