When Anxiety Strikes – Make a Plan

As some of you know, I am a person who suffers from anxiety. Sometimes I even have panic attacks. I believe sometimes medication is necessary. I currently take an anti-depressant that helps with anxiety. No shame in that. But pills aren’t magical. I still have to take responsibility for the action aspect of managing my anxiety. That’s where a making a plan comes in handy!

But first…

These are just my experiences and do not replace the advice of a professional. Therapy is great so if you need it, get ir. If you aren’t sure if you need it , get it. It will only benefit you. Please also know that after taking a pill and executing a plan, you still might not feel better for awhile. That doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. Feelings take time to pass. Name your feelings, accept your feelings, and take heart knowing that they will move through you. Your ego will try to tell you that you will always feel this way and that there’s some there’s something wrong with you and you are the exception to all the good advice so you are just doomed to feel horrible forever. Yuck! That kind of self-talk ain’t nothing but the devil.

Benefits and Automation

Making a good plan is a great place to start on your path to feeling better. Not only will some or all of these actions affect your brain positively be releasing stress-reducing hormones, they will also distract you. Here are things i put into my plan. Your plan may need to be tweaked depending on what is causing your anxiety, but most of these actions can be automated. I like to make a little index card that in “laminate” with packing tape and cross things off with a dry erase markers as I complete them.

Example

  • Call a trusted friend. This will make you feel relaxed, feel reassured that you aren’t alone, and maybe even make you laughed. It will also help you overcome any shame you may be feeling.
  • Pray. Pray for healing. Sit with God and tell him all you worries. Release them into His hands.
  • Play. Create. Color. Go swimming. Play with a child. Bake something.
  • Do a grounding exercise.
  • Take a nap.
  • Meditate
  • Watch something funny. I recommend Jim Gaffigan.
  • Exercise . Dance. Just move your body.
  • List worries, then facts.
  • List worst-case scenarios and what you would do if they happened
  • List things you’ve been through to remind yourself or how capable you are.
  • Go to bed early, get more sleep
  • Delete unnecessary tasks, delegate things you don’t have to do, delight in the tasks you do have to do.
  • Give yourself grace. Eat the cookie buy the shoes. Now isn’t the time to be rigid. Don’t go buck wild and binge or run up your credit card. But it might help to eat a cookie even if you are on a diet. And buy a new pair of shoes even if you are on a budget. When the battle is harder, the needs are greater, remember? You have real NEEDS right now. You aren’t just sloughing off duties and being irresponsible. You have probably been acting TOO responsible and working TOO hard. That may be why you are out of balance. Time to take a break! My ego wants to tell me “see you can’t lose weight.” And “see you can’t reach financial goals”. Instead of being realistic and remembering the path to success has ups and downs. As human beings we have real needs that we can’t always anticipate. You have to view these downs on your path as a time when you need extra fuel to keep going.
  • Go out in nature and just take it in. Walk barefoot, feel the air, notice the movement of the trees and the sound of the birds chirping.

What are some things you do that help you with anxiety?

Dear Grandma, You’ve Made a Difference

You deserve to know how you have contributed to my life. Throughout my life you have taught me many things, some directly, many indirectly – learned through your example.

The Comfort of Home

When I was a little girl your house was a magical place with beautiful roses, yummy things in the oven, and treasures to discover. A grandmother’s house from a storybook. Beautiful antiques, family heirlooms,  bookshelves built by my grandfather. You have lived there my whole life. Your house is my second home. It always looks basically the same and smells the same. You may not realize how important the home you and Grandpa made together is to every single person in our family. How important you are and the impact you have made on so many.

Me when I was a toddler at your house.

The Value of Faith

You have taught me about faith, hope and how to be resilient through your example. You have been through some hard things. Unexpected twins, three young babies at once, 15 years of caring for your husband with a brain tumor and his untimely departure. Through it all you have kept your unwavering faith. Even when your vision started to fade you focused on what you can do to make your life better. You stay vibrant by listening to audiobooks, radio, staying interested in other people’s lives, and  puttering in your garden.

 You always have had this magnet on your fridge and it shows that you live your life this way:

 Christ is the Head of this house ; the Unseen Guest at every meal; the Silent Listener to every conversation. 

There you are to my left when I was pregnant with my first baby.

The Gift of Hospitality

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Raplh Waldo Emerson

You have always been an excellent hostess. For my whole life almost every birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter was at your house. You always insist that we pray a blessing over the food. Your hospitality was not always just about throwing a great party, though, you opened up your home to me, my sister, my cousin and countless other people. Sure you needed a little extra money but you could have charged far more. You wanted to share the blessing of your home with others, and you have always created a sense of belonging, comfort, and safety.

Easter time! I was probably 8 or 9 here.
A selfie of us when I lived with you.

The Beauty of Music

You always have some beautiful music playing whether it would be from a musical, something classical or some hymns. You often sing along which is joyous to hear. You introduced musicals to my sister’s and I when you would have us over at your house. Thank you for this gift. Many of my peers have never seen any of the classics and I have had teachers surprised by my exposure to the classics. You have helped me become a more cultured, well-rounded person through your love of music. You celebrate music when you invite those in our family with musical gifts to play and sing around the piano. This is an extraordinary thing. My husband was amazed when he saw that our family does this. He thought it only happened in movies! Most families these days are far too sarcastic and cynical to engage in such a way and spend their time in front of a screen. Thank you for upholding this tradition.

Queen Grandma

I hope you know how loved you are and the beautiful legacy you have created. A closely knit family of eternal beings. You have devoted your life to family and relationships and it shows. Thank you for your beautiful contribution to all of our lives. In my heart you are elevated to the status of a queen. I love you Grandma.

You with my first baby.