I’ve been struggling lately. My semester is over, which means summer projects are upon me, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Everywhere I look in my house, something needs to be fixed or cleaned. And it’s making me feel immobile with anxiety. It’s like I don’t know where to start or what to do. Like I just want to be out of my house to be away from it all. I know I just have to do what I can when I can. And try to release control.
Not being in control is difficult for me. But I’m aware that we are forever out of control of most things. For example, I’ve been struggling with a thyroid issue that’s been causing me to gain weight. No matter what I do. I walk my 10,000 steps. I count my calories. Yet my weight continues to increase. And it makes me feel completely out of control.
I try to focus on the things I can control. Like how I use my time. Getting done what I can when I can. Keeping a schedule. Marking things off a list. I find it helps my anxiety and allows me to feel more in control. Even when I know I’m really not.
So if you struggle with anxiety and control like I do, here are some tips:
- Make lists. When I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the number of things I have to do, making lists helps me clear it out of my head. And there’s something very satisfying about checking things off my list.
- Make a daily schedule. I make a schedule each day so I know how to prioritize my time. While I realize it’s a major blessing to have the summer off, it can be overwhelming to have nothing but time. And making a schedule helps me manage my time so I get things done.
- Meditate. This can be guided or simply focusing on the breath (see below). Whatever meditative practice you have, make sure to do it for at least five minutes every day. I find that first thing in the morning works best for me. That way, I ensure I fit it into my day.
- Focus on your breath. Breathing deeply doesn’t always mean sitting in a crossed-legged position on a cushion with your eyes closed. You can find your breath regardless of the situation you are in. I find it helpful to focus on getting my breath from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. And repeating it at least five times. It calms me no matter where I’m at.
- Exercise. Find ways to move every day. And if you can break a sweat, even better. Even if all you have is five minutes, get up and walk around, lift weights, stretch. And remember to focus on your breathing.
- Practice gratitude. When I’m anxious, I find it helps to focus on what I have instead of what’s going wrong. I’ll start thanking the Universe out loud for things like my home, my husband, running water, etc., and I find it helps shift my mindset to feeling more positive.
- Let go. Saved the hardest one for last. In moments when I’m struggling the most, I stop and focus on letting go. Surrendering. Knowing none of us really have control. Riding the ride. And letting go.
However you manage your anxiety and need to control, I hope you can embrace each day for what it is instead of trying to control it. I wish you all the joys of letting go.
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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom