This week I am writing a piece on being an L.E.O wife with anxiety since it is Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. Huge shout out to all you out there who are in Law Enforcement. As I sit down to write this post this week, I don’t know where to start. I have so many thoughts on the subject of being a Law Enforcement Wife that I want to share. Let me start by saying that every single Law Enforcement Wife/Husband that I know has felt some degree of stress, worry, or anxiety (sometimes a combination of all three) in regards to their spouses’ career in Law Enforcement. That said, for those of us spouses who have the extra generalized anxiety component thrown in, it can be very hard to figure out the right way to manage the stresses of being married to an L.E.O.
I am a proud Law Enforcement Wife, but I had to work extremely hard (still do) to manage the stresses/anxieties that go along with agreeing to the lifestyle of a L.E.O wife. I knew when I married Chris that I was signing up to be a part of the L.E.O world, and it is up to me to make sure that I can set aside my anxiety in order to support, love, and comfort Chris each and every day. Additionally, I had to figure out a way not to add my worry to his list of responsibilities. It would not be fair for me to make Chris worry about how I was handling what he was being called to do. Chris needs to be able to focus on his job when he is working, not on me.
I know we live in a very political world, and I know that Law Enforcement falls into this world. However, I want to be clear that I am not writing a political peace on Law Enforcement. Law Enforcement is a career that toes the line of life and death daily, and it is so hard being the wife/husband at home behind the badge. Those who have spouses/family members in Law Enforcement have countless numbers of missed dinners, missed holidays, missed birthdays and get together. Spouses sleep alone, so that others sleep safely. Our spouses miss time at home with THEIR family to protect YOURS. This is why I want to offer what advice I do have for those of you living the L.E.O life.
I am not interested in the politics, I simply want to discuss openly what anxieties and stresses I feel as a L.E.O wife, and share what tips I use to manage these anxieties. I not only am a L.E.O wife, but I am also a proud daughter of my father who was in Law Enforcement for 30 years. I have lived and breathed L.E.O since my birth, and I am PROUD of all the L.E.O out there.
Below are the things that I have the most anxiety about, and how I best manage it:
Accept their job is dangerous.
It is not a thought most like to have, but accept that their job is just plain dangerous. Do not disillusion yourself that their jobs are rainbows and butterflies, and on the same hand do not overly focus on each and every danger obsessively. At some point, I had to focus on only my trust in Chris. When he checks on for work, do I trust him to take care of himself? Yes. Do I trust that he has been given the right training and tools to do what is being asked of him? Yes. Do I trust that he will always do whatever he can do to come home to me and our daughter? Yes. I let my trust IN Chris take over my stress/anxiety/worry FOR Chris. On days where I am overcome with anxiety for Chris, I focus my thoughts on the belief that he has been given the tools, mindset, training, etc. to handle what he is being asked to do and come home safely at the end of his shift.
I remember one night Chris came home and told me that he had a gun pulled on him. I had a little mini-panic attack let me tell you, but I was so proud and thankful that I was holding my husband safe in my arms. I was proud that he had handled the situation correctly, and that he put someone away that was a danger to others. Those that serve in Law Enforcement have answered a calling to provide for those who cannot provide and protect themselves, and that is something to be extremely proud of. What they do each day matters to a great many people. Yes, I wish he had not been put in that situation BUT I was so proud that he did not hesitate and that he handled it right. I held him a little closer, and a little longer that night. I was more grateful for his presence, and I was reminded of what is truly important in my life.
Another thing that helps my anxiety, is finding time to work on my perspective. I make sure to take the time to focus on how much more the dangers outweigh the positives of what my husband does for all of us each day. Did he take a drunk off the road that could have wrecked someone’s’ life and ripped a family apart by grief? Did he stop someone from texting while driving that was not paying attention to those around them? Did he get the drug dealer off the street, or stop someone that was on their way to harm another? Did he answer a call and help at 3:00 AM when someone had wrecked, was alone, and was scared? Did he come home 4 hours after his shift ended because he was waiting in a crisis with someone who needed him? The list goes on and on of how much GOOD my husband does.
I am proud of my husband and how well he does his job. I am so proud that he is BRAVE enough to willingly sign up for a job in Law Enforcement. I am proud that he cares for the safety and well being of the world around him. In moments where the dangers of his job seem to overwhelm me, I remind myself that God will hold Chris in the palm of his hand, and deliver him safely back home. I know God will guide Chris to make the decisions that will keep him safe each day. I believe and have faith in not just Chris, but in GOD. I have to pray, every single day for Chris’s safety. I have to surrender my worries to God, and have faith in Chris.
