Anxiously Seeking a New Normal: Anxiety Support in Scary Times

I have been feeling a lot more anxiety lately. Anyone else? This pandemic and all the little things (and big changes) that come with it feel hard and taxing sometimes. For me, I already overthink things and now it feels like their is only more things to worry about. Sometimes going out in public especially to new spaces, in the back of my mind there are a million tracks all playing at the same time. How far apart is this person, is this six feet? Do they have their mask on? Should I sanitize my hands? I wish I could hug my friends again. Is CERB going to continue? What would getting a new job look like? Could I even handle that? What would the city bus look like? Do I get on at the back? Will everyone else stay away? Its fucking exhausting. Maybe you relate to this, maybe you used to feel this way but now you’re used to it and it feels normal. Some days it does for me too, other days if I’m doing a new thing I worry and worry and fucking worry. Its not as though I’m choosing to worry about every minute detail that will probably be fine, my brain just runs and I try and notice it and reign it back in. So today, lets talk about it. Or I’ll write and you read (and maybe write in the comments what helps you/what you’ve been feeling)

Its safe to say we have been living in this space of unknown and change. We have never seen a pandemic like this, we have no idea what is going to happen and literally everything is different now. Therapy is via zoom, socializing is far apart, or online, we can’t hug people unless they’re our 10, we have to think a bunch of factors and possibilities that we didn’t have to before. This is just the tip of the iceberg too right? Whats changed at your work? School? Thankfully we have been able to find a new normal, a space to find solace and connection. We have been able to spend time resting, taking care of ourselves, learning to connect to ourselves and others in new and hopefully more full ways. We have taken this time (and continue to) to learn as much as we can about the experiences of BIPOC folx, inclusivity, history of white supremacy and racism, social justice, and really listen to voices of more and more people and experiences. There has been good in this time, but it doesn’t mean that its been easy.

I’m finding the transition to “regular life” difficult. Suddenly more of my time is spoken for, and the world around me is moving on, am I ready to as well? How can I keep a hold of my new practices and habits that I have loved while doing this transition?

Here are a few things that I noticed/started while staying home for a few months:

-I feel more myself when I am creative in a variety of ways. I started painting, crafting, practising piano more (have dropped the ball on this in the last couple weeks), writing more (but have been really digging writing for myself as opposed to blogging. I’m challenging this now and making space to blog more, don’t ya worry)

– I feel more grounded and happier even when I am learning new things (I downloaded an app called Elevate which has some math, reading and writing games, and used Duolingo *not sponsored by either or anyone*)

-my body feels its best when I move regularly, and not the way I used to think! I used to just think of it like yoga, weight training, and a cardio machine/running all of which I love. But I also love hiking, dancing, walking, doing a more intuitive practice combining yoga, weight training, and mobility training. Every day what feels best is different. Some days I stretch for ten minutes, some days I spend half the day doing a combo of a bunch of things and thats okay!! Its a pandemic, some days we need more rest.

-Therapy is important, and something I fully believe every person should do.

So those are just a couple of things, and maybe something resonated with you, or maybe you noticed your own things. I would actually really love to hear about things you noticed! Comment below what types of practices or hobbies or whatever you started or were reminded of that make you feel good!

My therapist has also helped me a lot, I’m just going to share a couple things that I’ve found really helpful for myself. Check in with your body! Sometimes he asks “Are you in your body right now? Can you feel your body right now?” If I’m not sometimes he will ask me to stand up and move a bit, bend my knees, shift my weight on my feet. Or put my hands on my thighs and really feel my legs, maybe tapping or sweeping my hands over my legs and arms. Another way of grounding and bringing yourself back to present we practice is noticing the room around me. What colours do I see? What shapes? Any smells? What is on the wall, the floor, the shelf?

My yoga practice has helped a lot too (there will be a whole blog on this next!) mainly the mindfulness and breathing practices. But also this practice of asking myself “What would feel really good in my body right now? What would feel nourishing/comforting/energizing/relaxing?” listening to what comes up, and honouring it. Sometimes its ice cream, or salad, or walking, or sleeping…the list continues but our bodies are smart as fuck and if we practice checking in even in little ways, big changes can come from that. Little side story: I’ve been giving some of these cues in my yoga classes lately, and I spoke to one person after class and they shared that it was uncomfortable at first they just wanted to be told what to do, but then they took a breath and softened into it and realized how important it was to approach our bodies and movement with that intention. All this to say is we spend the majority of our day/lives thinking about what we SHOULD do, or what is asked of us, what our boss wants, what our friends want, what our family needs, what our kids need, how we should move, we have lots of preconceived notions, ideas and expectations in our brains at any given moment. It can be uncomfortable to spend time noticing what we want, what we need, what our bodies need, but ooo it is such a powerful, empowering practice. A practice that if we start in small ways, like do we want to sway our torso in a forward fold, or stay still, can translate off our mat, like do I want to spend my time with this person who brings up such and such feelings? It strengthens our relationship to ourselves. Try it! *try it more than once!

I guess what I am saying is check in with your body/mind/heart/spirit. Notice how the things you fill your time with make you feel, and if you find a few things that really fill your cup, energize you or comfort you, try to make them a priority in some way or another. Use this new normal, this new beginning and change to challenge the ways you care for yourself, and how you show up in the world. What can you do to feel really truly yourself, and to take care of yourself more fully? Also be kind and empathetic towards yourself, this shit is hard and there is no one way through it, and not only that there will be hard days. That is okay. Hard days don’t have to be classified as ‘bad days’ but days where you need a little extra love, or comfort, days you can practice taking care of yourself. Breathe deeply, take a little bit of time each day to fill your lungs with breath. When you breathe with your diaphragm your belly will move, your sides and back will move, allow that to happen. You might count your breath in and out, try lengthening and slowing down your exhale. Be vulnerable, talk about your feelings to someone who feels safe, and who has the space to listen and help. Being vulnerable helps foster connection and it has a way of bringing us closer together, as well as closer to ourselves.

Thanks for tuning in folx, I appreciate you taking the time. Some things coming up: a blog all about yoga and mental health as well as an announcement, a blog checking in after 3 year no contact with my abusers. If there are things you want to learn about, hear about please don’t hesitate to reach out. As you may know there are no real limits on topics, I really want to create a safe space to talk about anything. My intention as always is to increase awareness, decrease stigma; to be honest, vulnerable and open in effort to help as many folx as I can.

If you have any questions, feedback or wanna talk you might comment, email me, or DM me on social media @brutallyhonestborderline on insta and facebook.

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Thank you! Lots of love

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