Keeping My Sanity Through Online Journaling Amidst The Lockdown

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From documenting my cat’s mundane life, cooking experiments to rare grocery-shopping visits to the market next door, it’s all on my Instagram stories. Thanks to the quarantine due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and the break from work this past month, my consumption and Insta-story posts have increased manifolds. Earlier it would be restricted to documenting a day out or an event that I attended, on the stories section of Instagram. (The only safe space among all the social media platforms, in my honest opinion.) Now, every time my cat yawns it’s Insta-worthy. I stand guilty of maintaining a quarantine Instastory diary and I cannot stop.

In my desire to understand mindfulness, increasing productivity through reading and watching videos on these subjects, I found that a lot of people talk about maintaining a journal. Some people maintain a gratitude journal, some journal about how they want their lives to be in the future. I found that I have kept my sanity by maintaining this online journal and by sharing a part of my life with my friends on the internet through a private account on Instagram. There is also this big plus in doing so that I can always go back to these 15 second moments in my account’s archive and live this really peculiar time all over again. I think I’d want to do this a few years down the lane.

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I have to say this, that this activity that barely takes a few minutes has also made me creative. A few days ago, I announced that I will be applying one lipstick a day every day from my collection to sort of jazz up the dull no-going-out days and it was surprising how it resonated with so many other women on my friend list. Since then, it’s a ritual to post a picture with my lipstick every day. Just doing this very superficial activity lights up my day and how.

Some tips for digital journaling:

  1. Think of why you want to journal. For me, it was a way to keep myself busy. A digital album is also something I can go back to, given the eccentricity of the current times.
  2. Understand your calling. Digital journaling can be in many forms – writing blogs, filming long-form videos and putting them up on YouTube, writing posts on various platforms etc. I chose Insta-stories because they are quick, creative and encompass videos, written content, pictures, etc., all in one.
  3. Select your audience. Decide whether you want to do it for yourself or make it public for others to see.
  4. For new ideas. You could start a challenge or participate in challenges started by others when you feel dried up of ideas to journal about.
  5. Understand the intent of your journal. Some seek instant gratification from it and some think of it as a keepsake to be reminded of things in the future. When I journal in a diary, I am seeking instant gratification from anxiety that’s bothering me. It’s a hit and a miss. So different methods of journals for different moods.
  6. Find ways to improve. Look at it as an additional skill set. Now that content creation is really flying, digital journaling can open doors for you to earn some moolah.
  7. Dedicate Time. Finally, organize your time of journaling so as not to expand your screen time and lose out on the real moments of life. Keep at it spread through the week and enjoy offline as well.

Strangely, we have been cooped up in our houses for 20 days straight today and yet every day we’re all discovering things around us that we would have missed otherwise, so gramming it in is what our millennial-ness has taught us and why shame it? Since I am fortunate enough to live with my family, I have probably sat down with my parents to have a cup of tea so regularly after childhood. And that’s a picture or a video opportunity right there to document because we know all too well once this lockdown is over, we will go back to living our normal lives. My mother is cooking up a storm almost every other day and she insists I document that too. In fact, I have been cooking and baking here and there as well reassuring my mother that I have not completely gone cuckoo.

Also read: Can Life On the Other Side Of The Lockdown Be Less Materialistic

The other thing I have documented passionately in a stream of Instastories is my visit to the local market to get groceries and medicines. I post about the measures taken by shopkeepers to maintain adequate distance between customers and how the customers behave absolutely unruly not maintaining any protocol whatsoever. It happens almost every time I go out for groceries and despite the police officers intervening, nothing moves much. I live in Faridabad and here the shops are open between 11 am and 3 pm. It is peak-noon, time so everybody looks for whatever shade they can manage to stand while they wait for their turn to buy grocery items and I feel this is one major issue why no one adheres to the social distancing protocol. Since the circles are drawn on the ground by the shopkeepers always fall right under the sun, no one wants to stand for 20 minutes straight in a circle directly under the sun while waiting for their turn.

I know that now our Instastories lack beautiful sceneries of road trips to the mountains or beachy summer holiday or the meal at a fancy restaurant, but we can always find moments of joy. And it’s a great reminder too that you can also cheer up by doing things that may not require any money like enjoying the sunset from your balcony or sipping a cup of tea without the constant thought that you need to get somewhere. Lockdown teaches me every day that the happiness gained from reading a good book or taking pictures for digital journaling lasts much more than happiness gained from buying a new dress or eating out.

Picture credit- Newscrab

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