Expect that Plans will NOT go as Planned.
You planned a nice day trip somewhere for a Saturday morning? Nice, it’s probably not going to happen if your husband is working night shifts with late calls the night before. Inevitably, he will get called out and not be home until 6:00 am. Trust me, that planned dinner out with friends that has been on calendar for the past month will ALWAYS come after an early call or later call, and your spouse will be too tired to go. You planned to take your spouse with you to an important doctor appointment for your daughter (hmmm not speaking from experience he-he) when you know it will be an hour’s long appointment? Not going to happen with an unscheduled training that your spouse is required to attend. It’s his scheduled day off, but they need back up for a situation? That honey-do list isn’t happening, because he’s going in. Holidays…. don’t even go there (he-he). Plans are NOT plans when you are married to an L.E.O.
This is very hard to accept, and even harder when you have anxiety. Why, you might ask? Because one thing that I usually use to help manage my anxiety is careful planning, so that I feel prepared. This doesn’t pan out well when it comes to my husband’s work. Instead, I make up two sets of mental plans. One where it works out with my husband there, and one where I have it worked out if he isn’t there. Doing this allows me to be mentally prepared. I have had to learn to roll with changes and let go of the need to feel in control. Accepting that things will change and plans will not always work out, has helped me with my expectations, and has kept me from being disappointed in Chris (it’s not his fault when his jobs demands these things of him).
If you have kids, expect that you will sometimes carry all the responsibility (try hard not to be resentful).
Whew, this one is a big one. It is hard when you are on your own carrying all the responsibility for your kiddos. Anxiety and feeling overwhelmed with responsibility can easily go hand-in-hand. I can feel anxious just knowing it is JUST me, and knowing that no matter what the situation is I am the one that will need to handle it. Does my daughter have a stomach bug? Is she not sleeping? Does she need a new bottle, but is almost asleep in my arms and getting up will wake her up? What about making dinner? It is not always this hard, but I raise these examples to show that I am responsible for my daughter 100% of the time without any help when Chris is on night shifts/has been called out. Also, my anxiety can be worse at night and when I’m alone, so mentally preparing myself as best I can and managing my triggers ahead of time is extremely important with not feeling overwhelmed when it is just me and my daughter.
Accept and expect that when your spouse has been called out/is on night shifts, you are going to be in single parent mode. Your spouse will roll in about the same time you are getting up, getting your kiddos up, and trying to make it out the door on time to get to work and daycare. Then, by the time you get home after work it will be time for them to check on, and you will be in charge of dinner, lunchbox packing, bath, and bedtime.
A LOT of the time you will be solo parenting, and frequently it will be unplanned. Let go of the frustration that they are not there to help. It is not their fault or your fault, it is simply their work. As spouses to an L.E.O we knew what we were signing up for when we married them. No, that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier when it gets tough, but sometimes reminding yourself that it is neither of yours fault does help. Know that you are doing the best you can do, and that at the end of the day it will all have worked out. Instead of allowing yourself to think of all the stress in regards to being a single parent, I challenge you to think instead about all the strength it is teaching and giving you.
Be understanding that just because your spouse is checked off from work that they may not be mentally checked off when they get home.
Anxiety constantly makes us overthink and overanalyze everything, including the people closest to us. This includes our spouses. I used to be the worlds worst (still am sometimes) at getting so excited when Chris was finally home. I wanted him to be 100% mine from the minute he walked in the door. I wanted to talk to him, hear about his day, tell him about mine, etc. If he wasn’t just as excited and eager as I was, I would have hurt feelings. I would overanalyze his mood and worry that he didn’t want to be home with me (insecure much?). This was my anxiety talking. I knew that Chris loved me very much, and that he wanted to be home. I also knew that because of his reaction he had more than likely had a hard day.
Chris and I learned early on that he needed time to mentally check off from his work when he got home. We also agreed that he would communicate better by telling me when he has had a hard day, so that I can be more understanding of his needs when he got home. I now give him time when he gets home to unwind and undress before I expect him to really be present with me mentally or emotionally.
