There's something that I'm not sure I've told you; I've hinted at it before, I suppose, but I haven't come out and explicitly said it. I guess I'm afraid to. But, this is my safe space. It's my creative outlet, my favorite form of therapy. So here it goes.
This isn't a new thing, really. Ever since I can remember, I've been a bit paranoid. I hate the dark and being home by myself. I like to think up really terrible scenarios in my head, and get worked up over them. But in this past year, my anxiety has gone to a whole other level.
The thing is, I'm happy. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. In the past, I've dealt with my share of anxiety, sure, but I was depressed for quite a while. Changing my outlook on life, and my career, has made any residual sadness in my life disappear.
I guess anxiety is just something that we all deal with. For me, however, having the pressure of not only working for yourself (and providing for your family), but also accepting the trust that my clients have put in me, is a lot. More than that, it's a lot to trust myself that I got this.
In the past few months, I've made an intentional decision to work on my anxiety. It was nearly unmanageable a few months ago, but it was also taking a toll on my marriage and my personal life. I couldn't sleep. I was crying almost every day. It as bad.
I feel a thousand times better today. My work is a thousand times better, my home life is a thousand times better, and I'm just...content. It's hard for me to put this out there, but some of it does have to do with medication. At first I was ashamed, but now I realize that it was necessary. Before I was on medication, I would let my work consume me all the time. Even if something wasn't a high priority and didn't need to get done right that minute, all I could think about was work. Now, I know when something is at risk of not getting done, but instead of just stressing over it, I just get it done. And if I have to let something go until the next morning, I do. I don't let myself wallow or think about it too much.
I wanted to share a few other ways that I'm learning to deal with my anxiety. Medication doesn't fix everything, but it helps put me in the right frame of mind to calm myself down and figure out what I need to do. Here are some other ways that I deal with it all.
Let go of technology.
If you work for yourself, you know the catch-22 that is technology. iPhones and laptops are great, until they consume your life. It's easy to get notifications every time you get an email, or spend any spare moment religiously checking your social media sites. I did it, and it wasn't until recently that I realized how much it consumed my life.
I don't need to be constantly checking my email, and I definitely don't need to be answering emails right away. If I've learned anything about blogging the three years that I've been doing it, it's that you have to live your life, before you can share it with others. My family and my home and my happiness are the most important things to me, so these are the things that I need to focus on. Technology doesn't always have to play a part in that.
In the past six months, I've slowly let go of my grip on technology. I don't get push notifications for my email; I don't actually get any type of notifications on my phone, other than calls or text messages. And our phones stay out of the bedroom completely. If we go out to dinner, our phones stay away. It's one very easy way that I've learned to deal with any anxiety that comes with being connected.
Write it down.
Sometimes, I do actually have a reason to be stressed or overwhelmed. Work does get out of hand every once in a while, and there are definitely days that I have to work into the night. When that happens, and I feel like everything is just out of control, I write it all down.
Even if I have an ongoing to do list, I really find it helpful to write down exactly what it is I have to do. My favorite technique is to make a two column list; on one side is the task I have to do or what is stressing me out, and the other side has what I can do about it. Seeing a list of explicit tasks really makes a difference. Not only that, but if I'm stressing out about something and write down that there is nothing I can do about it, then it kind of forces me to just let it go. You should try it.
Remember the why.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but this is probably one of the best ways that I deal with my anxiety. Sometimes I'll write it down, sometimes I just take a moment to close my eyes and remember why it is that I'm doing what I'm doing. Usually, the reason has to do with my quality of life. That really puts things into perspective.
So, there it is. I have anxiety, and sometimes I have a hard time dealing with it. But life is good, for all of us. I just have to remember that sometimes.
Do you have anxiety? How do you deal with it?