What does one do when they have a week off from work, and their husband's out of town? Well, friend, you get in touch with your inner self and gain some killer insight. Oh, and you get anxious!
It's crazy what you learn about yourself when you're alone with your thoughts for a solid week. Normally I'm a hit the ground running at 4 am kinda girl. My plate is typically full, and my mind is usually preoccupied with ideas or items that need checking off.
Well, when you take away work tasks and a hubby, you get a little bored, and when you get a little bored, you tend to think. At least that's how it is for me. What about you? I knew I wasn't alone! Anywho.
During that week, my thoughts began to run wild like a kiddo in Target. I found myself becoming increasingly anxious as the days went on. I reflected inward when I recognized my anxiety was starting to bubble up, and did a little insight shopping, and here is what I walked away with:
1. YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE THOUGHTS THAT POP IN YOUR HEAD
I had the wildest thoughts pop in my mind. I thought about Michael Meyers hiding in my house, waiting for me to turn off the lights and attack. I thought about losing loved ones and how horrible life would be if they were gone. I thought about my job and ruminated over work stressors. I thought a little bit more about Mr. Meyers hiding upstairs, and how he will probably pop out of the closet at the most opportune time.
All these thoughts helped me further confirm the realization that you can't control what pops into your wild imagination. Our brain is wired to keep us safe, so given the opportunity, it'll make sure you're aware of any potential dangers that could happen. The problem with this is that we are no longer cavewomen (and men), and big furry animals aren't trying to eat us.
If you can relate to being lost in your thoughts, I want you to practice grounding techniques. Do everything in your power to stay in the present moment and out of future-focused worries. If thoughts slip past you, into your conscious awareness, recognize them. Identify if there is any truth to the worry, and then let them go.
2. YOUR THOUGHTS NATURALLY IMAGINE THE WORST
Remember Michael Meyers? My mind thought for sure he was lurking in all the best hiding spots in my house.
Our amygdala is hardwired to keep us safe, and our cortex has the ability to imagine future problems and consequences. When these two show up for a play-date, it can be bad news bears for our anxiety. Was Mr. Meyers in my closet? Nope! But in case he was, my brain wanted to make sure I was prepared for him.
If you're in the same canoe as me when it comes to scary thoughts popping into your head, remind yourself that there is a play-date taking place in your mind. A play-date you weren't invited to but were left to clean up the mess. Be sure to belly breathe like a champ, move your body if you're feeling anxious, and allow the anxiety to wash over you as you float through the waves of anxiety. If you want to learn more about why anxiety occurs, be sure to click here.
3. PROCRASTINATION LEADS TO ANXIETY
Knowing I had nine days off, I intentionally made a to-do list a mile long. I had big goals and intentions for my upcoming week, and I was ready to get to work, or so I thought.
Procrastination hit me like a freight train. Maybe it was the universe telling me to sit down, relax, and do nothing?!? Who knows. All I know is I didn't accomplish a third of what I wanted to do. As the days passed, and my to-do list remained unchecked, I felt anxieties tight grip closing in on me.
Can you relate? If so, take a lesson from Nike, “Just Do It!”
Avoiding leads to increased thoughts and anxiety. Just do the dang thing, and spare yourself the suffocating response of anxiety.
4. I'M AN EARLY BIRD EXERCISER
Like I said above, I had the best intentions to exercise every day, but sometimes the best intentions don't manifest. I learned that if I don't get my booty to the gym first thing in the morning, it'll never happen. As the morning rolls on, I get lost in my tasks and lose the motivation to move my body. I make excuses for why I need to stay home and work, only to find myself mindlessly scrolling Instagram.
If life happens, and you know you won't move your body later in the day, lace up your shoes first thing in the morning and get to it. You won't regret it!
If you need a good reason to move your body, here you go!
5. I COULD NEVER LIVE ALONE
Seriously, I could never live alone. By day five of my husband being gone, I started to feel depressed. I found myself crying more than usual (could've been hormones, but who knows?!?), and I'm a crier, so that tells you something.
I'm an introvert and love me some alone time, but I found myself deeply missing connection. Not to mention, touch is my love language, and snuggles are my lifeline. Without those, I can become an emotional mess-case in point.
If you can sympathize, get a roomie or a strong social network. Connect with the ones who mean the world to you. Speaking for myself, if I lived alone, I think I would slowly isolate away and disconnect from the world. That's just me, though, and I want to make sure that never happens to you. Soooo, connect with your buddies, snuggle up with someone you love, or get a fur animal to keep you company.
6. OWNING A PET IS A MUST
Do you live alone? If you responded yes, get yourself a snuggle buddy in the form of a furry pet. If you're allergic to animals or your housing will not allow you to have one, head to your local Costco and buy one of the GIANT teddy bears they sell around the holidays. In all honesty, my dog was my lifeline while my husband was away. He listened to my stories and snuggled with me when I needed a hug (or maybe it was the other way around).
Moral of the story, you need a pet!
7. TO MUCH FREE TIME LEADS TO ANXIETY
I'm going to keep this one short, simple, and straight to the point. Too much downtime will result in anxiety. If you spend your days chilling on the couch, surfing the boob tube (that's TV in case you didn't know), you are not utilizing your mind. Your mind doesn't do well with boredom, so it'll inevitably entertain itself by conjuring up the most terrible what-if statements possible.
When you catch yourself feeling anxious, reflect inward, and become aware of how you are spending your time. Is your mind bored? You can also add these holistic approaches to your best life tool bag to help you improve your anxiety.
Also, don't get this post confused and think I am saying you need to be going 24/7. Rest is crucial; just don't become a sloth.
8. COURAGEOUSLY.U IS MY PASSION
A week away from the prison grind opened my mind to my hearts subtle screams. I love courageously.u, and I love helping you! This platform is where my heart resides, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending my week working on it.
When you find yourself wanting to spend your vacation working, you know you've found your passion.
If you're still with me after all my crazy insights, high-five!
You are the best!
If you allow yourself space and time to slow down and reflect inward, you'll be amazed at the insight you gain.