A List of Things that May Have Eased My Anxiety This Week

A List of Things that May Have Eased My Anxiety This Week

It’s been a rough few months. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing that ripples past the inner circles of me and my little family, just a tough transition. From maternity leave to full-time work for me. From home to daycare for Little A. From private to public kindergarten for GG. From summer to a new year. From known to unknown. From comfortable to oh-my-god-what-have-I-done-I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-this.

And somewhere in all this, my old friend anxiety raised her ugly head and came back for a surprise visit. The whole bit – panic attacks catching me unawares, largely imagined health scares, loops of negative thoughts plaguing me night and day.

But the last week or so, things have started to feel different. Lighter, more manageable. Possibly just because time passed, because all things come and go, and possibly because I so desperately needed to push this weight of anxiety off my chest that I tried everything I knew how.

And maybe one of those things worked.

So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Meditation 

You’d think I’d know this by now – meditation works for me. It clears space and grounds me. As usual I don’t manage to sit as much as I’d like to, but whenever I do, it helps.

2. Movement 

At the moment it’s walking and yoga. In the thick of anxiety getting sweaty makes me feel like I’m bringing it all to the surface. Whatever “it” may be.

3. Therapy

I’m blessed to have a supportive therapist that knows me well, who I can check in with when times get rough. Sometimes just talking helps, and other times we’re doing what feels like real work. Reaching down into the depths of the bullshit, making some order and releasing what I no longer need.

4. Rescue Remedy

Maybe it’s just a placebo, who knows. It seems to help at times.

5. Massage

Enough said.

6. Getting a check up

When my anxiety gets bad, I pretty much always decide something is wrong with me. I have some crazy physical symptoms and then the cycle of worrying gets started – and it gets ugly in my head. This time I decided there was something wrong with my brain – sparked by a spat of dizzy spells and weird sensations up and down my arm.

As it turns out, I have carpal tunnel syndrome. And probably not a brain tumor causing numbness in my forearm and fingers and electric tingles. I think, oddly, that diagnosis probably did more to lift my anxiety than everything else on this list combined.

And apparently I’m somewhat sleep deprived. Which brings us to.. .

7. Sleep

Not like we’re getting full nights or anything crazy like that, but I’m doing my best to prioritize rest.

8. Recognizing anxiety 

This is a big one for me. I think I was having panic attacks for a couple of weeks before I realized – hang on a minute, I’ve been here before. This is anxiety.

And it helps, calling a spade a spade. Knowing that it will pass, that it has passed before and it will pass again.

9. Eating well 

And

10. Eating pizza

Because balance, right?

 

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A Gratitude Challenge to Start the New Year

A Gratitude Challenge to Start the New Year

I’ve been filled with gratitude lately, and meaning to write a list on the topic. I just stumbled across this blogger challenge, a callout for writers to take 10 minutes, write a stream of consciousness-style list of things for which they’re thankful, and share the link here. Perfect! I’ve copied the instructions at the bottom of the post for anyone who wants to hop on board.

Starting the timer, aaaand…

1. The Internet.

From moving countries to losing pregnancies to making healthy food for my family, the support options available on the web make my life better daily. 

2. Cheese

3. Modern medicine

4. Buddhist practices

5. Ancient wisdom

6. Psychotherapy

7. Bikes

8. Sunshine

Lucky I live in the Middle East! 

9. Writing. In all its glorious forms.

10. Dark chocolate

11. Yoga

12. Technology.

13. Trees.

For their beauty and their oxygen-producing qualities and the leaves they provide that give GG so much joy. 

14. Rainy days. For forcing us to stop every now and again.

15. People who get it.

That moment when someone understands what I’ve been trying to articulate for days or weeks or months or years is truly priceless. 

16. The breath.

Always there, always available to ground me back into the moment. 

17. My Kindle.

I really should start celebrating our anniversary. Coming up on four years now – best present ever. Thanks Nanna!

18. Cameras.

I don’t even want to imagine having a kid in daycare and not getting whatsapp photo updates daily. 

20. Trashy TV

21. Good TV

22. Star Wars.

Deep and entertaining and funny all in one go. Also, sometimes GG sounds like Chewbacca. 

23. Music

24. Airplane mode

24. Nuts.

Without them I would eat far too much of number 2 and number 10. 

25. Weekends

26. Pizza night (Thursdays at our place).

If you don’t already have one I highly recommend instituting it. Especially if you happen to have a husband who can cook. 

27. Meditation in motion.

My practice is patchy these days but all of the moments of mindfulness in my day-to-day life seem drawn to each other like magnets, making a strong basis of consciousness to ground my life. 

26. And of course, these guys.

My lovely little family. My everything. 

IMG_3003
GG’s 1st Birthday, Feb 2015

What are you grateful for?

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Add your post to the InLinkz list. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 15, 2015. After that date, no blogs can be added.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise; I will remove it. Aside from that one caveat, there is no such thing as too much positivity. Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help us flood the blogosphere with both!

 

The Secret Link Between Babies and Camping

The Secret Link Between Babies and Camping

In my recent musings (granted – probably fueled by some mild infant-induced sleep deprivation), it has occurred to me that there are an unnerving number of similarities between babies and camping. Allow me to present my findings:

1. Rise with the sun
The first rays of sunlight penetrate the tent, stimulate a hot-house effect and make sleeping past 6am impossible. Maybe that’s what’s happening in my baby’s brain.

2. Embrace getting dirty
At least there aren’t any mirrors in the great outdoors.

3. It pays to be prepared
I’m not sure what’s better – the feeling of triumph as you realize there’s a bottle opener on your Swiss army knife, or the day when you actually use the fourth “spare” outfit (see #2).

4. Simple meals are best
You’re gonna need to either cook it with a mini stove or eat it with one hand on your lap. Probably better off with a sandwich, huh?

5. Waking up way more often than you’d like
As if #1 wasn’t enough.

Need I go on? A word to the wise. Before you go off the pill, ask yourself – do you feel like going on a full-time, non-stop camping trip?

Luckily, I do.