Don’t Panic.

I’m still buried under a pile of work.

This will probably be the case for another week or two, or.. shudder.. even three. However. No one can do data entry straight through the day. Can you?? I break it up by dropping off kids, picking up kids, eating meals, getting fresh air, stretching, reading some blogs, reading a book, editing some photos. These are things I can get done because I have help this week. I can work for an hour straight, and then I need to do something else with my brain. I need to stretch it out. I need to write some emails. It’s not actually hard to get a lot done when instead of multi-tasking, you’re just being creative and stretchy with your time. With one kid is school while the other is asleep. With his coat on. Fresh from daycare. Watched by a cat. The best.

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Not to mention, my mom will be here this week for three school days. Also the best.

I love the #TuesdayTen prompt this week because it’s about panic, or not panicking. Apparently Monday was “Panic Day.” You can write about ten things you DO panic about, or ten ways you cope with panic. Anything panic. I thought I would do a semi-serious spin on it, because I know I talk about anxiety a lot, and I thought it would be informative to tell you what I do when I feel panicky. When I feel stressed. When I feel buried under a pile of work. I have a process and I can list it in ten odd steps.

The Liebers

Ten Ways I Prevent or Treat Panicked Feelings:

1. Deep breathing, baby. What’s better? Our bodies have built in mechanisms to calm ourselves down. It’s astonishing. I like to take deep breaths right into my stomach. I also love the 4-7-8 method which means you inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and then exhale out your mouth for eight seconds. It takes the body three to four minutes to even itself out through breathing, which may seem like forever when you’re in a panic, but it actually is quite quick in the long run. If I’m home, I like to lie down in a quiet and dark room for ten minutes and focus on my breathing. I guess you could call it meditation. Sometimes I fall asleep. I don’t know if that means I’m really bad or really good at meditating. This one time, I tried to meditate with other people and I got a case of the giggles. I was 16 at the time, but it could happen now!

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2. Essential oils, baby. This is not a sales pitch as I am not a saleswoman. My trusted oil rep can be found HERE. Young Living oils are very potent which is why I’ve found success with them, even though I’ve often thought that other, lesser oils at the vitamin store are pure crap. I use Lavender, Joy, Stress Away (roll-on) and Peace and Calming for my stress. It’s different for everyone, though. It can be too much or too little. Different things work for different body chemistries.

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3. Music. (yes, baby) This is the most peaceful thing I know. The most wonderful sound I know. I’m very into my power music – the music that reminds me that I’m alive. Pandora is good for that, because of the surprise value. What will come on next?

4. Kindness and connection. I remember having a strange stomach-related anxiety attack at a baby shower years ago. I got rid of it in five minutes by having an incredible conversation with someone I hadn’t seen in awhile. Who knew??

It’s another great way to ground yourself by reminding yourself that you’re very much alive and not alone.

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5. I don’t do this one a lot, but I remember a night in Vegas many years ago (what happens there, should stay there) in which I was so tense that my throat felt closed up. I called my mom next to a fountain outside of a restaurant off the strip.

Calling a trusted loved one can be magical.

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6. Exercise. I mean, surely by now you’ve heard it’s good for you, right? It’s another one of life’s little gifts that makes self-healing so possible. A vigorous walk through snow up to our knees was great for Cassidy and me on Sunday.

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7. Here’s a strange one, but taking several sips of very cold water wards off the panics for me.

8. Another strange one is to distract myself with a pinch or so. I’m not saying to hurt yourself. I have never and would never hurt myself, but sometimes I’ll snap my hair tie around my wrist just to give it a pinch and divert my panicked mind.

9. Photography. Do what you love. Photography is very healing and grounding for me, and it’s rarely very stressful when I’m doing it. I get nervous before shoots, sure, but being there in my element is often just what the doctor ordered.

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10. Strengthen the relationships you already have. It’s amazing how off-kilter you can feel when things aren’t as good as they can be with someone you love. Knowing someone is on your side? Knowing they love you? Knowing you both give and take and trust and respect each other? That kind of love can fill up the holes in your heart and the holes in your mind. That kind of love can fill your holes with love and knowledge and stability. Probably some sparkle too. Try it. It ain’t too shabby.

