So I saw a post this week about making this month “Self Care September” and I thought that it was:
1) a wonderful idea (The fabulous folks over at Frederick Natural Health turned me on to this idea and I LOVE IT!) and
2) this would be an awesome opportunity to talk about how we can take better care of ourselves when it comes to Anxiety.
As this new season begins, remember that change does tend to set off our sensitive amygdalae, so remember that if your amygdala sends a signal of danger (heart racing, sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach) that the steps are to:
1) check in and remind yourself that whatever is triggering is not life or death, so not actual danger
2) see if you can take a deep breath because that will signal the amygdala that there is no actual danger (but don’t punch me in the face if you are not able to take that deep breath 😜)
3) “be not afraid” by telling your Anxiety to “bring it on” so that you can get this moment of panic over with and get on with your life and 4) remind yourself that “nervous” and “excited” feel the same in your body, so work on labeling what you are feeling as “excited” rather than “nervous”.
How many of you would be up for joining me in Self Care September?
What does Self Care look like for you? Does Anxiety tell you that it is not allowed? That you have not “earned” it? That you have to take a week away at a spa in order to call it self care? Yeah, that’s all bullshit (and Anxiety loves to feed you bullshit!), so let’s take this month to focus on the little things that are self-care. Listen to your favorite music while you do the dishes. Download a good book or podcast to listen to while you are driving (commenting, chauffeuring your kids around). Take 5 minutes to yourself somewhere quiet (even if this is in the bathroom or a quiet corner in a crowded room). Consider one small thing you can do for yourself today and each day this month.
How many of you feel guilt and/or shame even when your Inner Critic (I believe my Inner Critic and Anxiety are first cousins….maybe even “Kissing Cousins” 😳😜) starts in on how you wasted your time, set a bad example for someone else or just plain did not meet your goals or intentions for the day? We are a nation built on the notion of how hard work is imperative (hell, we even have a day that celebrates our nation’s commitment to Labor!) AND we suck a defining what hard work really is and how sometimes just showing up each day is actually hard work! Who among you is familiar with this scenario: You have a goal and it is time to begin, Anxiety shows up and convinces you that you need to think about this goal for a bit longer (“But what if….?”), then you start to feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable (and Anxiety jumps all over that and insists that you find a way to be comfortable), and then you distract yourself (yep we carry around these devices that make this step so incredibly easy these days 🙄) while at the same time doing your best to convince yourself that if you just get “this” done, you will be ready to start with the action steps to get your goal done.
We are bombarded with distractions these days (my email just dinged me as I was writing this….note to self: turn off email notifications while I am writing!) and Anxiety loves to use those distractions (and the devices we have at our fingertips) to:
1) false comfort ourselves (if I just do “this” I will feel better) and
2) to keep us from actually taking action and reaching our goals.
Why is Anxiety such a bitch about this? Because it is protecting us from success. Yeah, you read that correctly, Success! We all think that we are afraid of failing (and we are to some degree), but Anxiety is much more concerned that we will succeed and therefore be even more responsible for more “things” and then Anxiety’s job might get harder…..So…..it keeps us locked in a struggle of distraction to keep us close and therefore safe (at least by Anxiety’s definition).
OK, so who wants to join me in taking one step toward a goal of self-care that you
1) actually do and
2) that starts a process of dealing with anxiety and learning to tolerate being uncomfortable?
If you're with me pick something that you enjoy (listening to music, being quiet, reading, etc.) that you can do for at least 5 minutes. Now, the next time that Anxiety shows up, instead of distracting yourself with your phone (or other device), take 5 minutes and do your self care activity. BOOM! You just hit two birds with one stone! Not listening to Anxiety immediately AND some September Self Care 😍😘
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor