It took everything in me to not write “collaborate and listen”.
Throughout the recent holidays, I let the hustle and bustle of everything get the better of me and I put my mental health and need for rest on the back burner. I can always tell when I’m lacking in self-care and sleep because my left eye starts twitching, my skin breaks out and my anxiety goes way up. Now, that the “most wonderful time of the year” is behind us, it’s time shift my focus and keep my sanity in check.
January is stressful for so many of us, whether it’s the hangover from the holiday rush, or all the pressures of a new year with new goals. Anxiety tends to sneak up on us when we are too busy focusing on everything but ourselves. We plan, make lists, set goals, work non-stop, strive for perfection, dwell on mistakes, compare ourselves to everyone else and lose sleep. It all snowballs from there… lack of sleep leads to stress, which leads to anxiety. And if you’re like me, you then get anxious about your sleep deprivation and stress, and it’s just an endless cycle of terribleness.
I have had a few rough moments of anxiety this month. I had to face a couple of fears (taking my blood pressure!), and my lack of sleep combined with an over-stuffed goal list has lead to a few nights of facing my anxiety monster. I’ve had nightmares, hot flashes, rapid heart beats and restlessness. (Sooooo fun!) BUT, I’ve got one goal when it comes to anxiety this month: STOP. Slow down. Listen.
I find it very challenging to sit in the quiet and actually listen to my own thoughts (my brain is a frightening place), but over the years of battling anxiety, I KNOW it’s vital to overcoming my anxieties and the reasons behind them.
When your fears and nerves start getting the best of you, it’s time to recognize and acknowledge them and how they make you feel. Often, allowing ourselves to recognize these thoughts and fears is enough to ward off the anxiety they bring. It’s when we push these fears aside and drown them out with whatever noise we can find (tv, music, gossiping with friends) that the anxiety really starts to build. Being mindful will remind you that these thoughts come and go. The negative thoughts you have are not permanent. Recognizing this will make it easier for you to dismiss them, and not dwell on them.
PLUS, practicing listening to your own thoughts is going to hone your instincts, remind you to trust yourself and even begin following your intuition. And, oh baby, following my intuition is a huge goal for me this year!
When you feel yourself gettint anxious and lost in that downward spiral of negative thoughts, STOP. Take a breath, slow down and listen to your own thoughts. Why are you dwelliong on this particular topic? Is this an actual threat? Remind yourself, that these thoughts will pass and they do not need to control you. Now, sit back and let that anxiety fade away…