Our L.E.O spouses need time to mentally let go of their day before they can be our spouses. Their days are so much harder than most anyone else’s. Did they have to notify the next of kin to the death of a family member? Did they have to work a wreck involving a family, kids, or teenagers? Did they have to respond to a domestic call? The list of things they might have encountered in their day goes on and on. Think of how hard it would be to turn this off in your brain if you were in their shoes, and allow this understanding to give your spouse a bit of a break. Love them through the hard times, and understand sometimes they just have to bring home their work.
Until next week my readers, and HAPPY LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION WEEK!
What we say to ourselves is so much more important than what others say TO us. It is what WE chose to say to ourselves that makes up what we believe about ourselves. This is why I decided to write about the power of using positive affirmations. I am a firm believer that positive thoughts generate positive feelings. When I tell myself positives about myself, I am uplifting myself and in turn making myself a better person. I CHOOSE to believe the words I tell myself. I CHOOSE to accept these affirmations as truths. I CHOOSE to see myself through better eyes. I give myself permission to LOVE myself.
When anxiety hits me full force, I find myself talking myself through each anxious filled situation. I am constantly telling myself that it will pass, I will be okay, God has got me in his hands, I am going to make it through this, etc. I converse with myself and conversationally pray all the time. I take ownership of how I process what I am feeling. I may not be in control of actually having anxiety, but I am in control of how I handle it. What I chose to tell myself during these moments is extremely important.
Instead of combating my anxiety with positives, what if I instead decided to say that I will not make it through this, I am all alone, it will not be okay, no one else understands, etc.? I will tell you the answer. I would be allowing myself to stay stuck in that terrible anxious filled state. I would not be in a position to like myself. If we feel bad about ourselves then we allow negativity to run our lives. For the anxious person, negative thoughts makes anxiety even worse.
A positive mind will give you a positive life, even through the worst of situations. I look at my anxiety as a difficult road that I am traveling. Just when I feel like it is smooth sailing going 60 MPH straight towards my destination, boom, I hit a pot hole. I decided long ago that instead of allowing myself to be lead down this ever changing road, I would instead chose to take control and lead myself along the road. I take the time to pack all the equipment I need to make it to the end of the road, and I plan how to manage the bumps in the road ahead of time. It may not always be an easy travel, but it always tends to lead me to each of my destinations with a more grateful heart.
For the road, I pack a piece of equipment that is always with me, my mind. I shape my mind with positive words and beliefs. On this journey of living my life with anxiety, I choose to be happy and positive regardless of how difficult life may become. I want to share with you how I have learned to love, accept, and enjoy myself in spite of my anxiety. I wrote down 40 positive affirmations that I use to remind myself of how amazing, blessed, loved, and helpful I truly am.
40 Affirmations for the Anxious Mind:
I challenge you to tell yourself these things too, or better yet make your own list of affirmations that you can say to yourself. Remember, you are who you THINK you are.
Until next week,
Setting realistic expectations, and only accepting responsibility for myself and my actions is a super hard thing to do. As simple and easy as it may sound, it’s not. It is so hard letting go of expectations that have not been met, and learning to not worry and stress over things that are not your responsibility. However, learning how to do this has really helped my anxiety.
If I don’t stop myself, I can feel responsible for the actions, words, and ideas of other people. I can find myself apologizing on someone else’s’ behalf. I can wear myself out trying to correct others mistakes. I can find myself trying to write a wrong that I didn’t make. I can stress over something someone else did that I flat out can’t control or change. If I don’t work hard to only prioritize and accept my responsibilities, I can add a lot of stress, disappointment, and anxiety to myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
It is also so easy for people to slip into the habit of making unrealistic expectations, which leaves you constantly disappointed in how life actually plays out. I’m not telling you to not have any expectations and goals, because these are very important to have. What I am telling you, is to make sure the expectations you do make do not expect more than can be fulfilled. I feel overwhelmed most of the time, so adding other peoples’ responsibilities and unrealistic expectations, when I shouldn’t, is a sure fire way to make my anxiety worse.
What does this mean? Do not expect for your husband to roll out the red carpet and red wine when you had a bad day, if you didn’t tell him. He’s not a mind reader. Do not expect your relationship to play out like a Disney Princess love story. Real life relationships are not perfect. Do not expect to never have problems in your relationships. You will have bumps, struggles, and hard times and you will find strength and a deeper love in your relationships by working through the imperfections of your relationship together. Do not expect everyone to always like you, or always agree with you. Someone is always going to disagree with you, and there will always be someone who just doesn’t jive with your personality. That’s okay, don’t base your self-worth on others. Do not expect someone to do, say, or think something just because you would. Do not expect your child to sit quietly for a few hours just because YOU decided to take them to something that is too much to expect of their age.
