High Anxiety

It’s not just a Mel Brooks film, it’s also my life this week. Or rather, how I’m experiencing life this week.

I’ve taken on some new responsibilities at work, and while I’m excited to expand my role and feel completely capable, I’m nervous to move out of my comfortable work routine. I’m having anxious work dreams for the first time in a long time. I think this will naturally get better on its own the more I move through the tasks and see that I’m doing just fine.

To piggyback off of my last post, one of the things I’ve been trying is workshopping with a band. I’ve been taking voice lessons for five years and decided that this year was the year that I was going to do something with it. So, I signed up to practice with other likeminded folk and to play a show next month. I was fine until this week when my nerves set in. I’m panicked that I’ll forget lyrics onstage and wake up at 3:00am with them going through my head. I guess the positive of that is, clearly I’ve got the lyrics in my brain.

And…I’ve got just enough social events on my schedule to be anxious about. Everything from going to see a movie tonight with a friend I’ve never hung out with by myself, to having to decide which movies I want to see with another friend on Saturday. These are good things, but my anxiety continuously rears up at social situations.

This morning an anxiety attack was triggered by my normally angelic, sweet dog growling and snapping at me when I tried to get a high value toy away from him.

I decided that I needed to work this out. I took some deep breaths. I went for a walk to grab a healthy lunch. I made it a point to notice fun things in my neighborhood like plants in bloom and a cute sign someone had posted. I enjoyed the sun and its warmth. I decided to give myself an hour off to eat and regroup. I picked up a knitting project and worked a few rows of pattern. (Knitting has been shown to help manage anxiety.) I texted my sister. I gave some gratitude to my band mates, my co-workers, my dogs, and my husband. I forgave the grumpy dog.

All of this might sound silly, but it helped. I feel more relaxed, more focused, and more willing to tackle some tasks this afternoon. I share this with the hope that it might help someone else. In short, when anxious, try some focused breathing (maybe count to three as you inhale and exhale), focus your mind on something (like knitting), think of what you’re grateful for, find some positives, move your body, and if you’re able to, spend time with dogs.



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