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts.

Comments

Don’t Panic. — 109 Comments

  1. My first decent job was doing data entry at the IRS. I think I’d rather do it all in one stretch and have it over with than keep going back to it all day. So I’d procrastinate and then do it all at once.

    That picture of Des sleeping on the couch melts my heart.

    My family doctor prescribes music. She says it keeps her sane to have headphones and pump up the jam. (I may have inserted ‘pump up the jam’, but she really does think headphones and whatever music makes you happy is life saving)

    • I think a prescription for pumping up the jam is pretty perfect, though.
      Before I had kids and other jobs, I could do things like data entry straight through a day. No problem. Eight hours. It just doesn’t work anymore! My brain is broken.

  2. Practicing these actually live time with your post up. I tried the sips of cold water while I was holding my breath. I thought if I did two steps at once I could get rid of my anxiety faster. Ok, so that didn’t work. Now, will try each separately and go for a walk. But, I can not stretch backwards over my back without serious bodily harm, Tamara! πŸ™‚

  3. Aww, I have had a bit of a crazy week here, too and actually was going to message you before but then remembered that you were swamped and didn’t want to bother you. Hoping things lighten up a bit for you in the next few days and sending some extra hugs your way from me πŸ˜‰

  4. These are all great suggestions, Tamara. I’ve been learning a lot about the power of controlled breathing through yoga. It really helps. I have bad reactions to stress. Migraines, stomach cramps, and chest pains which happened today. When I went to a calming yoga class the stomach cramps subsided and didn’t even come back! I’ve been dealing with some pretty nutty things of late.

    I love your pictures here, again right in tune with your words! You know something weird? I’ve always loved tha tTom petty song, even had the cassette tape back in the day but I’ve never seen the video until now πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • I’m so sorry about the nutty things of late.
      I’ve always wondered what causes migraines. I guess it varies. My little sister used to get them all the time and it was horrific. I think it has settled down a lot in adulthood.
      I think yoga is somewhat the answer to most things! And yet, I’ve never done it.

  5. I’ve been doing more deep breathing. I did a lot toward the end of my pregnancy with a guided meditation and I always fell asleep! Taking sips of cold water and going for a walk also help me.

  6. Very good list… I do a lot of these. I pray, which is the best way to hand my issue off to someone who loves me and will help me carry the load. I also love the ice water, exercise, and music. And yes, I agree… I could definitely not sit and do data entry all day straight. I no longer have the attention span for that. I work a bit, then do something else, then come back to it.

  7. Oh, data entry. I’m just trying to organize my blogging and promoting efforts and I can only do that at an hour at a time, which is data entry-like work. I have recently started using essential oils which definitely help a lot. I’m starting to learn more about them so I hope I can get a good feel for it all.

    • It’s definitely been fun to research the oils. I’ve definitely become a believer through experience.
      And tedious work is hard for me, but it has to be done!

  8. My husband is a great meditater (is that a word?) I almost always fall asleep! We love our essential oils too! I diffuse them all the time to help the whole family relax in the evening!

    • I think it is a word! And it’s awesome that he’s good at it. I think I’ve been missing the mark on it for many years but now I understand that it’s not as hard as I thought.

  9. I’ve been having a bit more panic attacks lately myself and I actually went to a class in order to deal with them, one of the tips that you mentioned “talk to a love one or friend”, is actually one that was recommended. My best friend in NY is the one I always call and it does really help me. I have never tried that cold sip of water. I am going to give that a shot too along with a few others mentioned here. Here’s to a less stressful week for you (and me) and I’m so happy to hear that your mom will be there to give you much needed help and support.

    • A class?? I’ve never heard of that. Are there other people in the class?
      You have a lot of life going on and I think everyone struggles at some point or at many points.
      Here’s to less panic for both of us!

  10. My husband has been telling me to meditate for years. I have to try the 4-7-8 method out. I’m sure it will be better than me trying to sit calmly. because I usually just think about stuff I need to do.