Learning to make realistic expectations and understanding that I am only responsible for myself has been extremely freeing, and in turn helpful with staying on top of my anxiety. I can only ever be responsible for the consequences of MY actions, MY behavior, MY efforts, MY words, MY ideas, and MY mistakes. I work very hard not to add the weight of unrealistic expectations and others responsibilities, and it has helped me tremendously. I made a list of the 12 most important thoughts that I use to prioritize expectations and responsibilities (that help my anxiety) and listed them below:
1. Do not expect others to live, respond, and react the same way that you do.
People are all different. Yes, we would all love it if everyone just did it “our” way, but that is just not possible or realistic. Everyone has walked a different path, so everyone will live, respond, and react differently to different situations. If you walk into each day and circumstance prepared that others are not going to 100% align with everything you say and do, you will be a lot happier because you won’t feel that pang of disappointment and anxiety when you realize they aren’t thinking or responding exactly like you. Accepting that everyone is different, and not expecting otherwise, will help you stop feeling so insecure, attacked, and frustrated. Expect and plan for these differences. In turn, this will set-up you up to be disappointed A LOT less.
2. Do not expect people to treat you the way you treat them.
It would be nice to always get back what you put out there in this world, but that is not always going to happen. Do what you do because your heart tells you too, and do not expect for everything that you do to be done back for you. People are NEVER going to give you back 100% of what you give to them ALL the time. It is hard not to feel letdown when a family member, friend, or co-worker doesn’t do for you what you willingly do for them. However, I challenge you to think about what things they DO do for you. Are they doing things for your that are equally loving, giving, and helpful but just not exactly what you do for them? We all show love differently, but you will miss out on being able to see this when you expect people to treat you in the exact same way that you treat them. Do what you do for others for YOURSELF, and be grateful (not impatiently expecting) when others do back for you.
3. Accept that you are only responsible for yourself.
You can WANT as much as your little heart and mind can want that someone will make better choices and change, but you can’t make them. You are not responsible for someone else’s’ choices. Let go of feeling responsible for others, and let go of the expectation that someone will change. You are NOT responsible for the actions, choices, words, etc. of someone else. The only person you can change is yourself, so focus all of your energy on that instead. Put all the efforts you have been putting into worrying over others into worrying over yourself. Accept responsibly for the things you have done. Make yourself into the person you want to be. Who knows, in watching you work hard on improving yourself you might very well inspire the people who need inspiration and improvement to change themselves too.
4. Put aside, permanently, the expectation you have for yourself, and others, to be perfect.
I know I wrote on this last week in my self-care tips post, but let go of feeling the need to be perfect and do everything. Perfection is simply unattainable. Learn to be content doing a GREAT job-not a PERFECT job. If you focus on perfection you will only stress yourself out, feel like you have not lived up to your expectations, and you will obsess over everything. You need to let go of your need to be perfect. Do not expect it of yourself or of others.
5. Do not expect others to always understand you, your mood, what you need, or what they need to say.
You may think, in the moment, that someone should just know you well enough to understand everything from each of your moods to all your needs. However, that is TOO much to expect of anyone. Be understanding that even someone who loves your dearly and knows you very well still may not know what the right thing is to do/say given a situation. They might not be able to gauge your mood correctly, and they can’t read your mind. Instead work on clearly communicating with them about how you are feeling, what you need, and what you need to hear. Communicating with them about what you need eliminates the frustrating gray area where you wait for them to figure it out, and they wait for you to explain what they aren’t getting. Remember that the important thing is that they care because they are there.
6. Remember that people’s words, even if they may hurt your feelings, are a reflection of them NOT of you. Other peoples’ words are NOT your responsibility.
If someone says something, even if it is hurtful or untrue, that is their business. They are the ones that will have to live with any consequences their words may have. Their words are THEIR responsibility. If someone says something hurtful, remember that this shows you a lot about them as a person NOT you as a person. They may be hurting and lashing out, they might want to paint a picture of you according to an agenda they have, they may be defensive of their opinion because it is not the popular one, they may just want you to be brought down to their level, they may not even realize what they said was hurtful because they think differently, etc. and the list of reasons someone might speak hurtfully goes on. Instead of staying upset, I challenge you to instead pray for them. Embrace the chance to let go of the hurt, move on, and pass that responsibility to them. Do not dwell on their words, because they are not your own. Do not worry someone may believe something untrue, because the truth will always be uncovered with time. That person made the choice to say something, and that is NOT your responsibility.
