mental health

Anxiety

Here we go with the next level shit show of anxiety. Life with a teen. Episode #98.

School starts any day now. We have been mask free enjoying summer for the most part. Looking forward to school and a normal beginning to a school year. Just last night we were reminiscing on how long it’s been since we bought school supplies. 2 years ago. 2019 before we knew the world was going to be shaken to its core.

We have enjoyed traveling. Although masks are still required in a plane, we have enjoyed the maskless freedoms elsewhere. The excitement of seeing friends, teachers, and others was so talked about. Then the crash. The boom. The fireworks. The disappointment. How much can these kids continue to face change and uncertainty around the biggest part of their life?

The pediatrics announcement for k-12 hot with recommendations and my teacher friends sighed and said change is on the horizon. Then the CDC guidance hit the news. Now the email, the phone call, and the text from the school. Or should I say the calls, texts and emails on repeat. Here we go again. 

Masks required. Students, faculty, visitors are all included. Vaccinated or not, rules apply across the board. Such a blow to the teen again. All the excitement turned to not again. This sucks. Why even bother going?

Now the decision is again in front of you. Digital learner or in person? Everything you wanted in person was stripped away. You suck at online school but it’s been your norm now for 1.5 years. Isolation. Masks. Rules. Anxiety. Stress. So much. It’s too soon.

Panic and fear have set in. Some offices are re-closing. A trade show postponed. More shifting. More headaches. How do we all continue to cope in such turmoil. What is next? How would you feel as a teen?

As I put this post out there on the web I am capturing a moment in time. A feeling of chaos. How different will I feel when I reread this 5 years from now? I wonder. Topic may be controversial and some may have opinions but since this is my blog I choose my content and conversations.

perspective

Be Still

There I was packed in the plane like a sardine in a can. 24 rows deep. 4 across each aisle. Racked and stacked you’d say. The plane is full.

No 6 feet distanced. Lots of people. Recycled air. Masks up. Here we go. Cheers to a great flight. Up up and away we go.

As I sit still I look over my shoulder and see the peaceful sky. There we are floating in the clouds with the border of the baby blue sky. I enjoyed the peacefulness of being still. The calm. The beauty. The colors.

This is such a variance from my crazy hectic days in the office. Escapes like these with picturesque scenery help me appreciate life and all the experiences one can have as long as their eyes are open.

In that moment it took away the tears of the girl by my side feeling anxious in the sky. The mask. The extra people. The sardine-like atmosphere. Watering eyes over the mask showed the pain. Shaking of the leg showed discomfort. Grasping jewelry around her neck for comfort. How were we so close yet I felt calm and she felt fear?

If I could take it away the pain and fear I would. As we move along the calmness peeks through her fear. The discomfort was temporary thank goodness. A movie is on. A snack in hand. A little water to wash away the woes.

The other neighbor is a technology guru. Clicking on the wifi. Surfing movies. Wait, I need to sneeze. Oh my not on a plane. Yup not once, twice. We giggle in the row a little. Good thing my mask was up! My neighbor didn’t flinch on her technology. Cropping and editing photos. Music in the ears. Not even phased. I’m even learning how to make cartoon images on an iPad from the neighboring seat. It’s so fun to see how others pass time.

Meanwhile, I just keep floating in the cloud. Glancing into the horizon. Thinking about tomorrow. Visualizing the fun and adventures ahead on my little trip. Time to wrap this post up.

That was a long 15 minutes if I do say so myself. This story is real. You may be the most fearless person and boom anxiety can hit. Without warning. Surround yourself with people who know you and can see your struggles so that you can be comforted when your world is closing in on you.

For now I will be still and enjoy my trip above the clouds. My special place where I am just floating in thought as I write some blogs on this very day.

Sending you a smile and wink from the sky above. Somewhere over Jackson, Mississippi. I giggled a little as I wrote that state. M-i-squiggly lines-I-squiggly lines-i-pp-i as I recall from my childhood school days.

balance

My Control Panel

In a challenge right now with a fitness group, we were tasked with thinking daily about what in our lives we can and cannot control. We had to write it down and repeat it to ourselves each day several times. To some this might seem silly, but especially in this time of flux and frustration, I found it useful. Here are some of the things I wrote down this week.

What I cannot control:

-My other family members’ schedules

-Other people’s priorities

-How other people interpret and respond to my choices

-How other people see me

-Many details about my work day – where I work, how I allocate my time, how many meetings I have to attend

-Traffic

-How fast the postal service delivers packages

-The coronavirus pandemic – its length, severity, and impact on people I care about and the world at large

-How others respond to the pandemic…their movements, opinions, responses, precautions (or lack of)

-Whether or not my daughter will have a lacrosse season

-The weather

-Other people’s level of stress and its’ impact on their actions, attitudes, etc.

The list goes on…and I realize I spend a LOT of time spinning my mental and spiritual wheels on the list above. NOTHING I CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT. AT. ALL.

