I am currently sitting in my home, surrounded by boxes, with about two days left living in Alabama before our move to Michigan. Eek! We are over the moon excited to move back to Michigan, near our best friends, and to our new home that we will be fixing up. But as always, it is so bittersweet. Saying goodbye to a home and people that we have enjoyed is hard.
The other day I wrote a post on Instagram, but I wanted to expand on it here for you, because I hope that I am not alone in some of these feelings, and maybe we can help each other by learning things…
“After months of prepapration, and many MANY hours of doubt and worry during this weird season, our packers show up today. We have moved a lot in our military journey, so this process isn’t new, but I am always somehow surprised when the day arrives to actually to leave.
Last Summer around this time I discovered I have anxiety, something I have always had when I look back, but covered it up with perfectionism, over control, pretending that I have it all together, and basically trying to be everything to everyone. “
So basically every other move we have done I have powered through and stuffed down all my anxious feelings. That’s what we all do. We feel really crappy things and they are uncomfortable and hard and inconvenient, and instead of feeling them we push them away and try to “buffer” them out. Maybe we drink too much? Under or overeat? Buy too many things on Amazon? In the past to avoid these feelings I have powered through at a high rate (type 3 enneagram!🙋🏻)because WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS? Stuffing feelings down has been something I have done forever, but after I was hospitalized last Summer, I knew it had to stop.
The past few days I have felt my anxiety creep in. I notice it as a lack of sleep and waking up in the middle of the night with my mind racing. I notice it as a shortness of breath. I notice my head feels light and I’m dizzy and my eyes won’t focus. I turn to extra caffeine, excessive screentime, picking apart my pysical appearance and planning how to “fix” it, and shopping online. My mind won’t rest, but nothing feels restful. It’s kind of a no win situation.
I feel it, but then in the moment I forget how to help myself. I forget how feeling good feels, and I just sort of flounder. It realy sucks.
So then what?
I’ve come up with a list of things that help ME, specifically, but this is something you can do for you. When I am feeling good I like to make a list of the things that make me happy, that aren’t linked to avoiding feelings/buffering. This is personal to all of us, but here is a list of things that fill me up…
1) Listen to an inspiring podcast. I love Ed Mylett, Expanded, The Life Coach School, Don’t Keep Your Day Job, and The Alison Show.
2) Write out my feelings in a journal. Sometimes I write our to-do lists, or my worst fears, or grateful lists, or just anything that I feel inspired to do.
3) Listen to a meditation on YouTube. Tara Brach has a great ’10 minute smile’ meditation that usually picks me up.
4) Drink more water. Ugh, my default is MORE ICED COFFEE, but then too much caffeine makes me feel more anxious. So I remind myself to keep drinking water.
5) Find a quite place to just breathe, in and out for a minute, alone. During the moving process (or pandemic), that might be my bathroom. Or the car. Or sitting anywhere where I just sit and say, “I am breathing in, I am breathing out” one time.
6) Another thing I forgot about, but Tapping is also great for instant relief. I have this book, which is a great resource.
8) Go for a walk, listen to the birds, get those emotions moving through your body. We want to not let them stagnate. Bad/hard feelings just need to be felt and then released. Or pound a baseball bat into a mattress;) You do you!
So if those things make me feel good, I KNOW there are things I need to avoid. Which is hard, because I often want to turn to these things to buffer/not feel what I am feeling inside.
The things I avoid…
1) Going online and anything social media. This triggers me the most and it is what I turn to first when feeling anxious. So, limiting this. Especially when I am feeling anxious, I just want to mindlessly scroll and pick up my phone a million times a day. I struggle with ths because it is literally my job to show up on social media, but the world won’t end if I need a personal day.
2) Too much caffeine. I mentioned this above, this is a treat I love and I limit this normally but turn to it more when I am distressed. But if makes me feel worse, so I really try to steer away on anxious days.
3) Answering my phone, texts, or emails. I choose who I want to talk to, when I want to, and letting the guilt go over not reponding is an ongoing process. It’s okay to protect yourself and your energy.
4) Drinking alcohol, online shopping, and eating junk. When I am feeling bad I try to avoid drinking for sure, because having wine when I am anxious makes me feel worse, as does eating too much comfort food. I also turn to online shopping and ordering things to feel better, and I am working on this. The truth is, there is no amount of clothes/products that will bring happiness. I often find the ordering process is more fun than actually getting something. So I am trying not to make any purchases on days that I feel anxious, because it is a coping mechanism.
This is just a step in the process, my process, of learning who I am, what I need, and how I can start feeling and healing. I don’t have all the answers, but I am learning as I go!