Anxiety is this looming ever-present feeling that impacts us all differently. To some, it is debilitating, to the point where they don’t want to see anyone or do anything. Others try to constantly work to keep themselves busy; essentially keeping anxiety at bay until(and if) a moment of relief comes. It’s even with us in bed as we desperately attempt to shut our minds off and sleep. It can cause us to lack being present during gatherings, ignoring our friends and being lost in the madness of it, and even make some of us into ticking time bombs. No one is safe from it.
For me, it’s a constant fear and worry about not being good enough and being seen. It affects me so deeply that I don’t act upon the things I’m learning or share my thoughts. Essentially, it stops me from the storyteller I want to be.
I’m currently looking for jobs in a new city, which the covid 19 pandemic has added a layer of difficulty. To fund my adventures around this new city( and to just get by, for that matter), I’m doing food deliveries, much like many others who are struggling during this time.
The job is a gamble since there’s no guarantee that you’ll even make minimum wage. It eats away at my sense of self-worth. Whenever I’m doing a delivery, my mind is continually reminding me that this is not what I should be doing.
When I’m not making deliveries, I’m looking for jobs, maintaining my physical health, familiarizing myself with adobe suite (Rush, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator), and spending time on Youtube learning about creative writing, graphic design, photography, and story structure. Adding to that is my 15-hour weekly commitment to a content analysis internship. I’m also a volunteer blogger at The Dopamine Flux.
It’s overwhelming, and at times it seems like my mind is on a highway with no exit ramp with no clear direction for where I want to go and very much worried about running out of gas. I feel like no matter how many tutorial videos I watch, I’m not progressing. Every soul-shattering rejection email is a testament to that. From time to time, I feel like I made a huge mistake in leaving the comfort of my old city. I occasionally even wonder whether I miss the chaotic but stable comfort of my previous job as a social worker.
Everything I do is directed towards paying my bills and self-development. If it is not in those categories, then I don’t do it. This self-imposed rule made it that I don’t allow myself to play videogames, watch a film, or read fiction simply because I have not earned the joy of escapism. During my younger years, those things worked for me, but not so much anymore. Things seem to have changed.
My family reminds me that I’m too hard on myself. My best friend calls weekly to keep my mind in check. She encourages me to breathe and take time for myself while sending me messages on my astrological signs and tarot readings.
These tarot readings keep me hopeful for the future. They remind me to stay focus. But, they also instruct me to look inwards and to allow myself to breathe. That the changes I want in my life will not materialize until I take care of myself.
It is remarkable how one gets spiritual when they are at their lowest. You look for encouragement anywhere you can get it.
I decided to take a personal day off to breathe. I started my day by doing some guided meditation via the Headspace app. Shutting out the world has been especially hard recently, but every inhale feels like a success.
Then I went grocery shopping for my family, which was a much more soothing experience. Since there was no time crunch, I allowed myself to explore every aisle to see what delicious inspiration for cooking would come to me. I ended up coming home to make a hearty chicken soup. While making broth, I decided to take the dogs for a walk. This was probably the only time-sensitive thing I did since I did not want to over-boil the chicken.
Yes- that can happen. Trust me, it ruins everything!!
For a large part of the day, I allowed my mind to explore other worlds by reading fiction and playing games. The evening was spent creating a mini-comic with my little cousin. We watched a how-to video on cartooning and compared our creations. Before the day was over, I permitted myself to do a childhood pastime: watch a movie.
Still, my mind persisted in reminding me of my upcoming bills or applying for jobs throughout the day. The thing about meditation is that it teaches you to focus. It helps push things aside in your mind and focus on the moment. My soul was at peace with how I was spending the day, which was to be mindful of the present.
Today, I woke up feeling a tad bit calmer. I took the dogs for a morning walk, and we even sunbathed in the park before heading home. My mind felt more focused and ready to start my duties.
Anxiety will look entirely different for you than it did for me. It does for everyone. I implore you to take some time for yourself. You may not have the benefit of a whole day off but find a small amount of time that you can dedicate to yourself. Whether it’s a day, an hour, or just 10 minutes, find time for yourself to stop. No one can make you do this, and no one will do it for you, so it takes some resolve, but trust me, it is not just worth it, it is necessary, and above all, you are worth it.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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