7. Do not expect others to always agree and disagree the same as you.
It is so easy to feel attacked when someone presents a different opinion as yours. This is especially true, because we are constantly wearing the responsibility of making many different decisions and having many different opinions when we are being a wife, mommy, daughter, friend, professional, co-worked, employee, etc. Instead of getting your feelings hurt, responding defensively, or shutting down anxiously when their opinions differ from yours, I challenge you to try to see the big picture. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not just trying to make you look or feel bad, but they are just trying to do the same thing you are which is advocate for what they feel is best. They want to share their ideas and opinions to better the world, too. Their opinion is not a personal attack of yours if it is different…it is just simply, different. I challenge you to look at their opinion and see value. You are being presented with an opportunity to learn tolerance of differences as well as a new perspective, so embrace it.
8. Stop feeling responsible for others mistakes.
People make their OWN mistakes. Do not accept ownership of mistakes other than your own. You are not responsible for other people’s mistakes, or the consequences their mistakes may bring them. This is such a hard one for me to not do. I have a really hard time watching people I love and care about fail. Yes, I know every mistake is an opportunity for them to learn. No, it does not make it any easier to see them fail and struggle with the consequences. I hate seeing them hurt. I feel their pain, and I fight the feeling of responsibility that I could have done something differently to help them not have made that decision. I should have pushed harder, I should have tried to get through to them in a different way, and I could have helped them make a better decision by doing x, y, z. I have to constantly remind myself that if someone makes a mistake that is their fault, their responsibility, and they ALONE are responsible for the consequences. Also, remember to focus on the changeable. Things that have already happened can’t be controlled or changed, so instead focus on things that are yet to come.
9. I am not responsible for other people’s beliefs and attitudes.
Do you know someone who is always negative, and can’t seem to find the good in a situation? What about someone who, no matter what you do, is not going to be happy? It may be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or an acquaintance. It does not matter their connection to you, because it is important for you to know that their beliefs and attitudes are NOT your responsibility. Let the stress of that person roll right off your back. You do not need to be bogged down with their attitudes and ideas. If you have done everything that you can to try to help them be happy, loved, and content and they push you away then do not feel like you have let them down. Somewhere along the line they have decided not to TRY and see the beautiful, and they have given up. Somewhere along the line they have decided NOT to be happy. You are NOT going to be able to help everyone. You are NOT going to make someone suddenly positive if they have not already made the decision that they WANT to be that way. Yes, you can help them try to see the beautiful and wonderful in the world around them again, but they are responsible for making the CHOICE to want to see the world differently. Helping others is an entirely different thing than feeling like you are responsible for how that person believes and acts.
10.You can’t be in control of everything.
Being in control is something that my personality craves. However, I can not always be in control of everything. Accepting that I am not always able to be in control has been very freeing. I am not in control of my day going down the drain when I get a flat tire (who can control that happening), and I am going to have to just go with the flow. I do not need to go back and re-make the bed just because my husband left a crease in the middle of it. I do not need to have everyone on MY schedule just so that things can be done MY way. You simply can’t always be in control and the sooner you accept that, the better you will feel. Take that pressure right off your shoulders. You can’t control everything, and sometimes you just need to sit back and relax and have faith that things will all work out on its own. Let go of controlling all the small things, and allow yourself to just let life happen.
11. Life isn’t always fair.
It would be a wonderful thing if life was always fair, but unfortunately it’s not. Expecting life to be fair all the time will constantly set you up with frustration and disappointment. Sometimes I want to tap life on the shoulder and say, “Hey there, I completely understand that life isn’t fair. You don’t have to keep teaching me that lesson over-and-over.” Life is not fair when good things happen to bad people, when someone too young dies, when people are treated differently because of who they are, when you have to struggle daily with a personal battle that someone else doesn’t have, and when consequences are different even for the same crime, etc. Instead of fuming in anger. Breathe, and refuse to be upset. DO not allow yourself to feel the victim when life is not fair, instead show people how strong you are by standing tall and being the amazing person you are in SPITE of life not being fair to you. When I feel life hasn’t been fair to me, I stand TALL and I stand DETERMINED to achieve anyways.
