I have the tendency to be an anxious person. When I was a little kid, I would get really bad stomach aches worry about school the next day. Did I get all my homework done? Did I forget something at school? Would I get a 100% on the text the next day? Did other kids like me? Was someone going to call me fat? Would anyone want to play with me? Was anyone going to make fun of my clothes? These thoughts went through my head over and over and over again. My mom would tell me I needed to calm down, stop worrying, or I was going to get an ulcer.
In high school my anxiety grew. I worried what people thought about my family. I worried that I wasn't the prettiest. I worried that I wasn't as smart as other people in my classes. I worried that I was a failure. I struggled with depression for most of high school.
I saw counselors and psychologists. I tried different medications.
And that continued on in college. And that continued on after college.
I finally got to a point where I was sick of hearing myself worry.
I got sick of hearing myself complain.
I got sick of hearing myself think up the worst possible thing that could happen.
I got sick of hearing myself freak out about everything.
I got sick of hearing myself say over and over that I was an worrisome person, that because I was previously diagnosed with depression and anxiety, that I would always be someone that struggled with anxiety and depression.
Here's what I have learned.
I have coached over 100 women. Women in careers, women with families, women trying to start families, women in college, women finishing college. Women. I have talked to hundreds and hundreds of women in the last 2 years of coaching.
Most of the women have struggled with anxiety at some point in their life.
We are not alone. We may think we are alone, but that's just because none of us talk about it, but truly, we are not alone.
Here's what else I have learned: we can overcome anxiety. It won't be perfect. It won't be a clean shot. We will have missteps. But we CAN do things about our anxiety instead of just accepting that this is the way things will always be.
When I look back on my time in high school, I remember the anxiety I had.
When I look back on my time in college, I remember the anxiety I had.
When I look back on my time after college, I remember the anxiety I had
When I am 70 years old, and I look back on my whole life, I don't want to think of my life as this sob story, this ball of anxiety, this helplessness.
I want to be the hero of my story.
I want to talk about how I overcame my challenges.
And how I helped other people overcome their challenges.
I don't want to say that I was anxious my whole life, and that was it, it is what it is, and life sucks, blah, blah, blah.
I want to say that I made the most of my life. That I learned to deal with my anxiety. That I still got a ton of shit done. That I still helped people. That I still left my mark on the world.
I can't leave my mark on the world when I let myself succumb to my anxiety.
All of this stems from the anxiety and helplessness I've felt since July.
When I look back on the last two months, I do not feel good about the progress I've made in my coaching business, this blog, my financial success, or even my marathon training. I have half-assed each of these, and my results show.
So here's the thing: I CAN pinpoint times where I did not succumb to my anxiety.
And the best thing I can do is go back to what I was doing during those times. (Teachers, you know how in Writing Workshop, you read a mentor text and then have the kids try to find out what it is that made that author successful? THIS is that.)
So the things I did that helped me not be anxious all the time:
1. Get up early. No complaining, no excuses. Get up and get shit done. In January, I followed the Miracle Morning system. I woke up before Paul, I read, I wrote goals and affirmations, I meditated. The Miracle Morning system helped me be less anxious because it helped me reflect on where I was and where I wanted to be and what I needed to do to get there. Tangible things instead of just always feeling anxious and like I had no grasp on anything. When you get up early, you have so much time before shit hits the fan to get stuff done. It doesn't matter if you are a morning person or not. You can become a morning person if you choose to. There is this crazy invention called an alarm clark where you set a time you want to get up, and then it wakes you up. Here's the thing though: you actually have to get up. You have to have made the choice to improve your life and do daily actions to improve your life. If you complain that you're not a morning person or that you always sleep through your alarm (I've totally been saying this and doing this) THEN IT DOESN'T WORK. So quit the excuse and complaints. Set your alarm for 30-60 minutes earlier. And get up tomorrow.
2. Exercise in the morning. Goes along with waking up early, right? I don't care what you say, exercise IS important. Moving your body IS important. It's the only one you have. Take care of it. Move your body in the morning so you get those endorphins, so you can check off that you were accomplished right away, and do it because who knows what is going to happen the rest of the day. At least you will know that you got your morning exercise in and you don't have to worry about it the rest of the day. Right? We are working on nixing the anxiety. Get this done right away so you do not sabotage yourself.
