I know when I’m in this state. It’s quite obvious to me at this point. It’s not complete and utter despair. It’s more that little twitch of your eyelid. You know the one. The one that you can’t quite shake. The one you obsess over. The one that keeps you up at night. The thing you can’t quite put your finger on. That’s my definition of anxiety.
I can take one look at my hands and tell. See, I am a nail-bitter. Believe me, I know it’s a terrible habit. It’s even more of a bad habit in these uncertain times of COVID-19. The problem is I don’t even notice I’m doing it, or how short I may cut it in the moment. I find out quickly with the pain that comes with washing my hands, or making ginger shots and having the lemon juice slide into the gashes on my hands and fingers. When I’m more anxious than usual the biting increases. It’s almost as if I need to keep my self occupied at all times to feel sane.
Now I say all this not to cause alarm. I just want to normalize it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t work to fight it, it just means that I want to bring attention to its’ presence around us. It manifests itself within people you know. Maybe friends or family that you would never guess. People cope in many different ways. Some people have found great ways to cope, while others are struggling to counteract this anxious feeling with negative choices.
In this moment in my life I feel blessed. My family and I are well and we’re enjoying watching Knox grow up so fast. My job is awesome and we are diving into a new normal with our students. That doesn’t mean I can’t feel anxious. It happens more than I would like. I think this batch of it was brought on by the added stress of students on campus at school.
I was excited to see them on Monday, but I was also anxious. I was anxious for not knowing exactly how it would go. I was anxious to balance the students that are staying at a distance for school, and those sitting in the seats in front of me. I was anxious about sporting a mask all day, and ensuring that these great students followed our new norms. This is added to the natural stress of teaching. I love the profession, but there are days that it is tough. Tough to motivate your students, shoot tough to motivate yourself to be inspiring. That’s the pressure that I was feeling. I want to inspire more than before, but with the added uncertainty of it all. My hands have suffered.
I know that things will slowly feel more normal. I know that our students will get the hang of ensuring to clean the desks before they leave, and keep a safe distance from each other. I know I will figure out a routine that works best for me and my classroom. I know that I will inspire. I just want it to be now. That’s the anxiety.
If you are like me and deal with anxiety in any form, I would love to hear form you on things that help you cope in those moments. I will be doing the following four things to keep my mind and myself well.
Get More Fresh Air– This is one that seems rather simple, but I also know there have been times where I haven’t made it a point to step outside and enjoy the outdoors. There’s something about the fall weather that really calms me as well. I think it’s the cool air on a calm night. I love going for short walks with the dogs to help my brain reset. I also love to just sit and listen to music outside. Music is a language and it speaks loudly to me. I like taking it in at night when the hustle and bustle of the day have passed and I can just breathe again.
Limit Time On Your Device– This is one that I am trying to add to my routine as I know it will help. We all have our obsessions on our devices, mainly my phone. For me, it’s playing Clash Royale as well as sifting through sports news, primarily. The thing is, I can get lost in all of it. The time isn’t spent enjoying the day, it’s spent staring at a screen. After watching, The Social Dilemma , it hit me even more how important it is to PUT THE PHONE DOWN. Many of us find ourselves more disappointed after checking our social medias and the latest news. Try to find a different way to spend those 15 free minutes. Read a book, make some coffee, write down your days thoughts. Just pick something.
Record Your Thoughts– This is something that I have done through this blog. It has helped me write down some of my thoughts and feelings and help flush out bad thoughts. It also has been therapeutic to help others with their struggles. Now I’m not saying you have to start a blog, but you do have to keep your thoughts down somewhere. That could even be through an audio capture device where you can record your thoughts via voice notes. This is a great way to get your thoughts out in front of you and look at how you can better yourself. I would suggest leaving a small notebook by the side of your bed to start. You might be surprised what this practice brings to you.
Get Moving– I’ve already stressed how important moving in our lives is from a health standpoint, but it’s just as important from our mental health standpoint. I started moving more with my addition of running in April. I have just recently added lifting weights to my routine to increase my strength. I really enjoy lifting weights, as it lets me get a little anger and frustration out on some heavy objects, and it helps me release toxins from my body. Though there are times in the moment I hate it, I am ALWAYS glad I worked out at the end of it. This is a great way to get your mind off the worry and let out some grunts, or screams as you push up the weight.