12. Do NOT compare yourself to others.
Do not compare yourself to others, JUST DON’T DO IT! We are each unique and different with our own amazing things going on. The second you compare your relationship to someone else’s’ you find ways to be disappointed in something you were happily content with moments before. You will hold yourself back from doing things you should do by trying to be like the thing or person you are comparing yourself too. The minute you compare your beautiful curvy body to the skinny body on the cover of the magazine and pick out differences, you let yourself see flaws. Constantly comparing steals your joy and self-worth right out from under you. Don’t do it. You are AMAZING in your own way.
I hope these 12 ways to prioritize expectations and responsibility help you gain perspective, and help you let go of some of that unnecessary anxiety.
Until next week my readers,
This week has been a hard week. Everyone has hard weeks, whether they are anxious or not. I am no different than the millions of other people walking this beautiful world who have also had a hard week. It is important to learn how to take care of yourself when this happens. What is important is not focusing on how hard, stressful, or upsetting your week may have been. Sounds easy, right? Nope, that is a super hard thing to do especially when my specialty is stressing and worrying (thanks anxiety).
Unfortunately, it is not easy to let go of the bad and my anxiety makes it all too easy to fret, obsess, and worry over everything (even when something is already done and I can’t change it). I have to consciously remind myself (and I challenge you to do the same) that it has already happened and there is not one thing I can do to change it. I can’t change what someone else did or said, and I can’t change my reactions or actions in response to someone else either. What’s done is done. I have to accept what has happened and move on, or I will be stuck on it for weeks. I have to have perspective, too. Perspective that this one little 5 day work week is so small in comparison to the hundreds of days that I have spent having GOOD weeks. The GOOD does outweigh the BAD and that is important to remember.
It is important to focus on what you can do to get through it, get over, forgive, and have a better week next week. One way to get over problems, forgive others, manage your anxiety, and have a better week next week is to remember to set aside time to prioritize yourself. Do what you physically, mentally, and emotionally need to do to find peace and happiness. This is called taking the time to care for YOURSELF.
Self-care is extremely important for overall health, especially mental health. I can’t say this enough….if you don’t take care of YOU then there is no way you can handle what is expected of you mentally, physically, or emotionally. Your life, obligations, stresses, and anxiety will run rampage until you invest in YOURSELF. Although this post is geared towards using self-care to manage anxiety, it is also a post to share things that ALL people need to do to help themselves be the best versions of themselves, anxious or not. Every single person needs to be reminded to take care of themselves, prioritize, and recharge so that they CAN be the best versions of themselves, not just for others but for themselves.
In the world we live in we are often times too focused on helping others (sometimes before we help ourselves), being perfect, fretting over decisions we cannot make for others, worrying over outcomes we have no control over, over achieving, being what the world wants us to be (even if it means sacrificing who we are), etc. Instead we need to be focused on helping ourselves and learning to control ONLY what we are able to control. I want to be the best person I can possibly be, and I want to be as happy, non-anxious, and peaceful as I can be in this crazy wonderful life of mine. Why? Because when I am bettering myself, when I am happy, and when I am peaceful then I am a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. Self-care makes me ABLE to be a better person; the person I WANT to be.
This said, I put together 12 Self-Care Tips that I use to help stay on top of and manage my anxiety. I hope these tips help you take care of yourself (anxious or not). I challenge you to INVEST IN YOURSELF!
1.Take care of your body’s basic physical needs.
Avoid high amounts of sugar and caffeine, exercise, and get enough sleep. You will be AMAZED with how much making sure you are doing these basic (simple) things really helps you and your anxiety.
2.Let go of perfection.
You are AMAZING, but you will NEVER be perfect. You can do ANYTHING, but you are not able to do EVERYTHING. And you know what? That’s okay! Let go of feeling the pressure to be perfect and to do everything. It is simply unattainable. Learn to be content doing a GREAT job-not a PERFECT job. If you focus on perfection you will only stress yourself out, feel like you have not lived up to your expectations, and you will obsess over everything. You need to let go of your need to be perfect.
Take the time to go get your nails and hair done, go for that massage, and buy yourself that new dress if it makes you feel FABULOUS. I am not telling you to spend all your money on pampering yourself (don’t blame that monthly budget on me he-he), but I am telling you to invest some of that money into YOU, especially if it makes a big difference in how you feel.
4.Be aware of your emotions/feelings and actually process them.
