Keep a journal, preferably on paper with ink, but typed into a computer is just fine too. Try to record something every day or almost every day, but don’t let it be a burden. If you are living with other people, you and your housemates can take turns writing in the same journal. Just be sure to identify the writer of each entry.
Please put the following information in your journal (this is vital for future historians, and they will thank you):
- Your name, and the names of any other contributors to the journal
- Your location (city, state/province, country)
- Dates for each entry — full dates with month, day, and year are best
The following list offers some ideas for what you could write about. (Many of these ideas are taken with gratitude from the Morrison County Historical Society in Little Falls, MN.) You only need to write about one topic or idea per day, though of course you may write as much as you please. There is no need to worry whether you are original, witty, or stylish. You are simply recording parts of your daily life; future historians will appreciate your honesty.
- Whatever is on your mind about the pandemic (including how you feel about it)
- Your observations about what is happening in society as a result of the pandemic (like people buying up all the hand sanitizer, bleach, toilet paper, and flour, or the financial markets taking a dive, or people losing their jobs)
- What you are seeing in the news
- How your friends are responding
- What is changing in your environment or neighborhood
- Your symptoms (if you happen to get sick and have the energy to describe them)
- The symptoms of others if they get sick
- How you are altering your habits, work life, and living arrangements to cope with the situation
- How you are spending your days (what is it like to take a class or work from home?)
- The new ways you are learning to socialize, including the technology you use to keep in touch
- How you are passing the time if you don’t have a lot of work to do (new hobbies picked up, old hobbies renewed, etc.)
- How you are coping with having children or others at home
- How your pets are coping with having you home
- How you are helping others (checking in on relatives, providing an essential service, etc.)
- How you or others are dealing with the increasing number of local and national deaths
- How you are coping emotionally with social isolation and fear related to the pandemic (if you use humor to cope, including gallows humor, make note of it — don’t let people in the future assume we’re all puritanical saints)
- Anything else you want to write about.