The Stress Kettle

Stress is kind of like a tea kettle.
The water is our resources. The heat is stress.

There are many days where the heat never even gets turned on and our well of resources remains stable.

Some days the heat is on low and only for a short time – pretty easy to handle.
Other days the heat is on high and the temperature rises and even boils but then the heat is turned off quickly. Boiling isn’t all bad though – it can be turned into something positive, like a cup of tea.

Then there is stress during COVID.

This stress starts like the other examples except the kettle is left on simmer ALL THE TIME.

Some days it gets turned up and  comes to a boil but most of the time it stays on simmer – night and day 24/7.

With the kettle on simmer all the time you can imagine how much more quickly it can come to a boil if the heat goes up even a little bit. You can also imagine how the water – our resources – evaporate over time. Without replenishing the water,  the kettle is in danger of boiling dry. It could even get severely scorched.

That’s the thing about the pandemic. A lot of people don’t feel severely stressed but being on simmer can take its toll and suddenly your kettle is dry and scorching, despite practicing self-care, eating healthily, limiting negative media, setting boundaries, exercising, etc.

Herein is where I found myself. Boiled dry, scorched, and, frankly, bewildered at how I got there. “But I was doing all the things!” I said to myself. It doesn’t matter whether you were taking time for self care and being cognizant of the stress of this year. The slow simmer eventually wears you down and boils you dry.

And I then learned it’s OK to say so. It’s OK to take time to replenish resources and heal. And most importantly, it’s NOT weakness or selfish.

Guilt can wreak havoc and tell you all these horrible things breaking you down even more than the slow simmer.

Well, guilt can shove off.

And actually succeeding in telling guilt to shove off takes time, a lot of time. But it’s worth it – every single minute.

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