How To Write When The World Is Overwhelming

Many creative people are in tune with the world around them. The hurts, pains and injustices of the world cut deep and the sense of overwhelm can swallow you whole like being washed under in the tides of a hurricane-churned sea. It can be so easy to get washed away and stop creating. But for me, creating is how I find my footholds in the world again. It's how I find meaning and make sense of things that feel senseless. It's how I restore myself and find the strength to move forward. 

But when the world has gone mad around you, when you are dealing with difficult personal problems that threaten to consume your whole focus, how do you make the time to create? I've found these 5 things help me carve out the time and space I need to still feel human, to not get lost in hopelessness. 

1. List out what you can do.
I live by my to-do list in my bullet journal and when things get overwhelming what helps is putting just one thing onto that list. It can be as simple as making a phone call. I add that to my list and knock it off. It gives me an instant boost of 'I can do something' and helps cancel out the feelings of hopelessness. 

2. Get physical. 
I'm not a terribly physical person, but I love going on walks and doing yoga. When I get really lost in my head I pop on a youtube video (I love Yoga with Adrienne) and give myself 10-20 minutes of focusing on my breathing and moving my body. Forcing me to concentrate on how I am moving, takes me out of my head and into a more physical space. It gives me the distance to catch my breath and get a breather from the noise of my endlessly flowing thoughts. Give yourself permission to do something that forces you to move and think about anything else. 

3. Create in a new way. 
Writing has always been my 'thing,' The creative outlet that calls my name. But lately I've enjoyed coloring. Find a new way to be creative and flex those thnking muscles in new ways! Always loved painting? Try writing a sonnett. Been a poet your whole life? Try writing a personal esay. Give yourself the chance to branch into other creative expressions. Bob Ross is on Youtube now so paint some happy trees.

4. Walk away. 
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is unplug and walk away. It's easy to get stressed out by staying on social media so sign off and take an afternoon to do something else. Go to dinner with friends, visit your closest national park and explore, paint your nails, sing karaoke. Go do something away from the source of your stress. It will still be there when you get back, but being on alert 24/7 is just going to burn you out. Take time for self-care even if it's as simple as taking a long shower or enjoying a hot cocoa and a book.

5. Reach out. 
Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit you're not okay and to reach out for help. Talk to friends and family if you can. Find online communities you can talk to, and never be afraid to get professional help. There is no shame in needing help and taking the steps to get what you need to continue being a healthy human. 

6. Find something that makes you laugh. 
Laughter is powerful and you should try to find ways to enjoy that medicine. Find some silly youtube videos or ridiculous games and just embrace the silliness. Watch your favorite comedy, invite your friends over and have a funny story circle. Laugh deeply and truly. 

Those are just some ways to find some hope and light when the world feels heavy and overwhelming. You have to take care of yourself. I believe in you.