Handling Anxiety – Triggers and Targets
I’m having a morning in which I’m an absolute mess – a ball of anxiety and worry. I used to operate like this 24/7, and I’ll tell you, I don’t miss it for a second.
The bright side is that I know myself and my triggers well enough now to be able to identify what’s causing most of the concern.
- Too much management, not enough motion. I’ve had to spend a lot more time shepherding projects along at the day job without actually doing anything manually to move the processes to completion. The same is somewhat true of the freelance work, where I can encourage people to give me content but can’t actually write or create it on their behalf. That frustrates me, because I really prefer getting into a project, finishing it quickly, and then moving on.
- Too many ideas, not enough time. I’m exploding with ideas for stories, flash fiction, graphics and paintings. Too many of them to get any one of them actually done in a reasonable amount of time, especially given the time constraints listed above.
- Lack of exercise and motion. I’ve been away from the gym for weeks now. It doesn’t actually help that people keep telling me I look like I’ve lost weight – what I think I’ve lost is muscle, but when people keep saying you look too thin it’s harder to make the workout a priority.
- Poor dietary choices. “Make good choices,” L and I say to each other, but I haven’t been. There are barbecues, parties, celebrations and reasons to dine out on every side of me, every day. I’m not complaining about this – the chance to see so many people and have such a good time is among the better parts of my life – but my lack of self-discipline in choosing what to eat and drink is really dragging me down energetically.
- Relaxation vs. reality. This one will get a whole post of its own soon, but it comes down to choosing how to spend the free time I do have. I’m often questioned on why it’s so hard for me to just sit down and relax – the fact is that I recognize that when I spend too much time doing so, this anxiety is the equivalent of my hangover from excessive fun-time. I’d rather avoid that anxiety than spend the time ‘relaxing’ in the ways that most people recognize as relaxation.
So how do I fix this, and get back to my usual stance of breezy self-assurance?
Numbers one and two can be managed by lists – putting things that I want to do, need to do, and deadlines for both down on paper. This lets me actually track what’s happening in the real world, rather than looming over me as some amorphous mass.
Numbers three and four are down to me and down to re-establishing new routines that work. I can keep attending parties and cookouts as long as I pay more attention to breakfast and lunch choices, and knowing that the lack of exercise is making me crazy is a powerful motivator to get back to the gym.
As to number 5 – like I say, that’s a post for another day without any question. In the meantime, it’ll behoove me to find ways to distract myself from overwork or overplay. Balance may be the key, but it’s not something I’ve ever found that simple.
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