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  • Sue Bulmer

The Busy Trap



Do you ever find yourself in The Busy Trap, easily getting bound up in always being 'on the go', constantly having a to-do list with tens of tasks to complete, always thinking about what's next, rushing from one thing to the next without taking the time to 'just be'. I'm just as guilty as anyone else, in fact I'm guilty of all of the above and I think at times I'm getting worse. As I try to juggle multiple job roles and life dreams I wonder whether I'm trying to cram too much in, trying to be too many things, wondering whether I need to pick one thing and try to do it really well rather than sometimes feeling I'm doing a rubbish half job of everything. As I get older I often feel like time is running out and I really want to make sure I get everything done in my short time on this planet. Making the most of every day is a great way to live but we also have to make time for self care and rest. Does all this sound familiar? I'd be interested to hear....

Since January I had been working more hours than I have done in a long time. Compared to this time last year, in our first UK lockdown when I was working only two days a week from home, worried and anxious i would never find a job as an art therapist, it seems hard to believe my weeks have been so full of work this year. It has all been for a good cause, and I'm not complaining, as I am lucky enough to begin my new art therapy career with an amazing organisation, and also spending time working with a fantastic team on the vaccination programme in my healthcare role.

But whilst caught up in The Busy Trap I began slowly, over the passing weeks of early 2021, to notice what I was missing, my family weekends, cooking, gardening, walks in the evening, making art in my studio. Doing 'all the stuff' began to wear me down as I started to feel increasingly irritable, tired, annoyed with myself for taking too much on and generally dissatisfied. I realised the only person who could redress the balance was me. When this finally occurred to me I began to make the most of smaller pockets of time, maybe a half hour before a vaccine shift, or getting out of bed an hour earlier to paint. I drew some new boundaries, which includes no more overtime and switching off at the end of the working day, however tempting it is to keep going.

So whilst I look back to this time last year with a bit of nostalgia and yearning for the amount of free time I had I look back at that time as a gift but also a lesson.

The gift was the time spent on my art, taking an amazing course, Find Your Joy by Louise Fletcher (which by the way she is running again this year if you're interested, click on the link for info on the free taster), This course and Louise really helped me to move past some of my self-imposed obstacles and blocks and move my work forward to a braver, more expressive place.

The lesson was that slowing down and noticing the small things and listening to what you need really helps to get things back into focus. A holiday to Cornwall also helped. For now, I'm still working on striking the right balance, walking that narrow tightrope between busy and quiet and making sure that the quiet times are savoured, the small things, like the family of sparrows in our roof and the bees who have taken up residence in the bird box next to my studio door are appreciated. I've enjoyed planting the tomatoes, nasturtium, verbena, basil and courgettes and enjoying the novelty of spending time with loved ones again. I still don't feel I paint enough but maybe I'm expecting too much o

f myself.

I guess this will always be a WIP. If any of this rings true I'm sure you know what I mean

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