Celebrate Small Wins
Anxiety can be the devil that appears out of nowhere. You may be able to trace it back to a reasoning, but sometimes you can’t. This only makes it harder to jump over the hurdles and get back to your normal state.
Anxiety doesn’t define who you are. It isn’t a permanent state of being, even though sometimes it can feel like it is. Especially when paired with depression.
We have a small child within all of us that we need to take care of. A child that gets scared, anxious, angry, mad, and upset sometimes. We like to forget the child exists and we hate to take care of them. Seemingly, the issues come at the worst times.
Anxiety is never easy. Nor should it be pushed aside. If you don’t take care of yourself, the mental state will only get worse.
When anxiety fights its way through your system, reevaluate the situation you’re in.
Take a moment and process what is happening mentally, what is happening physically, what you’re feeling emotionally, and where you are when it happens.
Sometimes it’s as easy as knowing the reason because you’ve experienced it before and knowing how to get yourself out of the situation. Other times, it isn’t and the feeling can last an overwhelming amount of time until you begin to listen to yourself.
Try not to get frustrated. Take care of the little child and listen to what they need.
Celebrate the small wins.
The other day I had a humbling experience, recognizing that anxiety could still affect me severely. It had been some time since I had a panic attack, but the other day, the panic was beginning and I had no other choice than to accept cancellation to my plans to take care of myself.
It’s a frustrating mental state–an argument inside your head, coming up with pros and cons of certain situations. It’s often a negative environment too. One that will sink you further into your mental state. I often choose a form of self-destruction when this begins and it’s crucial I get out of this head space as soon as possible.
When this begins, choose what could make you happiest in that moment. Maybe it’s something small and simple, like a candy bar or a coffee. But treat yourself to it, because it’ll aid in helping further. It’s a small win.
For my situation, it was choosing not to attend an event I was looking forward to. But the morning before, the anxiety began to bubble. I was starting a new job that night too–which wasn’t helping the ease. I also new nothing about the event (how many people, size of venue, what type of people, who was going, etc). The past week had also been a series of lows and highs emotionally and physically–so I needed to act fast to avoid a turmoil.
In order to get myself to sleep the night before the event, I told myself I wouldn’t go. That it would be okay, there would be other events. But I told myself I had to be productive the next day. I recounted my ever growing to-do list–again I was adding this unnecessary pressure because it’s what I do. But it’s destructive.
Well, when I woke up, my anxiety made sure the to-do list would be impossible. So I chose to finally listen. What did I need to get through the day?
Take each moment by each moment. What percentage are you at? What can you do at that percentage?
I managed to get myself out of bed and to the couch. It took everything out of me. My muscles were sore, my shoulders were tense, I felt like I had run a marathon instead of walking ten steps. But it was a small win–I was out of bed.
By mid-morning, I was only at a 20%.
I managed to make myself a healthy breakfast and a cup of coffee (don’t come at me with drinking coffee when anxious. I’d be MORE anxious without the coffee). Another small win. And another 10%.
Halfway through the day, I tried to figure out what I could do to make myself happier. I needed to get out into the sunshine. Fresh air would do me good. After deciding I’d shower, get dressed, and leave the house, it took me another half hour to an hour to convince myself to get off the couch. But I did. I got myself to shower. A win within itself.
After a shower, I felt around 50%. I found clothes that made me the happiest. I got myself ready for an unknown destination and I got out into the sunshine. Another small win.
I tested my anxiety and went to a new bookstore. I found comfort between the books, reading the backs, checking out the covers, and eventually told myself, I could afford a book because my budget was already set to pay for the event I didn’t attend. So I bought a book I had been wanting for quite some time.
While managing to avoid all interaction, I now had to talk to the cashier … and also the cashier at coffee shop if I wanted a beverage. I was blessed by two amazing employees who genuinely cared about my well-being (or were REALLY good a faking it), and it warmed me. I could do this. I was doing this. Another small win.
By the time I made it home, I was around a 60%. The highest I felt I could get for the day.
And that is okay. I was proud of myself. I did as much as I could.
We can not judge our mental states in comparison to others. Whether our happiness levels or the way we deal with anxiety. We cannot judge ourselves either.
Anxiety can be debilitating. It’s easy to feel defeated. But start from the beginning.
Go back to the basics of who you are as a human. Can you get out of bed? Good. If not, that’s okay too. I spent half the day curled on the couch because I couldn’t imagine the outside world. I couldn’t even imagine a shower being kind to me–an inanimate object. But reward yourself for each small step. Give yourself hugs and words of encouragement throughout the day. You may feel silly at first, but try not to. And don’t let anyone criticize you for it either. It’ll help heal the small child from whatever worried them to begin with. If we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, it’ll just pile up and become something far more difficult to handle. You’ll come out stronger and healthier the next day by taking things back to the beginning. And if it takes longer than a day, that’s okay too. But try and remain positive.
Take care of all the small things that’ll make you happy, they’ll add up. You deserve it.
Anxiety does not define you. It’s just a momentary state of being.