A few months ago, when I would ask clients or friends, “How are you doing?” the answer would be some version of “You know, as good as can be expected.” or “Hanging in there.” But these days, when I ask that question, the response is something like, “Ugh, I am done. So overwhelmed, exhausted, and just done.” I know I have hit the wall a couple of times and Covid combined with the gray days of January here in the northern hemisphere—we are all digging deep.
The high functioning anxiety coping mechanisms of “I got this” and push push push are getting harder and harder to do. So today I wanted to offer a letter from your Biggest Fan.
Your Biggest Fan is that quiet voice inside of you. She is the voice of self-loyalty. The wise, kind voice of grace and understanding, reminding you that you aren’t broken.
Dear Sweet Pea –
Wow. You have hit the wall, huh? Understandable. I see you hustling, pushing, and trying to out-run your anxiety. You push push push all day, soothing everyone else’s needs, being the responsible one, the adult in the room.
But sometimes that gets old. Sometimes you want someone else to pick up the “responsibility baton,” right? (But let’s be honest, only if they follow all your rules and do it exactly right. Ha!)
Let’s slow down for one second. Yes, I know you DO NOT want to. I know you are afraid to stop moving. But give me one second, and let’s slow down. I promise it won’t be as scary as you think.
Go to the bathroom. Shut the door. Take a breath. A big breath. Inhale. Exhale. Stretch your hands up to the sky. (Go ahead, I promise it will feel good!) Now bend over and touch your toes. Stretch your neck and feel your shoulders loosen. Inhale. Exhale.
Now, look at yourself in the mirror. Really see yourself, make eye contact with yourself. Too often, you are so busy you look right past yourself. Place your hands over your heart take another deep breath.
Sweet pea. These are scary times. There are a lot of unknowns. AND you can’t keep pushing without giving yourself some kindness. It just isn’t sustainable.
I get it. It feels good. It feels like you are doing something which is better than the alternative, feeling all of that anxiety.
But here’s the secret I know you don’t quite believe yet: You can handle this and be kind to yourself.
One day at a time. One hour at a time. One second at a time. We can make our way through.
Berating yourself doesn’t help. It is just where you go when the stress gets too much. By the time you finally hear that Monger voice, she has probably been talking most of the day. Telling you that you are doing it wrong, your boss is mad at you, or you are a terrible Mom for losing patience with your kids. Tell her we aren’t going there and then put your hands over your heart, feel your feet on the ground, take a deep breath, and say, “Hey sweetpea,” and I will be there with a calm, kind voice asking you what’s the next thing you need.
Just in case you missed it, notice I didn’t say ‘what’s the next thing you need to do.’ I said NEED. Period. What’s the next thing you need? Maybe it is checking something off the to-do list, but maybe it is a glass of water to take a walk, get a hug, sit down, watch Netflix or reach out to a friend.
You don’t have to constantly be doing.
You don’t have to know all of the answers.
You don’t have to be the responsible one.
Hands over your heart, feel your feet on the ground, take a deep breath,
You got this.
Always here with kindness and wisdom,
Your Biggest Fan
Want more support like this? Check out my Biggest Fan Mad-lib.
This week on the podcast, we are continuing the conversation on avoidance and anxiety with one of my personal favorite vices: social media. And as you can imagine, it has only gotten worse in recent weeks with the shelter in place orders.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Joining me on the episode is Bailey Parnell, founder & CEO of SkillsCamp, and we are sharing a truly eye-opening conversation about how we engage in avoidance through social media. When Bailey noticed her own abuse of social media, she decided to research and learn more about the issue and her 5-step approach to reducing our social media is unique and very doable. Check it out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or over here.