  11. This is a great list of coping tips, Tamara. I think talking about it is important. It makes you feel less alone and less like a freak. Everyone has anxiety to one degree or another. For one it may be situational or fleeting, but for others it is a daily struggle. Personally, I fall somewhere in between.

  12. Thank You, Tamara for sharing these ten helpful ways to help us navigate through our busy days. Each one is so helpful! I do the deep breathing exercises, and I attempt to meditate often but I still haven’t mastered the ability to completely clear my mind. I do prescribed stretches at home every day as an addition to my physical therapy treatment. Music of course, and I like to listen to the classical music and the beautiful instrumental music while I stretch and meditate during the day. I almost always have the soft instrumental music or classical music playing in one part of the house, and WDHA’s Rock Music in another part of the house and they are constantly changing. Keeping relationships close is also very important to help me boost my spirits which are a little down when I have days that I’m not feeling well. So I’ll call or e-mail someone, or turn to my Extra Special Facebook Friends like you, Tamara! πŸ™‚ Exercises that I can do at home are with important for me. When the weather warms up I can take little walks again.

    • Sounds like you have such great methods to help navigate busy days!
      I should listen to my sister more. It’s usually during the bedtime rush which is why don’t always get a chance. I’m going to take inspiration from you today!

  13. These really are great tips! I use some of them myself when I feel the anxiety building up and threatening to take over. When I have a lot of writing that needs done, I also find it necessary to give myself some breaks to recharge my mind. Write an article, take a break, write another article, take another break!

  14. Hmmm. I don’t currently have a process to un-panic. I used to panic about laundry, but now I’m like “eff it”. I’ll get to it. Maybe “eff it” is my panic process?

  15. These are great ways to keep things perspective. Music, breathing and exercise are a must for me. I am trying to meditate too, but this is a struggle for me.

    • It’s always been a struggle for me because I thought it was about freeing your mind. Which most people can’t do. So now I realize it’s about bringing your mind and your breathing back to the same place. Or something!

  16. 1. Music, yes. I have given up on looking for music to change my mood – I let serendipity take control and just feel what the music gives me.

    2. Exercise, yes. A good round of disc golf, briskly. Or a spirited practice session with the kids. It keeps my heart pumping and my spirit soaring.

    3. I will always believe in sparkle. Always.

  17. I’m with Eli – music, exercise, sparkle. Matt can also talk me down from my panic – he’s really the only one who can. But sometimes I just need to work through it myself.

  18. Great advice. The pinching made me laugh – because sometimes I do that when I’m stressed out. Seriously. Weird, but true:).

  19. The picture of Des on the couch – precious. I need to exercise every day to keep my anxiety under control – if I miss a few days things start creeping back. Music is so important too. I feel like I’m constantly adding and subtracting things that help or not. I think daily meditation would be helpful but I can’t seem to find the time!

    • Hey those are good ideas! We all have that something – those exit plans. Exercise would really help me but I’m so lazy. Spring should change that.

  20. I love this! and music has definitely helped me through some terrible times…love learning to fly! essential oils have helped me ground myself and given me what I needed to follow my dreams…=) if I don’t get in some exercise, my head gets very unclear, so I need that daily even though sometimes it hard to get it in with all I have on my plate!!! xoxo

  21. I love these tips! Thanks so much for opening up and sharing of yourself. I’m sorry I’ve been so lack in commenting, 2015 hit us like a ton of bricks and it’s been one crisis after another at my house. Which means I’ve barely had time for writing, which makes my heart sad. BUT I’m trying to get myself back in the groove of things. So you’re not alone, my dear, not in the slightest.

    • I’m so sorry about this year! I’ve been in a data entry fog and I haven’t been really aware of what’s been going on. You know I’m always here for a text or a call or an email.

  22. I love that you shared your strategies!! My oldest has some situational anxiety – nothing formally diagnosed, but she gets very upset about fire drills, alarms, or the possibility of alarms, etc. She doesn’t sleep well at night because when things get quiet, she starts thinking about all the what ifs. We’ve tried tea, soft music, etc. I wonder if some essential oils would help her? She is only 12, so I would have to get some advice on what would be appropriate for her, but definitely something I need to look into!

