Let’s catch up!! So, we successfully relaunched, celebrated Taylor’s birthday, released our first shirt, hosted our first TALK IT OUT THRUSDAY, and made some new connections by way of social media!! All these are great things to celebrate! We have been busy, but we are super excited about what’s to come!
The month of February brings about a ton of emotions and over the past 6 years I’ve attempted to figure out exactly what those moments would look like for me and how I wanted to handle her birthday. To be honest, I dreaded her birthday and a lot of times, I didn’t make plans on purpose. Not because I forgot, but because I could not fathom the thought of not having Taylor there. And this is probably where I should’ve stopped and felt okay with it. But no, I saw the pain everyone else was feeling and decided that I had to do something. I had to be a fixer. (We’ll get to why this was awful later). So, I put my feelings aside and did what I thought was best. But what I later learned is that this was only a trigger to my anxiety and created so much stress for myself.
Often times we get so caught up in the appearance of things that we allow the POTENTIAL thoughts of others to consume our ACTUAL thoughts and eventually make decisions that aren't always in the best interest of ourselves. This is a behavior that if it goes unchecked can have an adverse effect on your mental health. While this isn't something that I immediately realized, it was something that over the years I allowed to happen and it wasn't until the past 2 years that I realized this was a damaging behavior to myself and was creating more stress for myself. Once realizing these behaviors and pointing them out, it doesn't mean that you can always eliminate the stressor, but you are in complete control of how you handle the stress. I'll share a few things that I do that helped me cope in these moments. And these things may not work for everyone, but I challenge you to find healthy outlets and work on being a healthier and better you.
First thing, SET BOUNDARIES!!!
This can come off as offensive to those around you who you have always been available to. It may hurt in the beginning, but if they truly love you, they will allow you the space that you need to heal and realize that it isn't necessarily against them, but for the betterment of you. And if I'm being completely honest, I am STILL working on this!
What do boundaries look like?
Not answering the phone
Not being readily available
Saying no (and learning to be okay with that no)
Create healthy boundaries that allow you to be in a better place. Because above all else, a healthy you is required in life.
This doesn't have to be done in an actual journal, it really is a preference thing. The note section in your phone is a great place to jot down your thoughts! But use this tool to get your thoughts out. Especially things that you may not feel comfortable telling other people. Things that you are afraid will have others looking at you crazy, write it out here!! These are your thoughts and you aren't obligated to share them unless you want to!
Journaling comes easy for me because I'm better expressing myself on paper. I like to attribute that to my Mom lol. When I would get in trouble as a child, she would make me write a paper on what I did, why I did it, and how I planned to keep myself from getting in trouble in the future lol (she still has some that I wrote).
What does journaling look like?
Write about random things until you feel at peace or the anxiety leaving
Specific prompts (there are a lot of places online that can provide journaling prompts)
Write a letter to issue or the person that is causing the anxiety/stress. (DO NOT SEND IT TO THEM)
Writing out a prayer and asking for the tools that you need in this journey of healing and coping
Allow journaling to be an outlet for you that will allow you to declutter and work through all that goes through your head.
I know, I know!!!! THERAPY can be a taboo issue, especially in my community. But we have to break that stigma. We have to be able to get the help that we need to allow us to thrive. Therapy isn't a bad place, don't think of it as a place where you just go air your family's dirty laundry. But think of it as a place where you can go and receive understanding, accountability, and an unbiased pair of eyes. Your therapist will not have feelings concerning anyone outside of you and your wellbeing. And because that is the case, your therapist will ALWAYS advocate for the best you and the healthiest you!
How to locate a therapist?
Employer EAP program- if your employer participates in this, it will give you a number of sessions free of charge to you. I would personally use these in the therapist hunting phase.
Insurance- you can check with your provider to find therapist in your area that are in your insurance network. There will likely be a charge, but that depends on how your coverage is set up and the rates the therapist has.
No insurance- There are places in the community that will offer free to low cost therapy. If you are needing help locating those, reach out and we can help to get you pointed in the right direction.
Don't allow the stigma of therapy or what others think about therapy be the thing that keeps you from growing to the best you.
Anxiety and stress can come in many forms, it is up to us to choose if we will allow it to consume us or if we will become conquerers. And while this blog post may make it seem like this is as easy as 1, 2, 3, that is not the case. This will be an evolving process and one that will require constant work. The road to healing, wholeness, and peace isn't one that is easy, but once you receive these things, you will do everything to protect it.
It has taken me YEARS to achieve the peace that I have. Everyday hasn't been easy, but I am so glad that I started making moves and I hope that this will help you take steps to dealing with anxiety and stress and you take control of you in this new season!!