When the world feels like it’s crumbling, try this

7 min |

When an unthinkable tragedy strikes, our heart feels ripped out of us. There’s the brief numbing shock before it scatterguns home.

We have no choice but to haul ourselves through the tough time and with tender, tentative steps, move forward.

But when it’s a sudden collective experience – a horrific terrorist attack near or far, the death of a celebrated public figure or musician, or {weirdly?} a political referendum – our social media timelines overflow with wave upon wave of intense emotions.

Grief, heartbreak, anger – they all submerge our feeds and we get pulled under.


I’ve seen several people say they want to give up on 2016 because it’s been punctuated by terrorist attacks, political unrest and a number of incredible icons who’ve died before we’re halfway through the year.

When groups of innocent people are murdered, the hashtag #NotInMyName trends and almost everyone changes their profile pictures to show solidarity.

But that very same hashtag, originally used by British Muslims, turned up after our tumultuous political EU referendum here in the UK, as it did in Scotland after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Profile pictures changed to the EU flag overnight. Everyone became politicised.

Although that’s inherently a good thing, scathing comments were made on all sides. Young hated on the old {eg “robbing us of our future you won’t live to see”}, the educated reviled against the uneducated, working people belittled those on benefits & welfare, middle class vs working class, poor vs the rich elite… it went on and on and on.

We were drawn into the minutia of the debate.

Vehement division was rife.

The unfolding events in the aftermath of the EU Referendum {AKA Brexit} were gripping. The passionate views and insights were fascinating, the implosion of both major political parties was beyond belief, the fearsome uproar of xenophobia was disconcerting {though no surprise for minorities and people with more melanin in their skin who’ve suffered structural racism for hundreds of years}.

Each hour brought live updates across major news outlets. More resignations, more backpedalling, more inflammatory comments, more debate…

You get immersed for days and days. The vice won’t let up.

It’s exhausting.

∞ ∞ ∞

Although I want to keep contributing to the incredible conversations, although I have SO much to say and even more to learn, I am wabbit.

It’s not just the political sagas, it’s the carnage we see and the carnage we don’t see – according to the Institute of Economics and Peace , only 11 countries in our whole world are not in conflict. ELEVEN! Out of 196.

And that’s not including the grotesque level of domestic violence and abuse which is all around us.


Attempting to comprehend the daily suffering in our world can empty us out, especially if we’re unable to do much more than sign petitions and make donations of time or money which feel like a thimble cup of fresh water in the Pacific Ocean.

How can one little business owner, who cares deeply but feels overwhelmed, make a tangible difference?

When the collective grief is closing in, how can you seek a way out?



When the world turns to shit, here’s what you can do try.

{Most of these work for singular, more personal sorrows too, but the action tips below are geared towards small biz owners dealing with the kinds of all-consuming world events mentioned above.}


1. Wallow

You have full permission to wallow in the shit.

Not for eternity, mind, but for now despondency may feel necessary.

Set a time limit, so you can get back to running your business {because it matters even more today than yesterday}.

Don’t allow yourself on social media until your working day is done / most important tasks are completed.


2. Cry

Get the tears OUT.

If you have kids, try doing your ugly-snot crying strategically: in the shower or while the washing machine is on spin.

If you can’t focus on work at all, taking a couple of hours, or even the whole day off can be a tremendous help in shifting perspective {once the tears are out}.

Take an indulgent, long soak in the tub. Go for a meandering walk somewhere pretty like botanical gardens, countryside or seashore. Raining? Head to a local museum or art gallery. Get a massage. Put self-care first.


3. Shout

No. It’s not fair. You have a right to be angry. You have a right to feel ALL the emotions. You have a right to voice your opinion. You have a right to be listened to.

Keep a pillow handy to punch and howl into, journal / scribble, shut the blinds and crazy dance, get on the phone or down to the pub with your best friend and set the world to rights, attack your recycling like a human shredder / compactor {there’s a reason why your kids love stamping down the cardboard containers}…

 Practice restraint when dealing with hot-potato topics in a public sphere. I’ve seen people lose friends over Brexit. Is it necessary to make your opinion public online – how will it impact on your business?


4. Listen

Listen to others, to your loved ones, to the other side/s – the world is not black & white. They have a right to be understood too. We’re all still learning.

As above, practice restraint – don’t be sucked into nasty debates.

Even if you vehemently disagree, what can you learn from the people who oppose your opinion?


5. Laugh

I believe bliss is not bliss without despair to make it so. If there’s one thing that can save us, it’s a generous sprinkling of humour.

A funny meme won’t manifest world peace, but a regular chuckle can make our burdens easier, hence re-inspiring faith in humanity {it’s not just about love and kindness}. When your facebook feed goes bleak, turn to the joys of the internet:


Nepal to live as a goat


If appropriate, share some of the memes and gifs you find – you know your audience best in terms of how tame or wild you can be here.


You’ve engaged in the emotional rollercoaster, now it’s time for peace.


5. Seek

  • Get informed. Find out about the big, hairy thing you’re dealing with. Find out what you can do about it.
  • Source support – from friends, family, helpful organisations.
  • Use your rational thinking to get perspective and move back onto an even keel.
Ask your peers in a trusted business network how they handle this kind of stuff.

What diminutive joys can you give to yourself as small rewards for staying on task?


6. Decide

Make the decision. You have a choice. You can choose to stay submerged in the cesspool, or to haul yourself out and get on with helping create the world you want to live in. Be that through work, motherhood, activism, charitable giving… Channel your energy into those things.

What advice would you give? It’s hard to do, but try taking your own advice for a change.

Once you’ve made the decision, don’t go back that promise to yourself – stick with it and see it through.


7. Isolate

If you’re an empathic sponge and tend to soak up all the foulness of the world, switch the news OFF. You need space for creativity and growth planning. You need to be more present with your family, friends, plus personal and business communities to create the opportunities to contribute to building the kind of world you want to live in.

If you have no self-control, download an app to block the internet . If Facebook is your main addiction, download the News Feed Eradicator on Chrome and replace your feed with quotes.

Start your day with a 10-15 minute meditation. Search YouTube for guided visualisations, ask your friends for recommendations or download a meditation app .


8. Remember

Remind yourself of your “Big Why” and that the work you do is integral to the world around you – your immediate family, the people you help, the communities you’re part of…

Your big dreams and grand goals do matter, as do the small actions you take to get you there.

You can make a difference and you will.


P.S. I wrote a poem on this subject.



How do you deal with the melancholic weight of the world?

Has your world crumbled before? What actions did you take?

Please share your wisdom in the comments below.