Writing Challenge Day 19: Overcoming Anxiety

When examined at a micro level, any one event in 2020 could send anxiety skyrocketing, let alone all of these events piling one on top of the other. Talk about an anxiety ball lodged in the pit of your stomach.

Sure, we could curl up and wait for the madness to inch by at a glacial pace while the ball grows and grows. Or we could take control of the ball—why not make it a Ball? Tell the anxiety monsters this is our party.

But how do you do that? Do you focus on only what you can control? Tell yourself not to go too far into hypotheticals? Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself what you’re grateful for each day? Or just look at your dog and smile while telling him how handsome he is?

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(I try to do this last one at least 10 minutes/day because just look at that handsome and calming face.)

Let’s all get together in the comments to make this Ball ours. We can work on our adult coloring books or go on long walks while listening to our favorite podcast. It’ll be the best kind of 2020 party—one where we’re all miles away and you don’t even have to see another human if you don’t want to.

What’s your anti-anxiety party trick?

P.S. Judgment is not invited. Don’t try to bring him/her, or you’ll be turned away at the door.

Anonymous
  • I have good days and bad days (as we all do) and on bad days I tell myself how lucky I am and then go for a walk which always helps.  I am now also going to adopt 's philosophy - what an awesome idea!  

  • If I have anything to be anxious about, it is my health. When you're a diabetic kidney transplant recipient, much less one who has required a lot of 'aggressive' treatment to fight off rejection, you have reason to be anxious. Instead of letting fear or anxiety rule, I try to treat the whole business as a problem to be solved, though with admittedly high stakes. Blood work prompts another biopsy? get it done. Biopsy results lead to another therapy to try? Work with the transplant staff of getting it. Insurance company getting in the way? Start making phone calls; read up on the appropriate parts of your policy if you have to before calling.

    It's rather similar to troubleshooting. Ask questions: why or what if? Break the problem, the cause of your anxiety into smaller pieces as you can and address them. Part of this is really understanding that everything involves risk. Worried about COVID? What risk do you have? That leads to questions about what pre-existing conditions you have, your age, how many people your job or life brings into contact with, etc. What actions can you take to mitigate those risks? Can you wear a mask? Wear it and learn to wear it properly -- I see too many people wearing 'chin diapers' or holding the mask in their possibly-contaminated hand to press it over their face at the last moment when they approach someone. Can you adjust your activities to lessen contact with others, thus lessening the chance you will come across a contagious person? Are you someone who needs to remain mostly isolated?

    Do what you can. Take control. Know what may happen and how likely it is -- your risk -- and take prudent actions to mitigate the risk. Know what to do if you do get the condition you are trying to avoid, whether getting dialysis or finding a donor when your kidneys are failing, reducing your interactions with strangers by shopping less often or using delivery to avoid COVID-19 infection, or designing a  monitoring and security posture for your network(s). Focus on what you can do and do it. You may not be able to eliminate anxiety, but you can sure knock it down a few pegs.

  • I try to do one thing each day that I can be proud of.  That can be a small technical/work accomplishment, something around the house, or even just a positive interaction with a coworker.  Having something, almost anything, to look back upon can help keep the anxiety monster at bay.

  • I recognize that starting at COVID stats, poll numbers, or social media comments about your company (ahem) may have the opposite effect for some, but as I wrote back on day 4 (https://thwack.solarwinds.com/t5/Geek-Speak-Blogs/Writing-Challenge-Day-4-I-Was-Today-Years-Old-When-I-Learned/bc-p/611485/highlight/true#M36396) knowing the facts (ie: data) about what is happening provides me with a sense of clarity, if not comfort.

    But I think the key, as is so often the case, is in communication. In this case, it's communication with myself. I have to be open to my own emotional state, and then honest about how that state is effecting me. False bravado, grim determination, or singleminded focus is of no help here.

    "It's fine" is good for memes, but not for me.

  • I guess I am pretty fortunate that my wife and I are pretty adept at de-stressing each other. We always find a way to make each other laugh when things get a little squirrely... 43 year..... it's worked so far!