When anxiety is understandably your first response

WOW. What a crazy, scary week it has been!

It is a perfect storm for those of us with anxiety:

  • Lots of unknowns
  • Unable to control just about anything
  • Inability to know the “right” answer
  • Just plain fear.

All of these factors are our current reality and can send our anxiety through the roof.

It is understandable we are anxious. These are anxious times. We have never experienced a pandemic: a shut down of our schools, communities, and entertainment.

So today I want to remind all of us (me included) a few things:
Be kind to yourself. Your Monger is going to want to run the show, telling you that you should be doing it differently, you should be feeling differently, reacting differently, planning differently. Your Monger will have LOTS of messages.

So make a point of calling in your Biggest Fan:
Acknowledge your fear and disappointment. It is understandable if you are disappointed. Vacations are being canceled, our kid’s sports competitions are postponed, and we have a lot more responsibility thrust upon us. You are going to be disappointed but that does not mean you are a bad person or selfish—it means you are human!
Slow yourself down. Get into your body, stretch and wiggle, have a dance party in your kitchen. The temptation is to stay in reaction mode all of the time. Watching TV non-stop to stay aware of the news and latest developments. Yes, stay aware, but 24/7 is just not necessary. We get so caught up in our heads with problem-solving and list-making, we forget that we have a body. Remember to take a beat, feel your body, remember you are imperfect and you can’t possibly know all the things.

And then react.

Make plans, make your lists, gather your information.

Resist the temptation to scroll through social media non-stop.

There is only so much information we can take in.

I know, it is hard to have so much stress and unknown going on around us and yet because our schedules have been largely canceled there is not much to do. Embracing that fact is hard. So relax and settle yourself as best as possible. Watch movies, hang with your kids, play games, do something you have been really wanting to do, laugh, talk, listen, sleep. Watch movies, hang with your kids, play games, laugh, talk, listen, sleep.

Check-in with your loved ones. Ask for help if you need it. With all of us hunkering down, it is easy to isolate, but we can reach out using technology and check on our loved ones. Remember, you can always ask for help with kids, grocery store runs, or when our anxiety gets too much and we need to vent.

Listen to your internal wisdom. If you think canceling plans would be best, cancel plans. Others might say you are over-reacting or being paranoid, but you are allowed to react differently. There is no right answer. There is no perfect way to handle this situation. We are all doing our best in the face of unknowns.

Anxiety is understandably the first response, but it doesn’t have to be the only response.

We got this. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

New on The Happier Approach podcast

In this week’s episode, I wanted to dive a little deeper into feelings and answer some of the questions I often hear from clients and listeners.

Feelings are a big part of my coping strategy around my anxiety. Allowing my feelings and facing them has been a game-changer for me. I KNOW the fear that doing this will open the flood gates, that all the feelings will come out and overwhelm. So, in this episode, I address some common fears about acknowledging your feelings. Check it out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or over here.