3. Eat good for you foods. When I eat crappy foods, I feel crappy all over. I feel tired, I lay in bed watching Netlfix, I scroll on Facebook, and then I don't get things done, and then I feel anxious because I didn't do the things I said I was going to do. When i eat crappy foods, my skin looks really bad, and then I feel anxious because people are looking at me and I do not look my best. When I eat crappy foods, I get anxious about money because I know I shouldn't have spent $30 on a crappy pizza or Chipotle when we are saving money for our wedding and for fun things in life. When I eat good for me foods, I feel energized and am actually physically able to get things done. I have the energy to exercise. I have the energy to wake up early. I have the energy to journal. I have the laser focus to get things done. (I nannied for a family who only fed their child whole foods. The mom was a nutritionist. When the child went to a birthday party and had cake, she came home with the sugar high and was really irritable. Seriously. Food can make or break our days.)
4. Say positive and helpful things to myself over and over. When I hear myself saying something mean, crappy, or unhelpful, catch myself before I repeat it over and over. Sometimes people think I mean that they have to deny their feelings about life. They think I am saying don't ever feel sad or angry, and that's NOT what I am saying. Like Jen Sincero says in "You Are a Badass," have your temper tantrum, but then pick up the pieces and move on with life instead of replaying things over and over and over again. What we say over and over again in our heads becomes our reality. If we say over and over again that we are bad at running, we will always be bad at running. If we say over and over again that we are anxious people and will always be, we will always be anxious people. If we say over and over again that we have no control when it comes to food, we will never have control when it comes to food. When we flip the switch and say, "I am a great runner! I love running! I overcome my challenges!" We do those things. When we say over and over again that we are calm and OKAY, we can learn to deal with our anxiety. Think about the message you tell yourself over and over again.
5. Read a new book every month. And I am not talking about fiction. Sure, fiction is fun. It really, really is. But if you are serious about improving your life, if you are serious about overcoming your anxiety, you need to read books about and by people who have done it and are doing it. If you want to improve, you need to immerse yourself in a culture that focuses on improvement. You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you spend a lot of time with a really successful author, you will become more like them, even if you never meet them in person! If you spend a lot of time watching The Real Housewives or TMZ or some other crazy reality show, you will become more like them. If you spend a lot of time reading "People Magazine" or "US WEEKLY" you will be hyper aware of people looking at you and you looking at other people. If you spend your time scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, you are probably going to be uber anxious comparing yourself to other people's lives! Make your third grade teacher proud, and use your reading skills to learn and better yourself. Better your life. A word about this: I work for two very wealthy families as their nanny. This morning, the first family had a subscription to "Entrepreneur Magazine." Guess what? The head of household is a very successful entrepreneur. Go figure. He continues to read about other entrepreneurs. As I type this blog, I am sitting at the second family's house. There is an issue of "Money Magazine" right next to me. Article titles include, "The Career Makeover Issue" and "Big New Changes for Retirement Savers" and "Negotiate a Raise!" This family is spending their time on learning about money in a good way instead of mindless things they could spend that time on. Get a really good magazine subscription to learn about what it is you want to get done. Or find a free podcast. Or sign up for a newsletter for a blog that helps you. Or get a really good book. I am ready The 5 Second Rule with my September Bootcamp. We are going to get shit done next month!
6. Be protective of your time, energy, and surroundings. Only give yourself to people who fill you up.
7. Journal. Write down your feelings. Yuck, right? But seriously. When you write things down, you can get to the cause of your anxiety. Is it people you are with? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it food related? Is it your living situation?
8. This is a big one. Rinse and repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Your anxiety is not going to go away in a day. It's not going to go away with the snap of your fingers. It takes times. But mostly it takes action. Action is what makes things happen. If you do a repeated behavior for 21 days, you will see a lot less anxiety. If you just wait 21 days without any action, you will not see a big change. You will probably feel even more anxious because you just wasted 21 days of your life doing nothing for you.
TAKE ACTION. Again and again and again.
Are you looking for support to conquer your anxiety and get shit DONE in 2017?
I have a 4 month Kick in the Butt Bootcamp starting September 1.
This is for you if you:
-had goals for 2017 and haven't completed them
-are sick of telling yourself self-limiting thoughts and sob stories over and over
-want to end this year feeling SUCCESSFUL and ready for 2018
-want to start 2018 WITHOUT a weight loss goal, meaning you achieved your weight loss goal in 2017
-need support setting up daily habits that you can repeat for life
-will make the time to read for 10 minutes a day or listen to a book on the way to work
-will make the time to grocery shop and meal prep on Sundays for 60 minutes
-will make the time to exercise 30 minutes every day
This is not a quick fix. This is not for people that are not ready for change. This is not for people that do not want to work hard.
This is for people that are ready to change their lives and want the support and accountability to do so.