A couple years ago, my 21-year-old daughter, Dakota, chose to live on her own while attending college nearby. She’s my youngest of three and had been itching to have her own apartment after her older brother and sister moved out on their own. Brandon is 25 living in the San Francisco area, Kristina is 24, just got married and bought her first house. They grow up fast!
I still find myself worrying about them quite often. The parenting never stops. At times I worry about Dakota, as she has struggled with anxiety since she was a young girl and occasionally, it starts to creep back in when she gets overwhelmed. Thankfully, she has learned some good coping skills to work her way through it.
Many of the coping skills she practices are the same skills I learned during my training to be a life coach and are the same skills I apply to my life and teach my clients.
For many years, I didn’t realize I suffered from severe anxiety. I just stuffed down my emotions and pretended I was okay on the outside, yet on the inside I was a hot mess. Having heart palpitations, sleepless nights, and at one point of my life, had exploratory surgery in my stomach so my Doctor could figure out what was causing me to double over in excruciating pain, for weeks!
After the surgery, my Doctor said, “whatever is going on, that’s stressing you out, get rid of it…let it go”. You are literally making yourself sick! There’s nothing wrong with you.
That was a long time ago. Thankfully, I now have the tools to manage my anxiety and teach others how to do so.
Right now, as we are living through a pandemic, we are all feeling waves of fear and anxiety. This is normal. It’s okay to not be okay.
Here are a few of the coping skills that I’ve found work well in managing worry, fear and anxiety;
1. Journal. Dealing with our emotions can be challenging when we’re coping with stress. Getting things out of your head and onto paper, helps get the stress out of your body. If you are really having a hard time, call a friend or family member. It’s okay not to be okay. Talking things through and writing your feelings down help get things out so you feel better. When you write down what’s making you feel anxious, stressed, and worried you can take a step back and look at different ways to manage the fear.
2. Gratitude. One of the best ways to get yourself out of feeling fearful is to write down in your journal what you are grateful for. Focusing on what’s right with you and your life will help you clearly see you have so much to focus on that is positive. Taking your thoughts to a state of gratitude will help you control your symptoms, your mood, and your overall stress level.
3. Self-care. Often times, self-care is thought of as an indulgence. Self-care is really any activity we do, intentionally, to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health and should be done on a daily basis. Especially when dealing with stress and anxiety.
· Create a “no” list, with things you know you no longer want to do because these things bring you down.
· Read a good book
· Learn new recipes
· Exercise or Take an online Yoga Class
· Go for long walks
· Get caught up with friends and family.
4. Get Creative. Another way to relieve stress and anxiety is to find a healthy way to express yourself through dance, painting, singing, get organized, clean, cook, whatever makes you feel good.
Yesterday, I called each of my kids to see how they are doing during this difficult time.
I was inspired by their positive attitudes and actions. Brandon is taking this time to learn new skills watching tutorials to grow his digital business. Kristina is enjoying some reprieve from her crazy work hours running her salon, is focusing on her health which has led to a new interest selling health products, and Dakota has been playing her guitar, writing songs, and continuing her online college classes.
During my conversation with Dakota, she said “Mom, I have been reading about the Italian Renaissance. Did you know, out of the bubonic plague came the Renaissance period, which produced some of the most beautiful art of all time?”
I did not know that! So, I looked it up…and it’s true!
The Bubonic Plague otherwise known as The Black Death (1347-1350) was a pandemic that devastated Italy. It not only shook the Italian society, it transformed it. Its impact was so profound, it resulted in social, economic, cultural and religious changes. The pandemic encouraged people to develop their talents and achieve excellence or virtue. The belief in the individual was central to the Renaissance and inspired many of the greatest artists, architects, sculptures, and writers, the world has ever seen.
After reading about the bubonic plague, I reflected on my entire life. Seriously, I did. Each and every time I have felt worried, fearful, and anxious, was during a time when I was experiencing major change or entering into unknown territory.
Through the fear, eventually came faith. And with faith, I realize I have always been and will always be more than okay.
Everything I need is within me.
I have the internal strength and power to get through anything.
Through the challenging times, I’ve always come out stronger, smarter, and better than before!
Because I grew and, in the process, I got to know more about who I am…
Through the pandemic we will find beauty…the beauty within us and that surrounds us.
Everything you need is within you
You have the internal strength and power to get through anything
Through this challenging time, you will come out stronger, smarter, and better than before!
You will grow and I hope…get to know who YOU are on a deeper level.
In gratitude for you,
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