Lisa: “Cheer up, Dad. Did you know the Chinese use the same word for ‘crisis’ as they do for ‘opportunity’?”
Homer: “Yes. Crisitunity.”
If you want to be assured of surviving 3 months of isolation, I’ve got some good news, the supermarkets have just what you need.
Want some better news? There are LOADS of them in stock, so you won’t be needing that Tombstone Piledriver you learned by binge-watching 4 hours of WWE last night.
What? You want even better news? OK, here goes…
… it’s yours for less than a quid.
Let’s talk journalling…
“Urgh! I thought it was going to be something good, you know, like a lost Blue Peter episode, showing us how to make an Aloe Vera loo roll out of Fallafel.”
The next few months are going to be weird, scary and crazy.
We’re going to experience a lot of things for the first time:
- Enforced isolation (unless you have young kids, in which case you’re already well trained in this)
- Not being able to go out to the pub and vent with your mates over a beer
- No more french kissing random pensioners.
We’re going to have to deal with all of this – and much more besides – in a way that doesn’t involve us all losing our minds or creating a “songs to slaughter your family to” playlist on Spotify.
(Killing your family has been known to lead to periods of enforced isolation, no being able to go out to the pub and… wait a second…)
You need to keep your head in the game.
I want you to start writing stuff down.
Get yourself a journal. It doesn’t have to be one of those expensive “I think you’ll find it’s pronounced ‘Mole-skin-ay’…” ones. You’re going to be trapped indoors and alone – there’s no-one to impress.
“I would journal, but I’m just waiting on delivery of my engraved and custom weighted Montblanc Petit Prince from Chisholm Hunter. I can’t be expected to write without a properly balanced nib.”
Tesco sells notebooks for 70p. They look bloody awful, but they work. They also have LOADS in stock.
(FYI, they also had a massive amount of condoms in stock, so expect a baby boom around December! Anyway, I digress…)
Get into the habit of transferring the contents of your head onto paper.
There’s nothing fancy about this – write down whatever happens to be swirling around your brain.
You’re not looking for answers, or hoping for inspiration to strike – you’re just looking to get your thoughts, feelings and emotions onto paper.
Sit and experience whatever you’re feeling and then let it all out on the page.
Write about whatever you want.
If you’re scared, write about being scared.
Worried about losing it all? Write about that.
Down to the last sheet of bog paper after eating that out of date Chicken Chasseur ready meal? What’cha thinking??
Whatever you’re feeling, own it… and then write about it.
Why are you scared? What are you feeling? When is your arsehole going to explode?
Every research study ever done has shown that this type of journalling – the kind where you really face up to your feelings and emotions and explore them on paper – improves your mental well being.
Every single one.
It’s not a cure. I can’t promise you’ll make the emotional shift from ‘worried and concerned’ to ‘blissful happiness’ just by writing for 10 minutes, but, at times like these – when we have no idea what the hell we’re up against – it’s not about finding a cure.
It’s about finding things that make our lives a little bit better.
Keeping your mental game together should be priority #1 over the next few weeks and months.
Journalling WILL help you do do that.
I should also point out that it’s not about trying to ‘positivity’ your way through it either.
If you’re feeling shit, alone and terrified, the last thing you want to do is sit down and write, “I’m so happy and grateful that…”.
You’ll still feel shit, alone and terrified.
Own whatever the hell it is you’re feeling, write it down and explore it.
Let it all out on the page.
There’s another reason you should start writing though, aside from processing your feelings and emotions…
We’re going to come out of this a very different population than we went in.
It’s hard to imagine what a post-COVID-19 “normal” will look like.
This is going to influence our world for generations to come, and your kids, grandkids and great-grandkids will want to know what it was like to be there and what was going through your mind, so start writing stuff down.
I’m not making light of this, but how cool would it be to be able to open a notebook and SHOW them what you were thinking, AS it actually happened, to share with them what it was like to be there and live through it?
By taking the time to write about how we’re feeling, as it occurs, we’ve got a real chance to help future generations – and ourselves – cope with this kind of adversity, when it happens again.
Because the truth is that the big issues never change, it’s just the specifics that do. Viruses will always spread; people will always panic; Kanye will continue to talk complete and utter shite.
There are things we’ll need to learn from this and, if we don’t keep a record of what’s happening, we WILL forget.
As I mention in the “Five Days to Funny” PDF (presently waiting for your eyeballs in the GOOGLE DRIVE OF AWESOMENESS!!!!), comedians know better than most that ideas and thoughts are fickle beasts.
You’ll never hear a comedian say, “I’ve just had an idea for a hilarious joke. I’m won’t bother writing it down though, as I’m very confident I’ll be able to remember it all, even down to the tiniest detail, tomorrow morning. Barman – Sangrias all round!”.
No, they’ve been burnt by the “now what the hell was that thing I had last night…” demon before. As soon as a good idea comes along, comedians get it down on whatever is at hand – note pads… voice recorders… iPhones… the thigh of a close friend.
They know that as soon as an idea lands, they’ve got about a minute to get it down or risk losing it forever.
We’ll learn lessons, but only if we take the time to write stuff down and process it. Otherwise, the next time you’re on the bus and someone coughs and complains of a high fever, you’ll be sat there thinking, “this reminds me of something… now what the hell was it…?”
Look after yourself,
P.S. I’m presently weighing the pros and cons of doing this.
I stuck between wanting to help as many people as I can, but not pissing off previous customers.
I’m no marketing guru, but I’m pretty sure that pissing off your customers is not an effective long term business plan.
I’d appreciate your thoughts. Genuinely.