Community Responses

Each month, research participants will receive an email alerting them that a new monthly diary prompt is available for their response. They will have the option to respond via text, audio recording, video recording, and/or photograph. Participants should NOT include video, photo, or audio recording of people other than themselves. Private submissions are allowed. Community responses will only be included on the website if the individual grants us permission to do so.

Below is a list of community responses as submitted by participants. Click "Read More" to read the full response for any listing.

Mental & Emotional Health

Thankfully, my mental health was fairly well controlled by medication prior to the pandemic, and continued to be throughout the course of this experience. The only catch was that without my normal exercise (walking to/frommy office), I have gained significant weight over the last year and a half. [...] This is a serious frustration to me, as I have no desire to have the health problems associated with obesity, but I also need focus in order to work and live a productive life. I am still struggling to find a solution to this problem.

- Katherine / Gen X (July 2021)

The actions I do to help the mental and emotional health of others is trying to reach out to my friends each week and listen to their problems and not make the entire conversation about me. I'm trying to be a better friend to my friends and I hope it helps them.

- Kayla / Millenial (July 2021)

Journaling is really important for my mental and emotional health; I journal everyday, starting with at least 30 minutes every morning (while allowing myself the flexibility to spread that 30 minutes across the day if needed). In addition to helping me uncover my fears and insecurities and core beliefs, journaling also provides a medium for me to comfort myself, to teach myself better habits, to appreciate my life, and to document the lessons I am learning from the world. [...]

I’ve also learned to celebrate myself more and to view my life through a lens of abundance rather than one of lacking or inadequacy. Instead of diminishing the value of how I have spent my time by comparing myself to my peers (who, unlike me, are in graduate school or working full-time), I remind myself of the loving things that I have been working on and working through since I graduated which make me proud and make me accomplished. I congratulate myself for cleaning, for dancing, for completing projects for my supervisors, for crossing so many things off my to do list. I congratulate myself for budgeting, for learning, for growing, and for opening myself to new ways of thinking

- Sunny / Gen Z (July 2021)

Since the Pandemic began, I’ve gone into what I call my once in a lifetime opportunity to become “Selfish Mode”. CoVid 19 has contributed to me being more focused only on my mental and physical wellbeing and those that I love. I’ve decided to detach myself from being burdened down by other people and their expectations, including church and some family members.

- Tracee / Gen X (July 2021)

Early on (18+ months ago), we were overly cautious about where we went and who we were around. We talked about practicing Covid safety and agreed as a household on the topic. [...] By June 2021 we felt safe to hug our relatives and close friends. At that time we all talked about how good it was to be able to hug each other again. I think we are a group of huggers! We have talked since then about how much we did to protect our physical health and now with an up-swing, we are aware of what we need to continue. I think talking about any fears and concerns of the pandemic has been mentally healthy.

- Mark / Baby Boomer (July 2021)

Walking is a pattern, a habit: Intense and intentional walking outside, practicing mindfulness and meditation at the sights and sounds of nature--trying to notice something new each day--has helped fight mental deterioration that the Pandemic so easily brings.Now, being vaccinated, outdoor events and visits to parks and farmer's markets with friends have been added to this routine, which benefits our collective mental health

- Publius / Millenial (July 2021)

In my network, in my community, I have been really inspired by spontaneous bursts of care and compassion. Hearing stories and even witnessing people taking care of each other, especially with all of the stress, all of the pain. There has been a considerable amount of despair, and so many of us are held together, as if only by, to quote Baldwin, a safety pin. I willed myself in the darkest and most precarious days of the pandemic to try to be the best version of myself. And I have taken some comfort in that. [...] But no, I do not have a formula or a guide. I can only say that what has been helpful to me, is what I have always done, focus on joy, learn from everything, and focus on the future.

- Charles / Gen X (July 2021)

I’ve increased the frequency of my visits with my counselor during the pandemic, which has been hugely beneficial to me. Having a smaller social circle and less access to my typical support system meant that I needed those conversations much more than I have in the past. That combined with a growing mindfulness practice has helped me to try to keep my emotional health in check in spite of everything.

- Taylor / Millennial (July 2021)

Social & Political Events

This summer, I attended a virtual mutual aid workshop from Southern Fried Queer Pride which was incredible. The speaker discussed how abolition work really begins in our own minds and relationships because we ourselves are institutions, microcosms of our world and our societies. The speaker shared that to create an existence without harm, we can start by building authentic and caring relationships with whoever is our “home,” adding that abolition involves liberating & decolonizing our minds. Right now, I'm applying this philosophy with my family as I fully realize and appreciate that some of my relatives have been acting out of their pain, and that they have been doing so for all the time that I was angry and dismissive of them.

- Sunny / Gen Z (July 2021)

There has been a lot of social and political events happen during this pandemic. Some good, like the results of the 2020 election and seeing how many people know that Black Lives Matter and starting to do something about it, like protesting against police brutality. But some have been bad, like the insurrection at the US Capitol and the killings of innocent black people by the police, not to mention the damage caused by climate change among other things. [...] The Black Lives Matter protests impacted me by changing my advocacy a bit. I'm an autistic advocate so my advocacy has included advocating for black autistic people and other autistic people of color in the wake of the George Floyd protests. But I feel like some of these events impacted me negatively as well by making me less strong and resilient when bad things happen, and the ways I cope have changed to reflect this. It changed by making me stay away from social media more often.

- Kayla / Millenial (June 2021)