The Sky is Falling…

Lately, it seems like I’ve been seeing a lot of anxiety in people, family members included. At times, I think I even need to throw myself into that mosh-pit.

I’m just going to apologize up front to the guys who check in on our blog. I’m about to use a ba-a-a-a-d word. Menopause. When I was menopausal, I was pretty lucky. I only had two symptoms to deal with. Hot flashes and anxiety. At least, I think that’s all I had to deal with, since my husband did not, as promised for years, go live in Tahiti without me for those years. 🙂

Anyhow, I remember that feeling of knowing, KNOWING everything was right in my world. But still waiting for the shoe to fall. For some disaster to strike. It was beyond my ability to cope with and I found myself drawing inward, chanting, meditating, anything to get through until the feeling ebbed. The one thing that helped me was, in fact, meditation. Hmmm, is it a Freudian slip that, as I typed meditation, it came out medication? 🙂 Seriously, though, I would find a comfortable chair, relax my neck (the tensest part of my body) and focus on my breathing, saying two words with the in and out of air.

In. Peace. Out. Calm.

It helped me get through those finite times when the anxiety was a strong force.  Recently, one of our bloggers, Tricia Jones, released a book about Yoga For Writers. It got me thinking about stress and anxiety and ways we can all try to cope with it. Yoga is one, although I’m one of the tightest people I know (so my physical therapist says). I’m not sure that’s the right option for me.

What other ways can we purge anxiety and stress? I thought I’d list some ways I’ve found here. And, if you have any additional suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

  • Exercise. A simple walk might be enough.
  • Focus on your breathing/meditate.
  • Accept it—ride the wave until it ebbs.
  • Visualization of calmer, happier moments.
  • Positive introspection.
  • Focus on a goal. It could be a project you started or something you’ve been putting off. Complete it.

It seems that the primary goal in each of these suggestions is to focus on one thing that is NOT the anxiety or stress. That’s interesting because I’ve been working with a close family member on just that. Don’t think about the thirty steps you need to complete to finish. Focus on one thing. Task #1. When that’s done, focus on task #2.

Hopefully, it will help. So, do you get bouts of anxiety? How do you cope? Got any tips for me? There are definitely times when I could use them.

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15 responses to “The Sky is Falling…

  1. These are good suggestions. Some gals have a tough time going through that phase of life. My wife and daughters have gone through it well.

    Maybe your post will help some gals facing that challenge.

  2. Ah, the dreaded ‘M’ word. Like you, I was very lucky and the only problem was night sweats – yuk!

    Sorry to hear some friends/family are going through anxious times, Laurie. I agree about breathing/meditation being a useful technique to calm and relax. One I use a lot which is similar to yours is: breathe in to a slow count of four and breathe out to a slow count of six. Don’t strain, just gently extend the exhalation so that it’s longer than the inhalation and keep your attention on the breathing/count. If you find your thoughts going off at a tangent, just gently bring the attention back to the breath.

    Another thing I find helps is to get out in the garden and dig. There’s something amazingly therapeutic about planting and generally working with the soil.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone else does to stay calm and relaxed 🙂

    • My husband loves to work in the garden. Now all we need is for the rain to stop pouring, eh? And I forgot about making the exhale longer than the inhale. Thanks for mentioning that.

  3. I rarely stress for long and usually fall right to sleep so I can use that if I get a bit overwhelmed. I find the take a small bite (break a big job into manageable projects) works for me. And, making lists so I don’t make a job bigger than it is which I seem to do at times. And, I try to get ahead of things whenever possible that way I can act instead of needing to react.

    • Yep. Focusing on one part of a project instead of the whole thing, makes it a lot more manageable. So I completely agree with you there. Adding that to my list. 🙂

  4. Luckily, I sailed through the dreaded “Change” with no symptoms, as did my mother. Best help for me to destress is walking and gardening and being out in the sunshine. I’m a calm gal by nature but sometimes things do get to me and then I find I sleep badly but have recently developed a self-hypnosis technique to help me enter dreamland and so far seems to be working. Am considering turning it into a small book in the hope it might help others. As for Tricia’s Yoga for Writers – it’s brilliant and the techniques work a treat. Must start doing more yoga again too. I’ve really no excuse.

    • It’s funny. Menopause was this big black spot on my future when I was in my 40’s, but it really wasn’t so bad, was it. Lol.
      I’m very lucky that I usually don’t have trouble sleeping. Not so, my husband. Might have to suggest that technique to him. 🙂

  5. No tips here. I wish I had some. I get anxiety periodically but I can’t say that I’ve found a solution- I’d like to kick the wall sometimes but I doubt that would help.

    No hot flashes here but I did (twice in the last two months) have an absolute panic attack and have to tear my sweater off in my office as it felt like my sleeves were choking me. At least I had a t-shirt in the building I could put on. LOL

    Hang in there!

    • No kicking walls, Jillian. That broken toe might take your mind off the anxiety, but it gives you a whole new set of problems. Lol. I had a bit of a meltdown just yesterday, but it wasn’t related to menopause, just life (and renovations we’re doing in our house). Decided to shut my computer down and pick up a paperback story I really wanted to finish. It helped a lot. 🙂 I have to remind myself to walk away from my computer more often, I think.

  6. Valerie J. Patterson

    My sanity comes in my writing. When the walls are closing in and the stress is too high, I write. It transports me and when I’m done, I feel better. Hope your loved ones find relief soon.

    • Oh, yeah. Writing is a great way to focus on something else. It’s almost a kind of hypnosis, don’t you think?

      • Valerie J. Patterson

        Absolutely! It has this wonderful way of taking you out of your life–out of the here and now–and dropping you into the wonderful concoction of your setting, your characters, and you begin to concentrate on them instead of yourself. Love it! I don’t know what I’d do without it! 😛

  7. I’m with you, Valerie. The writing keeps me sane. Although others might not think that as I’m having conversations with my characters. Lol

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