Blog Post – 5th March 2021
By Renata Taylor-Byrne
Reading and writing can help us make sense of what happened to us all during the Covid-19 pandemic
And you can find peace again!
Copyright (c) Renata Taylor-Byrne, 2021
“Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change”.
Ingrid Bengis – (From page 10, The Artists Way, 1992)
Because of the challenges, disruption, and appalling deaths and destabilising changes which have taken place since the onset of the world-wide Covid-19 health crisis, inevitably many people have lost sight of who they are and where they are going in life. And they don’t know what the future holds for them.
An invaluable way of finding yourself again – and starting to come to terms with where you are, and what the way forward is for you in your life – is to use a method which has been tried and tested by many people. We are big fans of this process.
In short, you start writing about what is happening to you in your life, and what you have experienced; and begin the process of mentally digesting past events, and coming to terms with the new, very different world you are now living in.
Six months ago, this process would have been premature. Even nine months ago it would not have been advisable. (Early processing of traumatic memories simply acts to re-traumatize you!) But now, more than one year since the first Covid-19 deaths in the west, it is time to begin digesting the awful traumatic shock of this terrible disease.
“You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours”.
By writing for a few minutes, every morning, about the stressful time you have come through, you can begin to fully acknowledge the confusion, pain, loss, and anxiety you have been going through.
You can begin to extract any valuable insights you have learned about life, other people and yourself, and slowly start finding and feeling your way into a future which makes sense to them.
This very simple but highly therapeutic process is described in our book titled: “How to write a new life for yourself”, (by Dr Jim Byrne with Renata Taylor-Byrne).
The benefits are very real:
For example, Philippa Perry (2012) describes a research study where the people taking part were split up into 2 groups. One half of the group wrote in their diary every day, and the other half didn’t. The results were as follows:
“Diarists reported better moods and fewer moments of distress than non-diarists. Those in the same study, who kept a journal following trauma or bereavement, also reported fewer flashbacks, nightmares and unexpected difficult memories”.
She also describes diarists as less likely to be admitted to hospital, with improved liver, blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. (And keeping your immune system strong is now recognized as the main way you can protect yourself from Covid-19, and other major diseases!)
For more insights into the benefits derived from diary writing, or keeping a journal, please look at “How to write a new life for yourself” (by Dr Jim Byrne with Renata Taylor-Byrne).
In her work on therapeutic writing, Julia Cameron (1992) uses several metaphors and similes to try to communicate what her readers and students can gain from using her system of therapeutic writing.
The one I like the most is this:
“Writing in your journal, about the trials and tribulations of your life, is like building a bridge into a better future for you!”
And that is what we set out to do in our book: To provide you with a roadmap which will support you in building a bridge into a better future for yourself.
We used a more gradual approach than Julia Cameron. This approach helps you to begin with small steps; in an easy, simple way; and to slowly build up your ‘writing muscles’.
In the process, you will develop a great capacity to manage your thinking-feeling-perceiving more effectively; calmly; in a more self-regulated fashion. You will become more intuitive; more creative; and a more efficient and effective problem-solver. You will be less troubled by stress and strain, and more likely to succeed in achieving whatever goals you want to pursue!
And, perhaps most importantly, you will figure out how to process the traumatic events of this terrible year of Covid-19 challenges and anxieties.
That’s all for now.
Lifestyle & Health Coach-Counsellor
 Cameron, J. (1992) The Artist’s Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity. London: Souvenir Books.
 Perry, P. (2012) How to Stay Sane. London: Macmillan.