It’s back to school time in California and good school deals are to be found everywhere. But believe me, as a mom with kids going back to school it’s really not that much of a good deal. There’s the schedule, no more endless summer days and who cares who wears what, or whether they wear anything at all. The lunch packing. What? I have to keep enough healthy food on hand for 3 picky kids that will stay fresh and fit in a lunch box?
But harder to deal with than those factors, is the anxiety.
My kids started school just yesterday, though it seems ages ago. My twin 5 year-old boys started for the first time. My 7 year-old daughter is an advanced learner and skipped a grade so she is younger and smaller than most of her class. Fodder all the way around for high anxiety.
Day 1 went well. Apparently a complete anomaly. Day 2 (today), the seams split wide open.
I think in the period of one hour this morning I had to break up 3 sibling fights, recover one of my daughter’s toy horses from the trash thrown away by a didn’t-know-how-to-express-his-real-emotions-five-year-old boy, give 3 time outs including one for myself, and repeatedly calm a crying 7 year-old Sarah Bernhardt in the making.
Anxiety. It can permeate everything in life if we let it.
For bloggers and other creative types, every project, every post, every interview, every professional talk, is an potential bed of anxiety – which at the very least can keep you from putting your best self out there. And at its worst can be paralyzing so you never even get your blog off the ground.
So, what’s a human being to do?
Whether you’re a blogger, a photographer, or a 5 year-old starting school for the first time, here are 10 anxiety reducing tips to bring a little Zen into your life and keep you going strong.
1. Nip anxiety in the bud
When you first feel anxiety building, do something about it right way. Pick one of the following tips, or an activity you enjoy but the trick is to not let anxiety build to such a point that you’re immobilized.
2. Take action
Busywork can be very healing. So as you face the anxiety of your first guest post, or interview, clean that house, put away your toys, or hoe your garden. Just do anything to keep yourself busy.
3. Sit and breathe
Sometimes just sitting down and taking deep breaths can change the whole situation. Anxiety causes us to breath shallowly so you can counteract some of the negative build by simple breathing from your diaphragm very deeply.
4. Help someone
A sure fire way to reduce your stress is to help someone in need. So, if you’re feeling the panic set in prior to an important blogging interview, do something nice for someone else.
5. Talk it out
If you’re a kid, this one is tough as they tend to try and pound it out. But if you’re anywhere over the age of 10, you should be able to get enough of a grip on yourself to call someone and talk about your fears. Have them help you start an action plan so you know exactly where you’re going to start once you’re done talking.
6. Exercise it out
Whatever your preferred exercise, do it. It’s hard to jog and be stressed at the same time. I’m thinking if I’d only engaged my kids in a game of freeze tag this morning would have gone much better.
If you’re stressed about posting, write practice posts then throw them away. If you’re stressed about an interview, recruit a friend to do a pretend one with you. And if you have kids who are stressed about starting school, then play school with them before hand.
8. Keep it simple
The longer you stress about writing the post, the harder it’s going to be. So just plan on writing a few sentences. There is no law that says you have to write long posts. Post a mini-post instead. Or go to school and focus on making just one new friend.
9. Start early
Don’t wait until the last minute. Get up, pack those lunches, start your post weeks ahead of time, or get going on whatever it is you have to do. Waiting until the last minute creates even more pressure which adds to your anxiety.
10. Do the simplest stuff first
Start with what you know well, and tackle that first. This builds your confidence which makes it easier to go for the more difficult tasks. This is true no matter your age. So, if your expertise is writing that concluding paragraph, then tackle that first and work backwards.
New situations create anxiety in human beings of all ages, probably because it’s a throwback to not knowing if some predator is around that new unknown corner waiting to eat us. So, embrace anxiety as a well-meaning signal, but don’t let it stop you from writing that killer post, starting your blog, giving that awesome interview, or walking into school for the first time knowing not only that this too shall pass, but that you might actually begin to enjoy it.
How do you combat anxiety? Post it here! Would love to hear your tips and experiences.
photo by Lel4nd