The 'B' word

With the continued importance to “stay at home”, there are a number of “B” words, such as boredom, feeling off balance and buggered (exhaustion), that are impacting upon our ability to just function.  

There are many generous people out there who recognise this, and are providing us with some Band-Aids. It might be in the form of a free online course, exercise class or even a new episode of your favourite show that’s released early.

Many of these things can help you with perhaps finding routine, being productive or focussed, or just occupying your time. The reason I call them Band-Aids, is that whilst they have their place, they may not be the vaccine to solve all of our problems. Normality right now feels pretty blah for most of us.

The “Muuuuum, I’m bored!” sentence, is one I’ve heard in abundance. My response to my kids at times has been equally frustrating to them: “I’m busy, just wait!”.

Prior to COVID-19, I think for many of us, we had clearer roles and responsibilities that occurred in a variety of environments.  These things combined helped us all feel somewhat balanced. Not just for adults, but for our children as well.

Trying to manage all those continuing roles but from one environment is very challenging. It can be helpful when we think about all the balls in the air, to perhaps consider trying to lower the bar.

Ok, so you give yourself permission to lower the bar. That might look like, exercising less intensively, not worrying as much about the cleanliness of the house, juggling less work tasks or putting your phone down more often.

So, what happens then? Well for me, guilt happened. Let’s call him another B word, Bob.

Bob tells me lots of stuff like: “You are privileged, you have a job and you have nothing to complain about”. Bob feels icky at the best of times. In an effort to get rid of Bob, I try to do more and focus less on myself and my body.  

Of course, I then become more exhausted and don’t really do any of the tasks well. So, I’ve changed tact.  Instead, I have tried to sit with my old mate Bob and let him in. Something many of you will be familiar with, when you accept a feeling no matter how uncomfortable, it can tend to lessen.

Since letting Bob into my life more, I have noticed that he is less outspoken, and my negative self-talk has reduced. I do still feel a discomfort like an itch I just can’t scratch. It’s a feeling I’m also steadily learning to accept.  

Now cue the fine art of blobbing. Others will call it slowing down, being present, or tuning into our bodies. Don’t let Bob talk you out of it.

Blobbing, is how we become aware of Bob in the first place!  It might be as simple of allowing yourself a long shower, or a cup of tea. As long as it’s something that slows you down and brings you back into your body, then do it.  

Slowing down can be uncomfortable, especially with Bob around. However, it can ground you, stop the racing stressful thinking, and can even help you make decisions that are less reactive. Burn out is not our friend during these stressful times.

So, in summary, if you can, embrace Bob, blobbing and even the odd Band-Aid.
 
Caroline Thain
Occupational Therapist
headspace Launceston
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