I was sitting at the kitchen table for a solid two hours panicking about my to-do list. As the hum of the laundry interrupted my quick breathing, I realized I was a hot second away from a panic attack.
What about, you ask?
Oh really, it wasn’t anything at all.
I was working myself up about my endless to-do list and how the stove had food spilled all over it after I’d just spent an hour cleaning it the day before. I was stressed about the laundry and how physically exerting it is for me to strip the beds, wash the sheets, and shlep it all back to make them up . . . and while I’m doing this I’m usually either violently nauseous or having a lower GI flare, where I have to stop everything immediately to run to the nearest bathroom. Sometimes it’s both. Those are really fun days . . . and that is 100% meant to be taken with sarcasm.
I was getting anxious about packages that were supposed to be arriving, because the other day I ordered a mug that came shattered . . . and somehow by worrying about when they’d be delivered, that would ensure they wouldn’t be broken or damaged (like, what? Okay, anxiety).
I was getting stressed out about wedding plans (or a lack thereof) and how the uncertainty of the pandemic has created this haunting association with anything wedding-related.
Basically, I was a ball of nerves teetering on a breakdown . . . until I realized I’m in control of my thoughts, not the other way around.
With respect to the packages, I can let my dogs notify me if something’s arrived. They truly thrive on alerting me before the doorbell does. If something does arrive broken, that’s okay. I’ll deal with it then. More often than not, things arrive just fine and there’s no point in wasting what energy I do have between flares on something like this.
As far as the chores go, things will get cleaned when they get cleaned. Barring an urgent mess like dog puke or a broken dish or something else, now, more than ever, it’s important to embrace situations that give us temporary discomfort. Sure, don’t leave socks in every crevice of the couch and dirty dishes on the counter for days on end, but unless that mess is currently preventing you from doing something (e.g. you have to wash the cup so you can have something to drink water in . . . but you probably have more than one cup) . . . calm tf down.
Finally, wedding planning (or a lack thereof) is what it is. There’s no use in stressing out over something that is completely out of your control. There’s literally a global pandemic and a whole host of local laws preventing group gatherings of any size right now.
SO WHY AM I STRESSING OUT ABOUT HOW THE GOVERNMENT CLASSIFIES MY RELATIONSHIP?
My fiancé and I are doing just fine without that little piece of paper. I mean sure, it’s annoying that our original wedding date came and went without fanfare a few weeks ago, but in the grander scheme of things, we’re both still here.
Plus, it’s about the marriage not the wedding, right?
I’ll be sharing a more detailed post on how COVID-19 has altered our wedding plans moving forward,, but that’s a post for another time. Today, let’s talk about how I systematically broke down my “to-do list of anxieties,” so that I could avoid a full-blown panic attack.
IF YOU’RE FEELING STRESSED OUT RIGHT NOW, ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
- What is stressing you out? (Example: broken packages)
- Why is it stressing you out? (Example: stressful, annoying)
- What can you do about it right now? (Example: nothing now, could email company if/when it does arrive with any issues)
- If the answer to #3 is nothing right now, do this: unclench your jaw, breathe in through your nose, take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds, and release through your mouth. Repeat if necessary.
- Now that you’ve gone through this exercise and realized you can’t do anything about it right now, check it off your to-do list and make a note to revisit it at a later date, if applicable.
Now, that’s all I’ve got for today. I’ve missed writing on here.
Add that to the to-list.
Kidding, but not really.
If you find these tips helpful, let me know! Anxiety is one of those things that creeps in when you’re least expecting it, but if you’re able to recognize it, that’s huge. Developing tools like the checklist above can help, and even if they don’t completely erase the stress, they’ll at least kick it down a few notches so you can enjoy a little bit more of your day.