    • That’s very interesting about your daughter. There are oils made specifically for kids. And you can also just dilute the regular ones with some sort of carrier oil. Maybe like coconut oil or olive oil. I can send you what I know! She’s a sensitive and beautiful soul.

  23. What kind of data entry? I wrote about listening to audiobooks today. One of the commenters said she listens while doing data entry. You think that would help?

    I love your panic anecdotes. That water one is interesting. I don’t panic per say but I have bouts of anxiety in which I clean. I call it an affliction with benefits.

    • There is nothing better than affliction with benefits! Or, no better affliction.
      I do data entry that is inputting information from transportation surveys. So you can definitely do other things while doing it. Music or TV.

  24. That picture of Des is truly adorable. Those are all great tips for taking the edge off. I think I learned that breathing technique in therapy…or yoga. Which are also both very theraputic.

  25. Girl, how huge are those surveys?? Wish we could all help you type in a few! Glad that you have the work, but hate that you are drowning in a sea of paper!

    Those tips are great, a few that I will have to note…cold water-never tried it, but I will next time (hoping there isn’t a next time tho!), and the hair band on the wrist, so doable, now that I am aware of it. I want to try yoga, and once I am more stable physically I will be trying it. I am glad that it is getting warmer I can start my walks to the end of the block again. Looking forward to that!

    I hope that the paperwork fairies will come in while you sleep and type a few thousands surveys for you!

    • That is so nice of you to think about! I wish all the fairies and the friends could help. Sometimes I think that my anxiety is completely under control, but then I will have a bad day or a weekend and realize that it needs work.
      And the surveys go quickly, but there are a lot.

  26. Fantastic post. I especially agree with calling a family member or someone that you know is in your corner when times get tough. Always, always do what you LOVE — it’s just so easy to do.

  27. I’m learning to appreciate deep breathing. It definitely helps when I’m stressed. Exercise is, also, good. I’m so happy it’s getting warm enough to walk outside. Love the picture! Cats are great on guard duty πŸ™‚

    • I think I’ll need a new plan next winter, because the lack of vitamin D and the lack of exercise is just no good. I think going to Florida every January helps us a lot!

  28. You might have to alter your opinion on cats, because yours seems to be doing a marvelous job of babysitting. Even put the baby to bed…. πŸ™‚ My dog tell me (yes she speaks) that we are very lucky she is around because of all of the serious Nana like babysitting she does and then protecting us from the UPS and FedEx men. That is all no joke work!

    Love YL oils! I find a new use for them all of the time. Like last week I kicked the baby’s fever to the curb with Frankincense. Who knew?

  29. I like the breathing exercise! Today was a busy and stressful day and I am finally winding down. I bought a couple of those essential oil samples to try. They are sitting with a stack of mail (blog related) that I need to open soon. I agree on calling a family number relieves stress. So does curling up with a pet. Good luck on your work and hope it gets less crazy soon!

    • I have to remind myself to get quality time with every family member every day, and that includes the pets. Well at least two out of three of the pets! One of them is just not very stress relieving.
      What oil samples did you get?

      • Ah! One was the Theives blend and I forgot the other two (Lavender &??). I probably should have ordered the Brain Power one and maybe I would remember. I have not tried them yet.

        • Thieves is awesome! I really think it protects your family from getting sick, or from being sick for a long time. I had a bad cold about a month ago and it was my first time using oils for a cold. It was a week shorter than my usual ones.

  30. So glad to see that you’ve been able to keep such a wonderful balance in all of your busyness! It great that your mom will be there to help as well. I know how amazing moms can be when it comes to things like that. I always appreciate when my mom watches my son for a bit to allow me to work…or shower…or eat, lol!

    • Balance is tough! Work and showering without worries is really great. I think that it is getting to me a little, because I have more stress symptoms that I usually do. I have some of the stress symptoms I used to have when I worked in an office. Just tension. Luckily I can take breaks!