Here’s what I can control.

-My actions

-My choices

-Where I put my energy – writing, reading, recreation, learning, exercise, rest

-Where I direct my attention

-My movement

-What I consume – food, media, etc.

-My hydration

-My attitude toward challenges

Really, it’s a small list, but it’s what I need to focus on. You notice that most of what I can’t control involves other people and most of what I can involves me. When I find myself fretting about the world and all its ups and downs, I remember what I can control and then try to DO something related to these lists.

It seems like a goofy task to say these things several times a day, but I learned that my anxiousness lessens when I consciously remind myself what I can do something about. And then DO one of those things. What’s on your lists? Give it a try and see how you fare.

dare to be different

Change

Change impacts people in many different ways. Many don’t like change. Some fear change. Others crave change. Where do you fall in the mix?

For me, I crave change. I like variables. I dislike the hamster wheel feeling. Running in circles with no end in sight. I enjoy challenges that come with change. The unknown. What’s around the corner. How will I react?

Amidst a change in ownership at my gym, I learned my daughter doesn’t like change. What an irony since we have been living in constant change almost the entire year thanks to the pandemic. She said she likes things just the way they are. She doesn’t like to change the paint on the walls. She doesn’t like to move things from one side to another. To test this theory, I asked her to change bedrooms with me. She thought about it. She seriously contemplated. Can I have your bathroom too? Yes. She debated. The final answer is no that’s too much change! I will be missing this. I would need to do this different. The list went on. It was all the negatives and no positives.

I learned a lot during this process about her and how I can help her adapt to the change she faces in school due to the pandemic and other unexpected scenarios. I also learned that I again love change and thrive at even thought of changing rooms. The excitement was in the air. Would I like the new environment? How would I change the layout. What fuels me, panics her. 

Are you the type to live in the same house for 50 years because you don’t like change? Is it the inconvenience of change or the stress of change? Since some may fear change is that the same as not liking change? I don’t think so. Some truly fear change and get anxiety over change. While others just don’t like change as it’s uncomfortable or just an inconvenience. An annoying interference in your normal life.

Are you the type to keep the same job through retirement because making new friends and adapting to new environments is too uncomfortable?

How many kids struggle with change if their parents move because of the unknown?

The sooner you test your tolerance to change the better. Knowing where you stand is important. Knowing how to adapt or help others around you see the positives of change. Especially when change can strike without notice forcing you to learn a new skill or may mean new friends. Changing environments or scenery may be just what the doctor ordered for your life.  

Can you adapt or pivot if you got laid off from work or would you fall into a dark space? This is a change many can’t predict. Happiness is a choice. Choose happy. Where you are today is sort of tomorrow’s history lesson. You can visit the history at any time but change is in front for you. A forward progression. You chart your path ahead when you embrace change. You already know what history gave you, why not see what change brings to your future?

Thought post #1121. Hope you are enjoying your new year.

balance

When Life is Subject to Change Without Notice

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Competing in next week’s big game.

Carefree time on the 3-day weekend.

A long planned-for (paid for!) international adventure.

Taking in the beauty of the first farmer’s markets of the season.

All things to look forward to.  Now, all on hold.

When the Coronavirus started to rapidly unfold in America last week, I said to a new friend “it feels like everything now has an asterisk next to it.  Everything is to be announced, subject to change without notice.”  I didn’t know what that meant then, a few short days ago.  So much happens each day.

Not only are the things we have to look forward to either canceled, postponed, or up in the air, even the basic routines of life are disrupted.  Will I go to work next week, and if so where and for how long?  My daughter is unexpectedly doing school online for a while. How will that go? You’d think she would be thrilled, but she groaned when I told her.  She said she will miss school, even with the ridiculously early wakeups and late nights getting home from practice.  She loves her teams and her friends and being with people.

That’s really it. We look forward to people. Experiencing and sharing life with them.

Now it’s all social distancing. Abundance of caution. Flatten the curve. A curve ball I wasn’t anticipating.

I’ll admit, the uncertainty has gotten me glum or a little anxious at times.  Even though I’m sometimes overwhelmed by my typically busy life, I love what I do.  I’ve started to reflect and appreciate the joyfully-packed life I get to lead most of the time. And I know it will return.

At the moment, I am living in the present more so than I have in a while.  The calendar is suddenly much emptier than it was.  The urgency of a lot of things is gone. It’s very strange, living in the time of to be announced.

As for healthy hacks? What helps me today is focusing on what I can control.  Exercise. Nutrition. Cleaning. Routines. Basics. Patience.  Taking some time to get outside to appreciate the signs of spring that are popping up (see the pics!) Nature has a rhythm that continues and comforts in times of upheaval. Keeping the amount of news and social media I consume at a reasonable level.  I have had a rocky time with several of these already, but I’m trying.

I choose focused over frantic. Present over pessimistic.  Peaceful over panicked.

Choose daily.

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