Are you exhausted? Overwhelmed? Overworked? Anxious?
Yup. I get it.
All of my clients are feeling this way right now, and I've been having episodes of it too.
It feels a little bit like the end of the world (or the beginning), but either way a completely overwhelming moment of change. The lack of predictability and control that we all feel is throwing us into constant catabolic energy.
Even if we have the tools and training to come out of that catabolic state fairly quickly, it's still exhausting to be constantly triggered.
So, it felt important to write to you today to talk about rest vs. buffering.
I first learned about buffering from Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach school. She has an amazing podcast all about how to stop buffering that I encourage you to listen to at some point.
Buffering is artificial pleasure that holds us back from fully experiencing our lives (we use it to avoid the discomfort that comes from being unhappy or feel pain).
Right now, I'm watching a lot of my clients binge watch TV, go into social media holes (what are these reels anyway?!?), or drink as a way of buffering.
I'm not saying these activities are inherently bad.
But my clients are telling themselves that this is their way to unwind and rest.
But when I ask them if they feel rejuvenated after the activity, the answer is always: no.
That's because they're doing these activities as a way to avoid feeling the pain, overwhelm, and fear of this uncertain moment. That's the part that is creating the problem.
They are buffering, not resting.
So ultimately, it's making them more exhausted, decreasing their resilience, and increasing stress and overwhelm.
If you're still reading, my guess is that it's because you can relate. Honestly, I can too.
But what we all need right now is true rest and to accept our discomfort.
So let's start with the easier one....resting.
- What fills me up?
- What activities always make me feel better?
- What activities give me a sense of hope?
Put those activities on your calendar EVERY single day. It could be exercise, phone-free time, a FaceTime date with a friend, or an evening walk with your partner.
And now for the harder one. You need to let yourself feel uncomfortable.
Here are some questions I ask myself when I feel the desire to buffer but know I need to face my pain....
- What is scaring me the most right now?
- Where is my fear showing up in my body?
- Why am I so worried about this?
And then I validate my own feelings and let them wash over me (sometimes with accompanying tears)....
- It makes perfect sense that I'm scared right now. What would make me feel supported?
- That knot in my belly is so uncomfortable, would a few deep breaths help me release it?
- It is normal to feel pain, I don't need to hide from it.
- The only way past this discomfort is to acknowledge it, so here I am.
If you've worked with me one-on-one for a bit, I've probably said to you: that seems like something to solve crying in the bathtub.
That's because tears actually release tension, they are a form of surrender and acceptance. And if tears don't work for you, perhaps it's intense exercise or lions breath or screaming into a pillow.
Zero judgment, we've ALL been there.
We are all gripping tightly right now.
Do you feel your body braced for impact?
This isn't serving you. And neither is any buffering that you're doing.
So, what can you actually do today to rest and allow your discomfort to have the validation that it deserves?