What do you do when stress and anxiety follow you?

I have to admit that today was not my best day. Work was rough, the kids were wild, and anxiety decided to follow me around all day. When measuring it on my Anxiety scale, it would rank at about a 4, which isn’t overly high but it is still uncomfortable. At one point in the day my eyes welled up with tears while I was working one on one with a student. Luckily, I have had that student for three years and he was very sweet about it. By the time I headed home my anxiety level had risen to a 6.

What I found most helpful in my anxious moments is distraction. I was at home so I decided to listen to my audiobook while I packed for my business trip (I am heading to a technology training tomorrow). I love listening to books so that helped decrease the anxiety. Also, I cuddled my pups, which is actually proven to lower stress levels, so I am going to cuddle even more now! Once I was finished packing I started a new tv series on Netflix to further distract from the anxiousness. I have to admit, it all helped a lot. I am sitting at about a 2 right now.

There is a large part of me that doesn’t want to go to work tomorrow because I want to avoid all stress triggers, but I love my students and they are why I continue to fight this battle against anxiety! I want to be there for them and help them discover the joy in learning! I am going to focus on the positive to keep the anxiety at bay.

What are your strategies for dealing with your anxiety or stress?

31 thoughts on “What do you do when stress and anxiety follow you?

  1. This may sound crazy, but one teacher of mine, used to have classical music in the background some days. I then wondered if it was to help him relax or focus on something. Another teacher, would have us stand up and stretch and shake and jump for a minute or two and then say “Everybody yawn”. It made everybody yawn, laugh and calm down. One english teacher, actually had the desks arranged in a circle and we would all sit and class felt more like a conversation…so she used the “closeness” as a tool to engage everyone and it sort of made everyone pay attention. She would always ask everyone at the end of the year and she would say that every year, everyone felt more calm in her class because of the circle. I thought so too. I don’t know if that could help you in any way, but I figured I’d tell you because those were my least stressful classes.

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  2. My strategy… Is very simple… I imagine my anxiety as “the puppet” which is for God only knows reasons stuck with me for life. I don’t fight it, i live with it, when “it” tries to take over my life, i just remind myself that im the “owner” of my body&soul not my “dear friend puppet”. It works for me. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks since the early childhood. I’ve been through very difficult moments. I’ve learnt different coping tactics; I’m aware what causes the attacks, but most important, I know myself and listen to my body and mind. I lead normal life, if you knew me, you wouldn’t tell that I have a problem. I’ve made peace with “my deamons” and instead of fighting them, I live with them. I have better and worse days, when the worse day comes I just slow down a little ( I’m a fairly busy and active person) reminding myself that I’m slightly different than others without anxiety 🙂

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  3. I am fortunate enough to be able to feel anxiety usually when there is a clear reason, where there would be something wrong if I didn’t. What has always been a problem is heights. I have tried climbing the less difficult mountains in Wales and Northern England but now just avoid them because they make me freeze with panic. Again, I am lucky I could. Anxiety that interferes with daily life is the worst.

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  4. When I have time I use writing. I have three headers, Feelings, Thoughts and Actions and I write what I am feeling at the time, identitfying emotions and different types of anxiety alone can help relieve the symptoms.
    For thoughts I write down exactly what I am thinking, what thoughts are creating these feelings. By identifying the thoughts you are then able to challenge them if they of the negative type. Eg “I am going to fail” I can then “correct” the thought or at least question it.
    And then actions, what’s did I do to alleviate the distress/anxiety, like did I use breathing techniques, a squishee ball, did I curl up into a ball and sob. Then I usually use the feelings title again and reevaluate how I feel. This can be a great tool to look back on and find out what techniques work best for you at what times. Also just the awareness of what is happening as well as the concentration can help to alleviate the symptoms.

    If I’m having a major anxiety attack, I will try distraction like you, breathing or some form of self soothing, like a favorite stuffed animal, essential oils, snack treat, etc. but breathing and space tend to get me through the worst, I count for 4 on the in breathe and Count for 6 on the out.