  31. I try to focus on my breathing a lot too, when I am feeling anxious or stressed. It really does seem to help. I have only tried meditating a few times when I was younger, and I fell asleep too. It must have really helped me relax! πŸ™‚

    • I think falling asleep means it’s working!
      The thing about the breathing is that it is not instant, but it is fast. So you might think it’s not working, and then five minutes later, you realize that it worked well.

  32. I think that proper breathing really helps. But that doesn’t mean I know how to do proper breathing. Geez. I just inhale and exhale the best way I can. Music can definitely soothe me but not the super loud ones because those just stress me out. LOL. Being in my comfort zone also helps me. Staying at the comforts of my bed or being wrapped in a blanket.

    • I’ve actually seen mixed messages about how to breathe. I wish they would get it straight for us! The benefits are not instant, but they are very fast.

  33. I’m so behind – I hope that you have made huge progress in your huge work project!!! Love the tips for not to try and not panic. You probably know that exercise is one of my top picks!!

    • I’m really behind as well. And I’ve been seeing it with everyone. I wonder what it is about March that is making us all busy? I blame illnesses and work on most of it.

  34. Love these tips. I don’t regularly get panic attacks, but did have one that scared the bejeesus out of me about nine months ago. The only thing that got me out of it was to slow myself down (I was out for a jog) and just think rationally and logically through it. That was also the moment I realized that it wasn’t a good idea to mull over my woes during a jog! And music is always a fantastic pick-me-up.

    • They definitely are scary. And believe it or not, I think I’ve only had one full-fledged panic attack. The rest of them, I have been able to nip in the bud.

  35. I am a big fan of the deep breathing. I try to do at least 10 minutes of quiet mediation every day. I don’t get anxiety per say — but I can get very over whelmed in life — and extremely restless and agitated for no reason. Wait, is that anxiety? IDK. Excercise is my other go to. And then, just practicing Mindfulness. being in the moment – letting it be, appreciating the stillness and quiet moments. It all contributes to my emotional bank that I can draw on when needed.

    • I don’t think that’s anxiety. I don’t know what anxiety really is. For a lot of people it’s worrying about things. I don’t even know that I worry about things, so much as feel everything in my stomach or in my breath.
      Word. And. Horrible.

  36. These are all wonderful tips, thank you! I hate stomach-related anxiety. πŸ™ You are totally right, someone to talk to makes things better, well as long as you let them in. Pinching or tapping yourself, not weird, effective.
    I stink at meditation.
    XOXO

    • I used to have only stomach related anxiety. I would get queasy or nauseous when upset or threatened. I really wanted it to go away, and I guess you have to be careful for what you wish for, because it did go away. Except that now I get the shortness of breath kind of anxiety. Luckily good breathing can help that.

    • It’s so worth a try! I always figure that there are second level and third level things you can do too. This is first level. Maybe second level is yoga or acupuncture. Third level is prescription medicine!

  37. Yes to deep breathing. Definitely my go to. My husband just told me about the 4-7-8 method. He uses it before going to sleep and says it totally calms him down.

  38. Love this post! I don’t get panic attacks but I get very distracted, which makes me feel overwhelmed, and then I’m overwhelmed that I’m distracted and I need something to grab me and reel me back in so I can center myself again. I have GOT to get on the oils bandwagon, everyone tells me how awesome they are. Deep breaths help me too, taking several after a long day while sitting in silence by myself helps so much.

    • The oils are all anybody talks about! I just like to keep a couple of good ones at home.
      I don’t really get panic attacks either, but I definitely feel fear building up sometimes.

  39. Mediation giggles….lol there’s laughing yoga! Yes- that exists. I think falling asleep in meditation is acceptable and can make for the best most productive sleep ever! I love the cold water one. I feel like I remember the Vegas call to mom story…but your mom is always so great at being available and taking calls and she’s an expert at calming you down so I could be thinking about something else. And lol at Des falling asleep on the couch with his jacket on. If that were Dylan, I would be doing a happy dance and thanking him for giving me a couple of hours to get things done. WOO HOO

    • Wait. Laughing yoga exists? That sounds so fantastic. I think I would laugh anyway, just at people and their weird pants and doing weird poses, and I always hear that someone passes gas in yoga class! That sounds like a good title for a children’s book.

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