Let’s Talk: Balancing Anxiety and Boss Moves
We all have some everyday things that make us anxious, and that’s normal. For me, it’s things like small enclosed spaces or packed crowds where you are touching everyone around you. Many times, these everyday anxieties can be anticipated, avoided, or managed. But what about events we may have little to no control over?
Times of change or transition can send the anxiety spiraling through the roof. For the past seven months, I’ve been having these seemingly random moments of high anxiety that may be better categorized as panic attacks. They begin with racing thoughts, then my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my chest, and things just spiral from there. I would have constant thoughts of feeling trapped or thinking something bad is going to happen to me. This happened while driving in downtown Chicago, driving underground in Chicago, sleeping in New York, and a few other places. I had no idea what was going on because this had never happened before – not even in situations where I would normally feel anxious. So these moments happening in places and situations that had never made me anxious scared me. And what made me even more worried and anxious was wondering when or if this was going to happen again.
I needed to better understand where this energy was coming from and why it was affecting me now. I began to listen to different podcasts about anxiety, learn more about what I was experiencing, consult with my counselor friends, and talke to a counselor personally a few times. All of this resulted in me understanding this: Anxiety may come when you are making boss moves.
See, the past year of my life has been a year of change and amazing opportunities with a lot on my plate. I’ve basically taken everything that I have been used to and turned life upside down to grow and truly do the things I am passionate about. But change takes energy, and this energy of removing yourself from your comfort zone can often manifest as anxiety. When you’re making changes to grow and better yourself, change can be confusing. It can feel threatening. It can cause worry. It can make you feel as if you are not in control. And change can feel uncomfortable.
One of the podcasts I listened to talked about how we can get a “high” from doing things we are used to and comfortable with, encouraging us to maintain our own status quo. So when change is happening in our lives, our brains are being rewired and this can lead to discomfort and anxiety.
So while making boss moves and doing amazing things in our lives is great, change is still change. But just because anxiety may be present, that does not mean something bad is going to happen. Instead, it may mean something amazing is going on and you are heading in the right direction.
Keep going. But tend to your mental health when needed. Ask questions, learn, and talk to someone. Besides these things, I took a couple of other steps to balance the anxiety with the boss changes I was making. I started to incorporate more mindfulness into my life. I needed time to relax, unwind, and let my brain breathe. One of the most helpful things I did was create an “anxiety card” that I keep on me. Doing this was honestly something I completely made up, but in the moment, I need reminders because when the thoughts start racing, it is hard to think rationally and logically. On the card, I wrote the most helpful things for me to remember if I feel anxious. Some of the things included are:
Be where you are, not where the anxiety wants to take you. Be present.
Be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to change your thoughts because they will pass.
Trust yourself. Trust the anxiety won’t hurt you.
Surrender and let go of needing certainty.
“I am having a worried thought. This is anxiety and that’s okay.”
“Anxiety is not dangerous, it’s just uncomfortable. I am fine.”
Helpful Tip: One of my favorite mental health podcasts is “Cleaning Up The Mental Mess with Dr. Caroline Leaf.” Episodes 73, 79, and 80 are ones I have listened to about anxiety.
Are the boss moves you’re making affecting your mental health? If so, how will you seek help to continue in the right direction? Are there helpful things you could write down to help you in the moment?