I’m an overwhelmed writer who’s been hiding from my writing for a week or two…or three. But not writing makes me feel even more overwhelmed. It’s not a cliche. Whether you’re an artist or not, if you’re not interacting with what inspires you in the world, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make whatever funk’s messing with you worse.
It’s easy to feel burned out these days. As parents and business people and friends and lovers and, yes, creators of things that inspire others, we’re doing more each day and often getting paid less, which means if we want to pay our bills that even more doing looms on the horizon. And our souls can suffer, bottoming out and leaving us in a mental fetal position where we feel we have nothing else to give ourselves or others.
And then it’s not quite winter anymore and not quite spring, and crawling under the covers (at least mentally) and feeling blue seems like a good one-day, short-term solution…until it turns into weeks of letting ourselves off the hook.
It’s so easy to stop interacting with what challenges us and feeds us at the same time. It’s human nature when we’re on overload to scale things back to the bare minimum. We get the day-to-day done that keeps the water coming out of the faucets and lights on, while we’re emotionally absent in ways that at first protect us, but then begin to drain us.
There’s a common ground to find. There’s a balance we need to seek, instead of the oblivion of just turning our creative, vulnerable, softer side off for a while, so it can lick its wounds.
We think backing away from what makes us uniquely us (and the part of us that’s so exhausted, because we’ve put so much of ourselves out there already) is the answer. And maybe for a a day or two, it is. But not feeling stressed (or telling ourselves that’s the ideal) is a gateway drug. For a day or two, it’s a lovely zen. Then it becomes a hideout, and then an addiction in which we convince ourselves that we don’t want to go to that stressed place again. Ever.
Creatively, stress is most often what drives us. (more…)