Published: Nov. 17, 2020

There’s no doubt we are living in difficult times. Writing can be a great tool to help process your emotions and improve your mood. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Make a plan to be positive

Grab a journal and write three things you’re going to do to stay positive during the day. It can be something like giving yourself a compliment before you start your day, talking to a family member on the phone at lunch or listening to your favorite jams while you go for a walk. You can use a notebook and pen or an app like CustomJournal to keep track. 

Reflect on five great things

Practicing gratitude is proven to be an effective mood booster. Not only does it make you feel better in the moment, but practicing gratitude regularly can remind you of positive things, even when it feels like everything is going wrong. 

Try creating a “five great things” list. At the end of each day, write down five things that were good, great or better than usual. You can include things that happened, or things that made you laugh, smile or feel good. You can download free gratitude journaling apps like Gratitude (iOS, Android) to help you.

Write down your goals

Having goals and something to work toward can help improve our mood. Start by writing down two or three goals that you’d like to accomplish today, this week or this month. Your goals can include organizing your room, preparing for an exam, going for a walk each day, drinking a full bottle of water or making a plan to keep in touch with people you love. 

Find things to look forward to

Start making a list of all  the things you will do once the world opens up again.

Here are some prompt questions to get you started:

  • What is the first place you will visit after the pandemic?

  • Who is the first person you will hug?

  • What is one thing you are really looking forward to doing that had to be postponed due to COVID?

Sometimes, it’s the anticipation of all the wonderful things that are to come which can help us stay motivated. Write down all the adventures, in-person conversations and anything else you are going to do when it’s safe to do so. 

Campus Resources

Goal setting

If you need help figuring out your goals or how to achieve them, Health Promotion offers free Peer Wellness Coaching. A trained student wellness coach will meet with you virtually to help you set goals, figure out your next steps, make a plan to achieve your goals and connect you with resources that can help along the way.


If you’re having a tough week or struggling to think about practicing self-care on top of everything else, check out these 3 things you can do right now to feel better.


Practicing mindfulness when you write can help you express what you’re feeling outside of your mind so you don’t have to feel like you’re carrying those feelings everywhere you go.

If you’re unsure where to begin, you can try out free mindfulness apps like Jour (iOS). This app can help you check in on your mood and practice mindfulness throughout the day. Smiling Mind (iOS, Android) is another good option that coaches you through a variety of 10-minute mindfulness activities each day.