Sunday, July 27, 2008

InnerBliss: The Habit of Anxiety

The first of many photos from my recent
day trip to Buffalo.

Listening to: I like the bass line in this song and the overall nerd-factor of this band.

Today's Bliss Formula: I am at the library and will be speaking to someone today about changing my per diem job. I'll stay a per diem, which I prefer, but I'll get a really regular schedule. YAY! for routines -- much better for my creative endeavors.

This weekend, I had a bit of an anxiety freakout. Over technology of all things. Internet problems -- and I'm sure I needn't say more!

Even though the problem was fairly serious -- I count on being online for a lot of work I do -- my freakout still seemed disproportionate. I mean, it made me cry, and I am not the crying sort.

So I knew there was more to it than the problem at hand. I knew it had to be coming from elsewhere.

I figured it out. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I lost a very dear cat this past January after a long illness, and that that illness was preceded by the loss of another dear cat, who had also been ill.

All in all, I would say that we had been living with this stress -- caring for a sick loved one on a day to day basis, never knowing what each hour would bring -- for over two years.

Our bodies got used to living with all that adrenaline in our muscles, and as evidenced from my weekend, it became a habit that I now will have to work to get rid of.

I barely know where to begin. But I do. That's a story that I tell myself when I am feeling overwhelmed like I was this weekend -- that I don't know how to fix it, how to feel better. What a load!

Here are some things I know I have to do. And I have to do them every single day or close to it. I've written about this before -- that to feel better, to feel good is a choice in life, and it's a choice that is made from one hour, from one minute to the next.

1. Yoga. I've been telling myself that in the summer daily yoga is not only not necessary but not possible. There are so many things to do besides being inside doing yoga: gardening, sitting and watching birds, riding my bike. But there's no excuse. Yoga maintains both my physical and emotional balance. Period.

2. Music. In the summer, I often have all our windows open and so don't turn on music. I enjoy the silence and the birds and the wind. But music is so important to my sense of serenity. And with that...

3. Singing. Chanting. The vibrations this produces in your body is happy-inducing.

4. Journaling. With all the blogging and other writing, I'm not journaling. This one is big! To just pour stuff out, to dig deeper, to sit with my thoughts or the forming of thoughts for longer than fifteen minutes. To write something not for public consumption. Not only is this good for my mind, but it does end up helping to feed my other creativity.

5. Sitting. Not watching birds, but watching breath. Lighting a candle, setting an intention, and being very still. Summer can be all about speed and we need to be slower every day -- all year long.

So that's what I'll try to integrate into my days from now on. It's about paying attention. And after the last two years we've had, it's more important than ever.

If you have any other suggestions, I would certainly appreciate them.


Connie said...

Isn't it interesting, Christine, that taking care of a loved one day to day is so easily offered. But in taking care of ourself, we need to write a list to remind us what to do. I'm the same way...and working on that.

Peace & Love.

carlikup said...

I am so with you on this one Christine.

We have a diagnosis in nursing that is called "Caregiver Role Strain". As a nurse, we always have to pay extra attention to relatives who are caregivers of ill and terminally ill patients, because they can become in danger of a major anxiety breakdown.

I am amazed on how you are talking about this subject today, because I was just researching it on line last night ~ "how to deal with anxiety". Actually, it's doing this alot lately, where I'm contemplating on something, and how it just appears in one of your blogs, or Connie's at dirtyfootprints-studio, the next day.

You mention that journaling is so important and it is not really like blogging ~ I have a private journal at that I keep just for myself to do brainstorming and figure myself out.

Here's a sample of what I wrote yesterday:

"When I get anxious, I become extremely tired, and then I am not capable of functioning. The house gets in a big mess, that stresses me even more ~ and then I'm not capable of functionning ... then I don't do my yoga, and that just brings me back to where I started.

My plans for tomorow:

1. Yoga, first thing in the morning
2. shower
3. maybe watercolor with Sarah
4. What could we do , the whole
family? "

And again, I mention in another one of my journal entries how yoga and jornaling are vital to my anxiety reduction:

"I still am having a hard time integrating yoga in my routine. There is so many things to do around the house, that it always takes the backburner ... but I know that I need to make it part of my daily routine, it is crucial for my recovery.

Crucial elements for me right now are:

1. First thing in the morning:
Yoga, yoga, yoga!!!
2. spending time outside
3. going to bed early
4. journaling
5. being creative
6. spending quality time with my
children "

I have discovered the hard way that if I let go of my yoga practice and my journaling, it backfires and my anxiety peaks. I need these two elements as constants in my life ~ no bargaining about it.

differenceayearmakes said...

Ah ha moment! When we have been living with stress for a long time it becomes a habit.

This now makes perfect sense to me. I took early retirement just six weeks ago and have been struggling to find my way - and wondering why I am suffering such anxiety when supposedly there is nothing now to be so anxious about.
I do find that I look for things that "must be done" and fear that I'm "missing something important".

I told a friend recently that I thought early retirement would sort of happen all on its own - poof, next day it just happens. Instead what I find is that I need to plan for it. Who knew?

Lisa said...

Great post. I am almost a year into healing myself (I refer to it as 'saving my own life') from stress, burnout, depression, anxiety. While overall I am much healthier, happier, and whole - there are moments/days/weeks when the funk returns and I struggle to stay afloat.
When this happens, I learn to bring my focus back to myself in *that*very*moment* and ask myself what it is I really need. I find we are so out of touch with what our true needs really are - and when we start honoring those (recognizing, discovering, acknowledging) and then seek to meet them in effective ways - we are much better off. And everything around us falls into place one way or the other.
This takes daily practice and reminders. However, I have found it to be utterly necessary on this journey back to my authentic self.
Good for you for taking the time, space, and energy necessary to honor your true feelings and needs. I applaud your example. May your path ahead be smooth and peaceful.

blisschick said...

Connie, Such a good point about the lists! And Carlikup, thank you times two for the info about your nursing professions view on this. It helps immensely, I think, to know that it is "common." And welcome, Lisa, thanks for stopping by!