Acknowledge what you are feeling and know that it is important for you to understand what you are feeling and why. Do not distract yourself from dealing with your emotions. Process what you are feeling, and find a person or a technique that will help you deal with your emotions/anxiety in a HEALTHY way.
I know that I don’t always feel like getting together with people. However, if I just MAKE myself get up and go get together with others I feel great because I did. It is not always easy pulling myself out of my yoga pants and t-shirt (and did I mention shower he-he). But… just getting dressed like the adult I am and getting a good visit in with family or friends is enough to make me feel much better 9 times out of 10. I always feel better after a good visit with someone, and I am always grateful that I dragged my tush out of the house.
6.Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee.
Do you need a few minutes each day that you can really look forward to? I REALLY look forward to making my second cup of coffee at 12:30 after I get back from lunch duty. I sip my coffee while catching up on e-mails or talking to my co-workers, and I really love having that small window of time be just for me and my coffee. Set aside 10-15 mins to make and enjoy that cup of coffee/tea and just sit. Sit and read your devotional, sit and be in silence, sit and visit with a friend, sit and catch up on something, etc. Whatever you decide to do with this time, allow yourself to look forward to it, and give yourself permission to do nothing but relax.
7.Make goals and work towards them.
It is important to grow in this beautiful life. Grow your relationships, grow your experiences, grow your finances, and grow as a person, etc. Make goals and work towards your dreams. Make a plan to accomplish your goals, detail how you will achieve it, and work towards it. You will feel energized and excited to have a plan in place to accomplish something YOU have decided is important. You will feel even BETTER when you achieve it.
8.Get to know yourself.
Spend some time alone doing what you enjoy. Think about what you could be doing that you would really enjoy. Get to know yourself. For me, I really enjoy sitting in the sun reading my book. I always feel so content and relaxed when I get a chance to do this. Figure out what it is you enjoy and DO it. I knew I enjoyed writing, but couldn’t think of a way to do it. Yet, here I am. I thought about what would make me happy, and developed the plan to start this blog .I am so glad I got to know myself, and am doing what I know will make me happy. On the same hand, figure out what you don’t enjoy and learn to say NO.
9.Try something new.
Trying new things allows you to look forward to something, and become excited about something new and positive in your life. Try that new type of food, try to complete that art craft, plan to do something new as a hobby, or find a new place to visit, etc. The world has endless new opportunities that are at your feet to try. What’s the worst that could happen? You could decide you really didn’t like it. What’s the best that could happen? You may fall in love with something new-it’s worth the risk!
10.Invest in, and work on, your relationships.
I can’t begin to emphasize how important relationships are. Having people I can turn to when I need them is a HUGE part in helping me with my life in general as well as my anxiety. You are better when you are loved by others than you ever are alone. I want people that I can call on to celebrate this crazy life with me, and people that I can call on to help me through the thick of my problems. I also want to be there for those that I love and care about. Therefore, I take the time to invest in the people I have in my life. Prioritize and invest in the people who love and invest in you. Invest time and energy into your marriage, even when you are dragging and just want to lay down. Take that 5 extra minutes to sit together and talk! If you have a few spare minutes call that friend back and connect with them, you’ll feel better for doing it. Is there someone you really enjoy but haven’t spoken with in a while? Check in with them, make plans to get together, and enjoy their company. Having people in your life that you can rely on and have help you through the hard times and celebrate the good times is what MAKES your life enjoyable and bearable. Take the time to invest in them!
11.Learn to pray.
I know I wrote about this last week, but praying is a WONDERFUL thing. Learning to pray is instrumental in feeling content, forgiven, and recharged. I pray for those that I am worried about. I pray for peace and reassurance when my own worry takes over. I pray to be forgiven for the things that I have done, and then I give myself permission to forgive myself. Pray helps me let go of things that would normally bring me down.
12.Work out your finances.
Money is something that a lot of us stress over. Money shouldn’t be as important as it is, but it necessary for a lot of things. Money is necessary for your power, car, home, healthcare, food, etc. Money can be a huge factor in making your anxiety worse. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your finances, take the time to sit down and write out a plan that will get you where you want to be financially. You will feel better for actually planning and feeling more in control than you would have felt just ignoring it without a plan to fix it. Invest in yourself by working to eliminate this as a potential stress.
I hope these tips help you, and I challenge you to INVEST in yourself!!
Until next week,
Hey all you awesome people reading my blog. I'm Ginger and this blog chronicles how I live my life fabulously with anxiety.