5 Tips for the Anxious Planner

title button 8-31-13

 

…the DIY life planner that is…

A few weeks ago I started this post but didn’t finish it.  In the spirit of commitment, I’ve finally finished it, with an update at the end.

Aug 7, 2013
This week has been one heck of a roller coaster.  We are on the cusp of H’s trip overseas and the recent events in the news had left me feeling more anxious than I’ve been in, well, ever.  I’ve never had that big of a problem when H had to go and do his thing in a third world state where likely danger was at every turn and I’d go days without hearing from him.  Heck, it meant not feeling obligated to do much of anything in the way of domestic duties.  The girls and I would watch Gilmore Girls every night and eat mini dinners that don’t require any cooking.  We’d lounge around and let the house slide a little.  Hey when the cat’s away the mice will play right?

This time, however, I’ve been really struggling.  I’ve been experiencing a level of fear I haven’t felt before and catastrophizing (thanks C for that handy dandy piece of vocabulary).  I’ve been overwhelmed with thoughts surrounding the worst outcome.  And it’s a dreadful feeling.

The worst part is I know internally that I’m being ridiculous.  The monologue inside my head goes something like this:  What if {enter horrifying catastrophic earth shattering scenario here} happens?  What would I do?  How would I cope?  Is there enough life insurance?  Should I keep the condo or sell it?  And then I plan (because I’m nothing else if not a planner):  I’ll keep the condo as a rental and live off the income.  I’ll move back to North Carolina or Colorado to be close to friends so the boys and I have a support system.  Or maybe I should go to Indiana or Chicago?  And then I start kicking myself:  What is wrong with you?!  Everything is going to be FINE!  Stop being so ridiculous!  Get over yourself already!  Followed by rationalization:  Well, I may be ridiculous, but at least I’m not oblivious.  It’s always good to be prepared.

Then, finally, I remind myself of our family mantra:  Everything Happens for a Reason!  

Now, I’m sure a lot of you out there are saying, “Hey, there’s a diagnosis for that!  It’s called Anxiety!”  I agree, I probably would be able to check all the little boxes on the anxiety questionnaire at the doc’s office- but remember I’m a DIY-er!  I’m a BIG proponent of sorting through your fears and learning about yourself in the process.  I firmly believe it’s the process that matters most- and without that process you cannot evolve as a person.  Nevertheless, I did ask my doc at my checkup a week ago and she said the defining factor is if your fear is seriously interfering with your day to day activities.  While I can admit to having some lack of focus (who wouldn’t in our situation?), I cannot say I’m incapable of performing every day tasks.  A close friend of mine, whose battled with this from time to time, said that I would know if I hit that wall- because I literally won’t be able to get out of bed to start the day.  I’m definitely not there and have no intentions of getting there!  I figure that I’m self analytical enough to prevent that from happening.  I’m also extremely self aware- and that is a huge difference between me and someone more oblivious.  She also said- knowing me quite well- to make sure I wasn’t trying to control the anxiety.  The more I tried to control and rationalize it, the worse it would get- which totally explained the repeating spiraling snowballing effect that had taken place all week.

So here’s what I’m doing:

1-  I’m going to stop trying to control the fear.  Instead I’m going to take ownership of it and acknowledge that it’s a natural thing to be feeling in our situation.

2- I’m going to practice yoga breathing and meditation more.  My days fly by so fast sometimes I can’t even tell you what happened on what day of the week.  Which leads me to the next point:

3- I’m going to {try} to live more in the moment.  I’m sure there’s some good scripture somewhere for this.  Maybe Abby can help me out with this one!  If I truly practice our mantra then at some point I need to stop worrying so much about 2 months, 2 years, 2 decades down the road, and I need to focus more on the here and now- so that I can perform at my best in the here and now.  I think this is a huge character trait/flaw that us planner types battle with.  If I don’t live more in the moment, then the here and now is going to fly by and I’m going to miss it!

4- I’m going to be more accepting of the here and now.  We’ve had our eyes on getting out of Nova at the earliest opportunity and we finally have it.  If all goes well, we will be leaving next June.  (There are some exciting things to come- just can’t chat about it yet- but hopefully Practical Happyness will be going on all sorts of new adventures!)  Obviously, I’m over the moon excited to move next year- and I want it to happen yesterday, and if I’m not careful, it’s very easy to get so cranky and bitter at the fact that I’m not getting my way right now, that the next year could be quite miserable for everyone around me.  It’s one thing to live in the moment, it’s an entirely other accomplishment to see the good in the moment even when you are not in the place you want to be.   Also, nothing is ever set in stone, and I need to keep that in mind, because if things fall through and we are sent on a different path, then it will be for a reason!

5- I’m going to take at least ten minutes every evening for myself- to enjoy a glass of wine or tea, sit in the quiet and reflect on the day.  I’m not going to blog surf or window shop on line until I’m too tired to think straight and then go to bed dreaming of DIY projects and that Eddie Bauer sweater I saw!  I think this will simply be good for the soul.

Still- I’m feeling unnerved about H’s trip- but at least I have some tools to cope, and this post to read and re-read to remind myself of my goals.

What do you do to ease your fears?

Love and Happyness to All!

~M

Update: 

So after all this, H’s trip got postponed at the last minute- and he is still home for now!  So- Everything does happen for a reason!  And maybe my fear and anxiety wasn’t all for naught- maybe my gut was telling me something.

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