Document This Time

You might feel like life is mundane and you have nothing significant to say right now. Keep a journal anyway.

Nicole Peeler


A photo of a woman writing in her journal while her laptop is on her lap.
Photo: Cavan Images/Getty Images

TThese are scary times, but they’re not exactly exciting ones. Unless counting toilet paper rolls is your idea of a raging Friday night, you’re probably not living your most thrilling life right now. So why in the world would you want to record it?

It’s a fair question. But weirdly, I can’t think of a better — or more necessary — time to start journaling.

First, there’s the big-picture rationale: We’re in an unprecedented time in American history. If, like me, you’re fascinated by stories of how people lived during World War II or after earthquakes or through the Depression, know that you are helping to create the narrative of this moment. Document your experiences for posterity. What have you gone through? What have you learned about yourself, your neighbors, your nation? What has surprised you? Angered you? Captivated you?

On a more personal level, we’re spending a lot of time in our heads right now. Psychologists have found that journaling can help combat anxiety, depression, and stress and that freewriting exercises can help us maintain our mental health.