A day living with anxiety. You wake up groggy. Despite your good efforts to put yourself into bed early last night your mind raced as you laid restlessly awake and exhausted simultaneously. Sleep evaded you. You drag yourself out of bed and take in a good dose of caffeine throughout the morning and maybe the whole day.
Before your day has even begun you feel a familiar tightness in your chest making it hard to take a full deep breath along with a weight or ache in your shoulders. Somehow co-existing with exhaustion is a wired, jittery feeling that is always just sort of there.
Throughout the day your mind is foggy making it difficult to remember things. You find yourself forgetting things absentmindedly. On really bad days even have trouble stringing together a cohesive thought. Staring blanking at a computer screen wondering how much time has passed since the last time you were fully present.
You find yourself more irritable and short with your kids and spouse. You have every intention to be patient and calm but it feels impossible. You often feel terrible about the interaction you just had with your kids and/or spouse.
When you are not feeling anxious and wired you might find yourself feeling depressed with low moods coming and going more and more frequently. The stress is draining and wears on your mood and outlook.
Eventually you get yourself back to bed. Where despite being overwhelmingly tired, again you can’t sleep tossing and turning. Struggling with racing thoughts about the day, what needs to get done tomorrow, what you should have gotten done today and on and on.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” ~Berne Brown
Living with intense stress and overwhelm is becoming more and more common in our culture due to our demanding lifestyles. We are trying to juggle stressful jobs, long work days, and family often finding very little balance. While figuring out how to take care of ourselves is increasingly difficult. We are stretched too thin and with days like the above it is hard to find a way out.
There are many possible contributing factors to anxiety. Anxiety may be new for you and only brought on recently by an event such as moving, job change, transition into a new phase of life, divorce, death or any other stressful or overwhelming life event. Also, many of us may not have learned the ideal coping skills from our parents even though they were doing the best they could. Still other people have had some sort of anxiety most of their lives and would like some peace from a longtime companion.
“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”
~ Emily Kimbrough
How Therapy Can Help
Therapy can be a place to begin to find a path towards a more balanced, peaceful lifestyle and provide support in making the changes you want in all areas of your life. Think hitting a reset button, therapy will break the daily pattern that keeps re-enforcing itself making it harder and harder break out of days like above.
Together we will also gain insight into your inner world. Our thoughts can be intense, convincing, and draining. Our thoughts can keep up stuck in cycles of endless worry, uneasiness, and apprehension. It is helpful to understand our patterns so we can identify them and learn how to step out of the downwards spirals.
I believe we all have the capacity to make the changes we want and need sometimes s*** just gets in our way.
Resources to Try at Home
Yoga for Stress and Anxiety
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Check out more resources: blogs, books & articles.
A personal note
I have recently had a personal interest in learning more about anxiety and how to cope. As the mother of three small children and therapy practice owner I had begun to develop anxiety myself. Anxiety moved into my chest and lived there for several months. Even on vacations the tightness in my chest did not entirely fade. I could be in a great mood or a terrible mood and there it was day and night. I too had to hit the reset button. It became clear that if I did not make some changes it would only worsen. So, I did. I made important and sometimes difficult changes in my home life, lifestyle and work life. I began to experience some relief. All of the changes centered around taking better care of myself so I could in turn be more present and grounded as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and therapist. Among other changes, I started yoga, committed to a regular meditation practice, and began taking better care of myself in general. I am a work in progress, as I will always be. Some days are better than others and none are perfect. My only intention is to continually return to a practice of self-care with loving kindness.
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