March Newsletter - Vol. 34
“Worry is like sitting in a rocking chair.
It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
- English proverb
What's in a Worry?
As editors and writers living in the 21st century, we live online. We are constantly connected to each other, which means news travels faster than ever. We’ve traded gossiping over fences for gossiping over oceans. With that, we spread worries.
Our challenge to you this month is to take a moment to look at your life. Taking your life completely out of the context of time and the world, what about your life is causing you concern right now? Maybe bills or a sick family member. Maybe your daughter’s grades or your son’s girlfriend. Or maybe nothing. Maybe your life is good and under control.
Next, take a look at what you’re worrying about. Are you worrying about those bad grades and bills, or are you worrying about climate change and viruses?
We would never suggest that you should stick your head in the sand and ignore things that have the potential to cause you harm, but when worry affects your daily life and health, we think it’s time to work on how you handle your worries.
(These tips are not intended to replace your doctor’s advice, techniques, or prescriptions. If you believe you have anxiety or another condition you think you should see a doctor about, please take this moment to call for an appointment.)
This is a fantastic way to get you out of your mind and back into your surroundings. Grounding can be done by choosing a single object and focusing on it completely: how it feels, how it smells, the reality of it. Grounding can be done by staying in one spot and finding five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. (As in, "I taste the cereal I had for breakfast," "I smell peaches from my child’s breakfast and my shampoo in my hair," "I hear my neighbor’s music, birds, and a lawnmower down the street," etc.)
Try visualizing your worries leaving you. I like to imagine a single worry. Then I imagine that worry is real and being packed into a tiny balloon inside my head. When I exhale, the balloon leaves my head and I watch it float away. Experiment with different exercises to see what works for you.
I know, I know, sweating is no fun. Packing up for the gym sucks, and who’s going to watch the kids? Plus, you already know exercise is good for you. So, rather than call it exercise, call it a treasure hunt. Take the kids with you, or leave them alone for fifteen minutes. Go outside and find the prettiest leaf on your block. Then find the prettiest flower on the next block. See if you can find the happiest tree or the crankiest driveway. Challenge yourself to really look at what’s around you and get some sunshine. If you don’t even break a sweat doing it, I won’t tell.
Sex is all kinds of happy making, amirite? Pick a day this week when your loved one is around and surprise them with a little something-something. Maybe you dress up a bit or do your hair the way they like. Maybe you try a new position or a new toy. Get your body all riled up and kicking out the good hormones. Most importantly, give yourself permission to really enjoy it and focus on it. The worries will be there later, if you really want them back. (If you don’t have a loved one, all the better! No need to worry about another person’s schedule. Don’t let it stop you from having sexy times!)
What kind of reading makes you feel good? Not “What kind of reading makes you feel productive?” or “What kind of reading makes you feel more educated?” What makes you feel GOOD? What makes you sigh with pleasure or laugh out loud or giggle in public without a care? Because that’s the book you should have in your hands. You’re allowed to set aside the news and pick up a novel.
Therapy is absolutely valid, and you don’t have to go for years to see benefits. If you’ve tried to get your worries under control and it’s not working, talk to a specialist. She may have some tips you haven’t thought of. Maybe you’re wrestling with an underlying issue you need help with and until you do, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. If you can’t get out to talk to someone, try Talkspace or 7 Cups of Tea.
7. Wash your hands.
If you’re worried abut a virus, this is one of the best things you can do. Even if you’re not worried about a virus, it’s a great thing to do anyway. Get some smell-pretty soap, get the water temperature just right, and enjoy the experience. Enjoy the way your senses respond to the feel of the warm water and the scent of the soap. Ground yourself, imagine the worries being washed away, and focus on the beauty of your precious life.
All of that said, the most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to de-stress or rebalance, so make sure you're doing what works for you, and don't forget to take some time to take stock and take care of yourself. You're worth it!
See you in April!