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  • Writer's pictureBritt Leigh

Storytelling During a Crisis

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

During this strange time, I can’t help but think about the importance of storytelling. For as long as we’ve been able to communicate, storytelling has been an essential piece of the recovery and stress-management process, not to mention a central element of our human nature. Countless research studies demonstrate the positive effects of journaling and the power that comes from telling your own story.

In these early days of the Coronavirus Pandemic, some of us are lucky. Our stories will center around extra time to spend with loved ones, the rally of community members around local small businesses, reconnecting with a passion, finally completing a major goal, or even the silliness of toilet paper hoarding.

Some of our stories, of course, will run deeper: Twenty-two lives lost at a senior care facility in Washington, a daughter who can’t visit her aging mother in a nursing home, the overwhelming loss of income for folks in industries that require the presence of others, canceled weddings, birthday gatherings, and family reunions. Some of my friends are dealing with the complexity of feeling both euphoric excitement and gripping fear after learning they are pregnant during a global pandemic. Other friends are dealing with intense health-related anxiety and hypochondria while working for a company that still requires their physical presence.

Regardless of where you stand in this pandemic, your story is important. Your feelings about this pandemic are valid, and the stress it creates is real and complicated to navigate.

I’ve seen so many of your stories expressed in small snippets across social media. I want you to know that I see you. I know there is likely more to it than what you are willing to share with the world. Your story and the way you tell it will be important. In these uncertain times, documentation is important, both as a way to tell your story and as a way to reflect and manage stress.

Don't know where to start? That's okay. Nothing you write will be invalid. If you are looking for inspiration, consider writing about the ways in which life has changed (or hasn't changed), what emotions you are feeling, what you are doing to cope, the things you are most grateful for, or how this virus has impacted your family. You can do this through poetry, memoir-style writing, or even fiction. The idea is simply to write.

For those of us who are on the luckier side, I hope that we continue to reach out to others to offer our help and support. It’s impossible to know everyone’s story or truly understand what someone will go through to pull themselves through this crisis. I implore you to exercise kindness and compassion. Support your local ‘non-essential’ businesses who will be struggling for the next few weeks. Offer the help you are able to give, and always remember that everyone has a story you know nothing about.

Otherwise, I encourage you to pull out your notebooks (or support a small business owner and order one from Etsy!), grab a good pen (you can find amazing options here!), and start writing! Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Wash your hands. Stay healthy.

For the love of adventure,

Britt Leigh

** Consider supporting these local businesses (if not these, please be sure to support your local small businesses!):

The Jewelry Source - your friendly, neighborhood jewelry store

How to support: Purchase a gift card or make an appointment

Java's Brewin - delicious local eatery

How to support: Order for pick up or purchase a gift card

Ryan Matz Photography - incredible photos

How to support: Purchase a gift card or set up a session for the Summer!

The Broom Closet - wooden signs and pens

How to support: Online business so shop away!

Miraculous Crossfit - Fitness center

How to support: Set up nutrition consult or shop their online store!

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