Many people are struggling with their mental and emotional health now more than ever. I am no exception. I haven’t written in a long time trying to make sense out of all the stress and worry. Then I realized, it makes little sense. I further realized, after hearing from so many people about their struggles, that I’m not the only one. So I thought if I shared my feelings of anxiety it may, in a small way help others to not feel alone. If I can help even one person, then my writing means something. It fulfills my purpose. So today, I will allow myself to be vulnerable, hoping some of you will feel like it validates your own torment.
I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for weeks now. Okay, truth be told, months. I have been emotional, worried and stressed. I glanced through my personal journal today and for far too long I’ve sounded like a broken record. Almost every entry is about worrying, feeling unsafe, physically feeling ill, depression, anxiety, self-doubt and fear. That’s just awful. How sad that my life has been so consumed with negativity. What’s even worse, after talking to friends, reading other blogs, and online posts, I am not alone. It’s terrible to say, but knowing other people are having the same struggles is a relief. Please don’t misunderstand, I want no one to feel bad, scared and filled with anxiety. But as I’m sure you can understand, when my feelings are like so many, it validates my concerns and then I don’t feel so alone in this mess. All the mental and emotional issues causes me to not sleep well at night, which just leaves me cranky and exhausted the next day. Then I get little accomplished which leads me to beat myself up because I haven’t accomplished my goals for the day. It’s a frustrating, vicious cycle that has ultimately brought me to major self-reflection and sharing my feelings today. I lack confidence, questioning every decision I’m about to make. I feel afraid to go in public some days in fear of getting sick. I worry incessantly about my children’s health. I question my response to a work email, overly cautious not to offend or insult someone. I doubt my own ability to work, write, teach or homeschool my daughter. I second guess my appearance, trying on 3 or 4 outfits before leaving the house and then wonder if my husband is mad at me for having to wait for so long. UGH!!! Ew… who is this person?! Am I crazy?! That’s the ‘old Gina’. She hasn’t been around for a very long time. I don’t like her. She makes me sad. I’ve worked diligently for years to get rid of that insecure girl.
So, the self-reflection began and ‘the work’ ensued once more.
First, I had to recognize what was going on with my thoughts and feelings. The world is crazy right now. Living during a pandemic, so much hate, crime and turmoil affects our emotions, our stability, our sense of well-being. So I had to begin with forgiving myself for the regression. I gave myself the grace, understanding and compassion I give to others. A wise person once said, ‘treat yourself like you would treat your best friend’. I would never yell at, disgrace, shame or put down another person. I will not do it to myself anymore. Self-love is key!
Second, I needed to relinquish control. Yes, fellow control freaks, let it go. I’m right there with ya. I like to control as much of what happens in my life as possible. Truth be told, we gotta let that stuff go. My mind went to the Serenity Prayer… “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” You may not be the praying kind, but lately many are that were not before. If you’d rather, meditation and positive mantras will help. Whatever it takes for you to find your inner peace and calm in the chaos of life.
Finally, I needed a plan of action! What can I do to feel good, even great about myself again? How can I regain my confidence in a world with no guarantees? What works for me may not work for you. The solution is very personal to each of us as we are all different. I’ll tell you what I do and maybe you’ll use some of these and add your own to suit your life. I started with doing the things that make my soul happy. For me, that’s journaling in the morning, praying and getting in a great workout! It sets a positive tone for the entire day. Then I love to do fun activites and play with my daughter, write and enjoy my family. They are activities that make me feel good about myself and it’s what I CAN control! When I take care of myself, I can take better care of my family. Remember, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” I do my best to do good for other people. I practice acts of kindness and pay it forward when good is done for me. It’s amazing how good I feel when I can do something that pleases or helps another person, expecting nothing in return.
Self-care is essential. Doing what makes your heart happy is crucial to your own well-being. Prayer and mediation provides calm and a sense of peace. Taking good care of and enjoying your family, helping others and doing your best day to day keeps your mental-emotional health in balance. Hang in there friends. Be kind to yourself and others. Go ahead… live your best life.