No amount of anxiety can change the future. No amount of regret can change the past.
How was your Valentine’s Day this year? I sincerely hope it was better than mine! See, I spent almost the entire day thinking I had skin cancer, all because of a message left on my voicemail that morning. It basically said that my biopsy results from earlier in the week were in (much faster than they anticipated), and that I needed to call them back to discuss the results and next steps.
I don’t know about you, but that message didn’t sound good to me at all. I did call the office back right away, but wasn’t able to speak with anyone until the very end of their workday. Talk about an anxiety filled day for me!
Thankfully, the news was actually good in that the mole in question was benign and I just needed to schedule a follow up appointment. That was it.
As a recovering perfectionist, I really wanted to explain to them how everything could have been handled in a kinder, gentler and more “perfect” way, but I refrained, as I was truly thankful, grateful and just wanted to leave things on a positive note.
Once I had my results, I also just wanted my heightened anxiety gone. But, as is common with anxiety, you can’t just wave a magic wand and have it disappear, even if it’s situational anxiety and the situation is cleared up.
When there’s a heightened level of distress attached to the anxiety, it tends to linger and stick around. It can also become part of other worries in your life, if you’re not careful and aware of this pattern.
There are many ways to lower your heightened distress and break the anxiety cycle itself, such as:
- Try distracting yourself- try focusing on other people, watching a show, reading a book, etc.
- Look for ways to emotionally connect with your loved ones- play a game with your kids, listen to your partner talk about their day, etc.
- Find someone who can actively listen to you talk about your difficult day such as your spouse, best friend, therapist, etc.
- Do something relaxing before bed- listen to a guided meditation, journal to help you better process your day, etc.
- Get a good night’s sleep- if you’ve had a draining day, try to start your bed time routine earlier than usual so you can get a sufficient amount sleep. Hopefully you’ll wake up feeling rested and refreshed the next morning.
- Self-care- focus on your normal self-care activities and add more if need be, such as a quiet mediation, mindfulness, exercise, stretching, etc.
- Allow yourself time and space to feel your feelings- what made you feel happy? Sad? Mad? Scared? Frustrated?
- Make plans with family or friends outside of the home- sometimes getting out and being social can help on so many levels.
- Find a daily mantra that’s helpful to you- Things will be fine. You’re strong. Be here now.
Over 24-hours later, and after doing the nine things listed above, I’m finally feeling back to myself again. It takes A LOT of work to break the anxiety cycle once it has started! It’s so very important to start this process early so the anxiety doesn’t spiral out of control and become something bigger such as panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behavior, etc.