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  5. For me, medication was the only thing that worked. Having tried all sorts of breathing techniques and “self help” I just ran out of idea’s and I must admit I’m not overly happy being on so much Medication but I think (sorry for sounding morbid) it’s too late for me anyway.

    When the anxiety follows me, I take a pill. I sincerely wish there was another way but I’ve been on so many medications that I honestly ran out of ideas that didn’t involve Valium.

    In Aberdeen, I turned to alcohol which not only numbed the anxiety but made me more comfortable in my surroundings.

    Panic attacks and night terrors are awful so my advice would be to be open and if work is going to trigger negative thoughts you may be able to take a day off>

    Anyway, I wish you all the best and hope you get through this, it’s a bastard and very difficult but your writing shows how talented and intelligent you are, don’t give in.

    Andrew

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  6. The best use I come up with for my anxiety is to write about it. My anxiety usually happens when there’s something I need to say or do that I’m avoiding, so writing helps to lessen my fear about that thing. Otherwise I use anxiety about one thing to distract me from something completely different. Again, when I write about it, I can usually find the thing I’m distracting myself from and either dismiss it if it’s unimportant or act on it if it is important.

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  7. When the anxiety is right there, on my sleeve, I exercise. A bike ride, fast walk or a jog, and things level out considerably when I’m done. I’m no lover of exercise, and honestly I’m not fantastic at it, but I have really benefited from realizing at times that a good sweat is what I need to bring me down to a reasonable level. Hope your day is better!

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  8. Try exercising! I go to this Body and Soul cardio/strength training class twice a week, yoga once a week, and walk my dog all the time. Before doing these classes, when I was working, I would always take my dog out on long active walks (for exercise) and if you’re having problems with the thoughts still going through your head, pop in earphones and some upbeat music. I had to take some time off of work due to my panic attacks while not at work, just thinking about it- and now am not sure what to do. I, like you, love working with my ‘students’/residents at the nursing home, but am now faced with the question of ‘do I return to work?’ I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who can support me both financially and emotionally. I think I’ll go back to work, I’m definitely capable (held a position at the nursing home for 9 years) but now I’m just taking some time off. I went to a therapist who also told me about the journaling mentioned above, and that helps my mind get straight and helps me decide logically with my next move. Try concentrating on breathing- you can do it anywhere, its easy, free- that’s always a quick fix.

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  9. When I am dealing with a lot of stress, or an anxiety provoking event (such as a performance), I will often feel extremely wired for the whole day leading to the event. As much as it goes against my every impulse, I make myself sit down and meditate for ten minutes. That’s all it takes is ten minutes of slow, deep breathing and consciously releasing tension, and I am much much more prepared to handle the day. It takes so much self discipline, haha, especially under pressured situations. But when I set aside the time, my mind slows down and becomes a bit more logical about it all. I realize it’ll all be ok, and that instead of gaining a constant momentum of stress/anxious energy, I must make the conscious effort to balance myself with peace. We excitable-natured ones may have a tricky situation to juggle, but it’s nothing we can’t handle!

    Good luck with everything, I know how hard it can be sometimes! Much love!

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  10. I have a tendency to pick up new hobbies. The problem is when I’m pressed with a lot of serious deadlines, those are the moments I absolutely have to learn how to knit a new hat, make a new origami boat or read all the issues of Batman written by Len Wein. This very easily becomes more about avoidance than stress management and one of the biggest things I working on right now.

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  11. Distraction works for me too. One year I played hours and hours of World of War Craft to keep my mind busy. I was also taught to rate my anxiety on a 1-10 scale, it helps give you perspective on where you are.

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  12. Motorcycles. You both get to run away for awhile, and it’s very zen — you can’t carry baggage with you on a bike; you focus on what you’re doing or you may screw up. Even with insurance and maintenance, it’s cheaper than therapy and drugs.

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