Interesting. How we spend so much time wishing for something. Then once we get it, there is often a realization or an awareness that it truly isn’t what you thought it was going to be.
For the past 15 years as a hair dresser, I believed that in order to have a successful business, I had to work on Saturdays. So I did. Recently, I had arrived at a space in my life where that belief no longer served me. So I released working Saturdays. Since then, I’ve spent time with my family, slept in, enjoyed coffee with my fiance on our balcony, visited the Farmers Markets, napped, and even now – I write this on a leisurely visit to the Kaysville City Library with our kids.
I look around. To my left is a man reading a newpaper. There is another man to his left with headphones in, watching something on his iPad. Behind me is a man reading a book. People come here for peace and solitude, and quiet. People come here to focus, and to read, and to absorb information. People come here to be alone.
I am here, desperately gulping down the quiet. Decompressing from the panic and anxiety attack that I have been struggling with over the last 3 hours.
I’ve battled anxiety for most of my life. And for most of my life, I can say that I’ve managed it well enough to lead what most would perceive as a normal life. Even if those moments of managing haven’t been the healthiest. I’ve been able to hold onto jobs. I can get out of bed. My life continues to flow.
The first time I consciously remember managing and self soothing away anxiety was when I was 6 years old. Binge eating a bag of Cheetos.
Anxiety for me doesn’t look like hyperventilating and a complete melt down inside my closet or in the shower like how some may perceive a vicious anxiety attack. Anxiety for me can seem silent to people around me. I get quiet and withdrawn. I get snappy at my kids, and my fiance. My heart races. My senses heighten and I get acutely aware of my surroundings. Sounds, smells, lights. My neck and my shoulders get tense. This is where the headaches enter. When I was 17 years old, I remember complaining of bad headaches. My mom took me to the doctor. They couldn’t pin point anything wrong with me and sent me home with a recommendation of 800 mg of Ibuprofen 3 times a day, and at night time – a muscle relaxer. My inside of my stomach became shredded. It of course, was a temporary fix.
For me, today, my anxiety was triggered by the fact that I had a day off. I didn’t have anything to do, no where to go, and no chores to complete. Learning to relax is a new practice for me. I’m finally at a place inside of my life where I see the value of taking some downtime, and practicing relaxing and self care. There is value at times in stepping away from that GOD DAMN to do list. But what happens when you’re ADDICTED to producing? That addiction for me, stems from a child hood belief that if I’m not producing or creating something – I will be forgotten.
For most of my childhood – I wasn’t ever nurtured, or parented unless I was sick, or got in trouble. I wasn’t praised or celebrated unless I produced good grades or performed.
I was a strong, resilient oldest child inside of the home that didn’t need a lot of attention. I managed myself – from the time I was in first grade and started getting myself out of bed and ready for school – to the afternoons when I would come home from school and manage myself inside of completing my homework, getting my first job at 14 years old – to the time I was 18 years old and ventured out inside of my own hair styling business and sole proprietor as a booth rental stylist.
I recognize that these traits have made me who I am today. They are who have created my reality. These traits are why I am a great provider for my children and family. They are why I am so strong.
Saturdays are now my living meditation – to get used to being comfortable with stillness, and leisure. To get used to stepping away from my to do list, and phone calls, and texts. I don’t go anywhere near my salon. I breathe in my family, and soak up the time with the ones that I love. I am ok with the darkness creeping in during days like today because I know that through this, these old beliefs and patterns are releasing. The only way to create something new – is to prove it to myself that nothing bad happens when I slow down! I am not a shark. I can stop swimming for a minute. I can rest. And I am safe.
Here are a few of my favorite activities to get present inside of my body and battle my anxiety through HEALTHY ways.
- BREATHE – Literally it looks like how it sounds. I just sit down and take deep, conscious breaths. That’s all I do when I am focused on that.
- Talk to someone I trust and who can listen
- Hug my children and get on the floor and play with them
- Take a drive in my car and listen to my favorite music
- Go on a walk, or go to the gym and sweat
- Read something uplifting
- Lean on some natural supplements, and essential oils (aromatherapy)
Have you ever battled anxiety? What are your favorite go to’s to manage your stress?