Using writing, journaling to cope during COVID-19

Author offering virtual courses on how to cope during COVID-19
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 14:34:55-04

"No English teacher is grading you," Sandra Marinella joked. "That's the beauty of personal writing. You no longer have an English teacher marking all over your paper!"

Forget report cards or having points taken off for this type of writing because it is just for you.

"I think life is complex," Marinella said. "It's confusing. It's a challenge. There's a lot of emotions involved and for the sake of mental health, we can't bury those emotions inside."

You do not have to be an open book. But, author Sandra Marinella said journaling and sharing your life through text can help you cope.

"It's bringing those stories out that kind of saves us," Marinella explained. "And helps us understand ourselves."

Marinella knows that first-hand.

While she has been an English teacher in the Valley for roughly three decades, she just wrote her first book after she used journaling to deal with the trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis.

"I could see in those journals, 'Well, I've had all these problems.' The writing had given me the courage to release the problem, see the story, understand the story, and then reflect on a way of how I could make my life a whole lot better," Marinella said.

Research has shown that writing helps you prioritize issues and organize your feelings.

But how do you even take that first step on a blank page without being a novelist or poet?

"I'm currently teaching a class that I call 'Writing Through Changes,'" said Marinella.

She is using her years of teaching experience and her book, 'The Story You Need to Tell' to help others learn how to express themselves.

"I've formed a course where we will explore how we face-off with change," Marinella explained.

She is now partnering with Changing Hands Bookstore to offer Zoom workshops.

Her first session is already sold out, however there is another session in June.

"We want to pull our stories out," Marinella said. "We want to share our stories and find out the best ways to live with them."

If you are interested in registering, click here.

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.