Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed and these are the hardest times to find self-compassion and inspiration. When I have so much to do or so much to cope with, I feel so many emotions that I want to run away from. Feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, fear around uncertainty, frustration that things aren’t exactly the way that I want them to be. Then when I get tired and uninspired, I get down about feeling uninspired.
At these times, I feel like I just have to go through the motions but this is a tricky balance. I really believe that “if you’re going through hell, then keep going.” But is it just me or does hell often feel like you’re standing in quicksand or wading your way through molasses? So how do you keep going? How do you keeping moving through the molasses without getting completely exhausted?
Luckily, there are a lot of things that we can do. The polar vortex is back and we all need some inspiration so I’m going to post strategies regularly over the next couple of weeks.
STRATEGY 1: Journaling – uncensored, totally judgment free
Journaling is a great way to stay in touch with where you’re at mentally. It enhances self-awareness and can be an opportunity to unleash your creativity.
I’d like to introduce you to “Morning Pages,” a creative practice described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artists’ Way. This practice involves journaling for three pages each morning. You start writing and don’t stop. Don’t take time to think about what you’re writing. Just go go go. I did this daily for a little while and I did enjoy it. It’s not realistic for me to do it every day but I know a lot of people who have used it to get through hard times and it’s a great warm up for writing (or any work, really). It has been described as a “mental shower” and I think that’s an excellent description. It’s like clearing out the morning cobwebs. In truth, this is the approach I would recommend no matter when, where or how you are journaling.
Julia Cameron insists that this must be done in long-hand but many people online agree that it is also effective to use the computer. Whatever medium you choose, just remember not to edit. This is not something that you are necessarily intended to revisit later. There is no reason to edit here. In fact, it defeats the purpose. If you are writing by hand, don’t worry if it’s messy. When I write by hand, I write very lightly and quickly so it’s nearly unintelligible but this allows me to protect my wrist from fatigue and maintain a good pace.
Short on time? Three pages may not be realistic for you. It isn’t for me! I, personally, journal for five minutes a day. This sometimes turns into thirty but I’m happy as long as I’ve gotten my five minutes in. It doesn’t have to be profound either. Sometimes I just end up writing how annoying it is to have to journal…and other days I learn a lot about myself, refocus and devise plans. Either way, when I sit down to journal, I’m not striving for quantity or quality per se. For me, it’s just about doing it and seeing what happens.
To read more about Morning Pages or Julia Cameron: