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.
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.
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!
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.
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.