A Shift in Routine
This major shift in our daily routine happened so suddenly! We were going to work, driving the kids to school, hockey practice and scout meetings. We were about our business and our busy-ness. Our predictable routines were suddenly thrown away, what we came to accept as our stable lives, was no longer. We are disoriented, fearful and bored, bored at home!
Experiencing boredom even in the best of times can be unhealthy for many of us. We are so accustomed to being focused on productivity, deadlines, meeting financial and career goals. This pandemic has forced us to sit, just sit. What do we do with the boring moments of this sudden interruption of not only our own routines and structures, but the apparent stoppage of the world around us, not to mention the immense fear that most people are experiencing, as they sit at home watching negative reports and death tolls rising in their communities.
Using the first letters of the word “boring,” I’ve developed a way for me, and my clients to adapt and cope with our current way of living:
B – Body
The attention on our Body, through eating healthy and exercising, is an important way to stay focused. Be aware of what you are eating, protect your health, remain focused on immunogenic substances and avoid any alcohol and drugs during this time.
O – Order
The need for Order. When you wake in the morning (suggest the same time as if you were working) prepare a breakfast for you and your loved ones, exercise, engage in activities the same time each day.
R – Resiliency
Resiliency is the ability of humans and other living things to spring back after a major disruption that affect their lives. Keeping yourselves alert to the temptation to lounge on the couch, be a victim of the passing of time, should be avoided as much as possible. Your current decisions to remain engaged, increasing your sense of agency, without subscribing to restless thoughts and behavior patterns, will assist you when this crisis is more managed.
I – Interior Inquiry
This time is an excellent opportunity for Interior Inquiry. Shut off the televisions, radios and other electronic devices and engage in a mindfulness meditation practice. Instead of basking in how boring your day is, use the down time to better yourself, through a deeper inventory of your life to date. What can you do to enhance compassion and love towards yourself and others? To decrease defining yourself by your externals such as: job position, socioeconomic status, number of friends, clothing, cars, etc. Take advantage of being alone, and avoid the stories of loneliness in your head!
N – Negativity
Watch the tendency towards Negativity. As we are cooped up in our homes with loved ones, be careful to take the opportunities to share how much you appreciate all they do for you and the family. Express love on a more regular basis, and avoid engaging in negative name calling, attacks, etc. There is so much to be grateful for, even at this time!
G – Guard
We should Guard against sleepiness when battling boring days. During this time, many people can fall into semi-conscious states of awareness, being unaware of their emotions and behaviors. We can loose track of our days, dates, times and even ourselves! The restless mind is like a “horse out of the barn.” Be aware of ways to manage your restless thoughts. The mind actually likes to be in the barn.
Recovery Isn’t Boring
I hope this reflection has been helpful to you, as it has helped me to better cope with this period of uncertainty and change.
If you, or a loved one is struggling with addictions during this time, please contact us at Providence Treatment at www.providencetreatment.com, We provide treatment via Telehealth. Attending to your addiction recovery safe in your home.
Peace to you and all of humanity!
William J. Heran, Ph.D., LCSW, SAP CEO/Co-Founder Providence Treatment Philadelphia, PA