Anxiety is a bitch. And I have been dealing with it a lot lately. In fact, I am feeling rather anxious this very minute as I write this post. Why? Because the words aren’t flowing out of me at lightening speeds the way they “should” be and a part of me hates the fact that I need to sit with my anxiety and get reacquainted with how it feels (when I have been having an awesome anxiety-free couple of days) in order to write this post with as much authenticity and honesty as it deserves. And whilst it is not a feeling I love to immerse myself in or remind myself of, I know deep down that it is necessary for me to communicate how it truly feels, in order to ensure that you, my loyal tribe, know exactly where I am coming from and why my words haven’t splashed across your screen in such a long while.
I have lived with a moderate level of anxiety for as long as I can remember. Growing up constantly pressuring myself into achieving things, and carrying the world on my shoulders, I have always been my biggest critic and own source of worry and panic. As a teen, my OCD was always a big fat pain in the ass, as I often found myself restless and panicked in bed if I didn’t check the lock on the front door three times with my right hand, and be sure to glance back at it again from the third step on my way up to my bedroom. Whenever I looked up into a light I had to immediately follow it with another two looks, because three was my magic number and any light source represented some form of higher power so it would be just plain rude and disrespectful not to. I know – Im weird! And whilst these obsessive and often disguisable acts have since exited my life and allowed me to soften my internal pressure somewhat, the anxiety that consumed me whenever I didn’t meet my magic number three or touch that lock, has stuck around and learnt to plague my livelihood in a number of other ways. Anything from music being too loud when I am trying to think, travelling on a local chicken bus with no toilet in sight, or being asked to do something whilst in the middle of something else – can totally set my heart racing, head spinning and anxiety sky rocketing, as I literally feel the cortisol spilling through my veins, and my chest tightening with every breath. As I said, it’s a bitch. And it’s incredibly bad for my health, I know.
But as with everything our body does and feels, there is always a reason and a clear message behind it. A signal that our body is trying to communicate in the only way it knows how. And when it comes to anxiety, it’s as simple as this.. You are not living in the present moment.
Anxiety feeds off you living in the future. Worrying about what might happen, anticipating was lies ahead, and failing to recognize the truth of what is happening here and now. Which is why deep breathing and meditation are such effective methods of dealing with anxiety, as is constantly reminding yourself to focus on the present moment. And these are the techniques that I have really tried to embrace over the last few years, especially in times of stress and moments of panic.
However, the last few weeks have pulled me deeper into this world and given me the drive to not only amp up my coping mechanisms, but be more proactive in preventing these bouts of debilitating anxiety and overwhelm in the first place. And for me, it has all come down to creating some pretty important boundaries.
Whilst I can quite easily sit here and think of ten things I could be doing right now to grow my business and be ‘killing it at life’ even more so; the thought of all those things nearly paralyses me, simply because I don’t have the mental, emotional or physical energy to deal with them right now. Why? Because I have failed to honour my own personal boundaries for too long. I have allowed myself to get swept up into the ‘busy’ mentality once again, constantly striving for more, more, more, and all the things that were meant to give me freedom and space like being my own boss, working from home and calling the shots, have left me feeling trapped, overwhelmed, anxious and lost, as I have used them to build unspeakable amounts of pressure upon myself whilst abusing many of their luxuries; like working until stupid hours of the night, constantly checking my phone and failing to uphold promises and commitments that I have made with the boss – i.e. myself.
I’ve ignored the early warning signs and gone against my gut feeling on a few occasions. I’ve glued myself to the screen when I know deep down I should be in bed. I’ve put others happiness and dreams before my own. And I’ve let my ego have right of way amongst all the other traffic going on in my head. All leading me right into a path of exhaustion, unease and a general yucky feeling.
So I decided to pull back from this space, and devote all my time to my loving clients. And that is all I was able to cope with for a while. Because I didn’t feel like I could really bring to the table what you needed, when my anxiety and overwhelm was consuming such a large portion of my energy. And it has been a slow process of surrendering to the ebbs and flows of life, and accepting that with each struggle is a divine lesson waiting to be learnt. And with that as my driver, I made the conscious decision to re-evaluate what boundaries I currently have in place in my life, and what needs to change. What is fuelling my anxiety, and what is freeing my mind. What is empowering me, and what is depleting me. And it has allowed me to get super dooper clear on what needs to change.
And at the heart of it all is… “Do less. Be More.”
I want to smell, see and hear the ocean each and every morning even if that means I will only achieve half of what I want to in the next year.
I want to enjoy weekends again – i.e. two full days a week where I don’t look at email or feel stuck to my computer.
I want to wake up feeling calm, centred and empowered to choose my activity for the day, instead of it being thrust upon me in the form of a long to do list.
I want to enjoy breakfast at a café, on a weekday, every week. Because I can.
I want to watch at least one sunset a week. With intention and a head full of dreams and aspirations.
Road trips must be a monthly occasion.
I want to cook more, laugh more, sleep more!
I want to view each and every thing I do as an opportunity to grow and evolve, and not a depleting, mindless task.
Because having it all, doing it all, seeing it all – is overrated. Simply being is where its at for me right now. Because I am enough. Just as I am. I am taking a break from ‘striving’ and lovingly allowing myself the space to simply ‘thrive’. Where I am right now, is perfect. All I have achieved, is enough. I deserve peace. I deserve a life free of anxiety and the endless self-imposed pressure. I deserve simplicity and spaciousness.
And whilst it may sound like a pretty easy, simple task to just back off and enjoy the silence, you can bet your bottom dollar that with it comes a whole new range of emotions (like guilt!). But that’s a blog post for another day!
Tell me, do you suffer from anxiety? OCD? What boundaries have you, or could you, put in place to help you prevent anxiety taking over your life? I can't wait to have this conversation with you in the comments below. And if this post resonated with you, please share it around with your friends using the share button below.