Simple Journaling Amidst the Pandemic Pandemonium // Trina O’Gorman

Simple Journaling Amidst the Pandemic Pandemonium // Trina O’Gorman

Happy May. It’s hard to believe it’s here already, isn’t it? The trees are blooming. I saw bees when I was out for my walk yesterday. And the birdsong has begun. 

In the US, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of us began sheltering in place in mid-March, nearly two months ago. We didn’t know what to expect when it all started. Initially, for a lot of people, the idea of binge-watching Netflix shows, baking banana bread, and working from home in their pajamas all day didn’t seem like the worst thing in the world. And really, it isn’t. As we enter into May 2020 of the year of COVID-19, if that’s the worst of your worries, you’re better off than many. By now, many people have been personally impacted in other ways. So many of us have either been sickened by the virus or know of someone who has been sickened by and/or died from the virus. Many of us have been financially impacted or have loved ones who have financially impacted. And as we begin Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to note that many people have been affected by depression and anxiety that may come from being socially isolated, exposed to so much bad news, and faced with so much uncertainty. 

And time seems to have warped into something new. The pace of life is different, with many of us struggling to keep track of the days; they seem to merge, one into the other. And with some of us not having to commute to work or being able to participate in any of our regular activities, it would seem as though we’d have all of this free time on our hands to be productive. In fact, maybe in March, we even started out being more productive, getting to the projects we’d so wanted to get to, but as the weeks go on, many people are finding it harder and harder to stay motivated. Social isolation, the ongoing uncertainty, and the global, local, and personal toll that this pandemic has had on us all, in varying degrees, can be exhausting. I feel it. Maybe you’re feeling it too. I’m tired, not tired from or tired of anything in particular, but certainly more fatigued than I should be, especially considering the decrease in overall demands that there are on my time. 

As someone who writes or journals, as a way of observing life, planning, but also processing difficult feelings, it’s easy for me to fill pages and pages with writing. I’ve often shared my journals on social media, as have others, and some people have seen these posts as some sort of standard that they wish they could meet. And in this time of distress and chaos, when I am thinking more and more people need to feel the relief of expressive writing and reap the benefits of writing, people are too concerned with how they write and how much they write. None of this matters. 


The one-sentence journal is not a new idea, and it’s not my original idea, but it’s a good one. I find it to be fun. It alleviates the pressure, doesn’t take that much time, and ensures success for many people who have tried it. 

The goal is simple. Write just one sentence a day. Picking a consistent time to write helps a lot of people create a daily routine, perhaps writing either in the morning with coffee or in the evening before bed. It can be a sentence that sums up the day; a sentence of affirmation; a sentence to set your intention; a sentence that describes your day or makes an observation; a sentence that describes your mood or even your best or worst moment of the day. These are just ideas. You can just as easily choose to write about something else, but just one sentence. 

There are so much uncertainty and chaos right now, and I hope that this simple journaling idea helps you put pen to paper and brings you a little bit of joy or peace or maybe both. I wish you and your safety and good health.



  • Taylor: May 29, 2020
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    I got the 5 year journal in January this year – what timing! I love that there is only a small space each day so there is no pressure to write a lot, especially on hard days. I also like (during this challenging time) seeing the blanks lower on the page for the next 4 years…like a constant reminder that time will pass and things will be different.

  • Denise: May 14, 2020
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    thank you Trina. I’m lucky to spend one full week at work and then off a week as we’ve split staff into A and B teams. I started my weeks off with projects and motivated. This week I’m feeling tired and unmotivated. My son gave me a five year journal a year ago and I’ve used it off and on. I started trying it again and I’m using your advice – one or two sentences is OK. Even skipping a day is ok. I need to give myself permission to not feel guilty. I love reading your insights on BK.

  • Marilyn: May 14, 2020
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    On my hardest days, I journal the weather report.

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