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Wellness

Keeping a Visual Diary: Three Reasons You Should Start Taking One Photo a Day

Even though taking one picture a day can seem a little pointless and trivial, it is something that I have come to love and want to encourage all of you to start doing as well. After all, there is no better time to give this challenge a shot than during the gloomy winter months of a pandemic. Whether you are feeling a little blue from the weather, or worn-down by the pandemic, this new routine will boost your mood. Here are three reasons you should consider taking one picture day.

 

1. It encourages you to incorporate gratitude into your daily life:

As we are living through a pandemic, life can feel dull and depressing. Getting into the routing of taking a picture daily can encourage you to seek out the little wonders of life that we often take for granted. Capturing ordinary things like the warm cup of coffee that helped you get out of bed and tackle the day, the bedroom that you finally cleaned for the first time in a few months (no one is judging), the tenth plant you bought and promised would be the last (big cap), or the bus stop sign you waited at on your way back home from work – all of these can serve as a reminder that even amidst a pandemic, there will always be something to be grateful for, proud of, and/or happy about. The ordinary should be remembered and celebrated and over time, you will catch yourself seeking out these ordinary things that you may have taken for granted before. You will learn that even if every day may have started to feel the same in this pandemic, every day has something new to offer. Will you be able to find it?

 

2. It helps you self-reflect:

Although therapeutic, writing down your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas and your future plans is just not for everyone, and can become quite time consuming. The exercise of snapping a picture in just a few seconds can sometimes be just as effective when you don’t have time to journal. The practice of looking back at your daily photos can also be a way to take time to reflect on the past week, month or year that you’ve had. What moments stood out to you? When were you at your happiest? Sometimes you’ll find that you forgot about that one day or that one week where you were breaking down every day and it is only upon rediscovering ugly mid-crying selfies in your gallery that you remember it. In the moment however, you probably felt like you would never overcome it, let alone forget it. But hey, look up, you made it. As you scroll through your gallery, you can discover and be reminded of just how strong you are for surpassing your low points, for how amazed you can be by the little ordinary things and how hopeful you are that you will continue to experience all the ups and downs of life that just make you who you are. Think of this activity as rediscovering that old playlist you made when you broke up with your first love. Yes it may be cringy at first, but it can be so much more too. Although there is always something to be grateful for no matter what, not everything is picture perfect. So along with capturing the ordinary wonders of life, allow yourself to capture the hardships too. With hindsight, you will be reminded of your strength, and the beauty of your own story.

 

3. It gives you the opportunity to share your story with others:

Do you feel like there is nothing much to share with your friends about your daily life now? I mean, how many times can you tell them that you woke up, had zoom classes and went back to sleep? If you’re like me, you’ve probably resorted to sending a lot more funny memes instead as a way of keeping in touch with them. By taking a photo a day, you are keeping a visual diary of your life and you can share parts of this visual diary with your close friends. You can strike up a conversation by sending them a picture of the cake that you made, or have a good laugh at the plant that didn’t survive in your care. Through your visual diary, you can also inspire those around you to start taking pictures everyday. At the end of the year, you can even make a collage and share that with your close friends. If you’ve always dreamt of having kids, you can document your life through pictures and one day hope to share it with them. Your becoming story can inspire your friends and your future kids to push through the hard times, to appreciate the potential of reminiscence and to always have gratitude in your heart.

 

As the expression goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But you don’t have to write an auto-biography of a gazillion words to tell your story. If journaling your life is just not your thing, I challenge you to let your story write itself through your pictures.

 

Noémie is a fourth year student at McGill University studying Political Science and International Development. She is also on the women's soccer team. In her free time, she enjoys reading, and listening to music.
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