Three Ways to Calm Feelings of Anxiousness

Winter break was wonderful and exactly what I needed, but like many people, resuming my routine had its challenges.

I woke up the day before going back to work feeling great, and had a relaxing and semi-productive morning. But as the afternoon approached, I felt like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a funk I couldn’t snap out of. To be honest, I didn’t have much energy to try snapping out of it. I felt both overwhelmed with tasks to complete, but unable to make a move to do anything at all. Unlike the typical “Sunday Scaries”, a more pronounced cloud of pessimism and bitterness was hovering of me. I’m not a doctor or professional on mental health, but here are a few things they help me get my feet back on the ground, moving forward.

  1. Accept that I’m feeling low: It doesn’t feel productive at first, but I allow myself to sit with my emotions. You could call it wallowing, I guess. Sometimes I cry or get quiet, but giving respect even to my negative emotions is important and necessary for me before I take steps to feel better.

2. Tell someone how I’m feeling, and be specific: For me this would first be my husband, though he can always recognize I’m not feeling my best before I say anything, and then a close friend. Telling someone with a similar relationship with anxiety is the most helpful for me. I don’t always want or seek advice, but letting the words out is freeing. I try to share what is making me feel down, when it started, and how it’s affecting me in the moment.

3. Find something with positive memories associated with it: My anxiety is typically caused by my work as a teacher–frustrations, worries, self-doubt, exhaustion–but there are some go-tos that redirect those feelings into productive, inspired ones. I have a few books about writing and teaching writing that I’ve had since my first year in the classroom. The memories associated with these books helps me rediscover my identity and spark the belief that I can handle this career. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity by Penny Kittle, and Notice and Note by G.Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst are three of my safe places.

As always, thank you for reading and remember that you are never alone.

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