The first hour of my Monday morning is probably the worst hour of the week for me. When I finally get around to getting up I cannot help but start thinking about all the things I need to get done by the end of the week, some of which are tasks I had on my to do list last week. I start to feel overwhelmed by this list that just keeps growing. And then I start thinking about my future and worrying if I am never going to get the job I need when I leave University. Everything comes at me all at once in that hour : a relationship that is not going great, a large unpaid debt, my growing mountain of laundry…
Do you know the feeling?
Anxiety can creep in so easily and can paralyze us if we don’t learn to manage it.
Here are some thoughts on how to overcome anxiety:
1. Put your anxieties into words.
Getting our fears out in words is important for bringing out the internal dialogue. I have found that speaking to a friend helps me to process stuff and also makes me feel less isolated, I need to know that I’m not dealing with stuff on my own. It also helps bring perspective to the situation because they are not overcome with the emotion of it all. Journaling and talking out loud (yes!) helps too.
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, you may need to ask for help! By this I mean help in dealing with anxiety as well as practical help to get what you need to get done. If a task has become unmanageable, get some guidance or share the load with someone. As a Christian I believe in prayer and follow the Philipians 4v6 command to “make your requests known to God.”
2.Work hard and Rest.
These two need to go together. We need to practise a cycle of pushing ourselves to work hard and then resting as necessary. We should not fall too close to one extreme.
I’ve found that when I’m physically fatigued I’m more vulnerable to anxious thoughts and cannot handle the mental pressure. When I’ve been lazy I start feeling stuck and struggle to get back into my work, which makes me feel anxious. There is some discipline needed here, a topic I wrote about last week.
Do you ever take time to enjoy the fact that you got something done or do you quickly move on to the next thing you have to worry about? This is a sure way to stay demotivated. Learn the discipline of celebrating when you have done well, take some time out to reflect on how far you’ve come, particularly when you’re starting to feel anxiety about the future rising. When was the last time you wrote a list of what you were thankful for? Put that list next to your to do list. When I feel anxious I try and avoid negative people and make a point of spending time with encouraging people who celebrate me!
This week may you find peace that goes past your anxieties. Happy Monday!
Thank you for reading.