I have anxiety. There, I said it. People tell me I don't, people want me not to, but regardless of anything: I have anxiety and that's OK. I have panic attacks sometimes where I cannot catch my own breath, I get so anxious to the point where I get red blotches on my face or arms when I'm nervous, I go through plenty of the horrible things that are associated with anxiety. Recently, I have been busier than normal which naturally is taking a toll on my anxiety. I am balancing working anywhere from 25-35 hours a week at my job, taking 4 college courses and trying to keep my GPA above a 3.7, I am writing for two websites right now which is awesome since I am passionate about writing, I am organizing this amazing week-long bible camp for 100+ kids at my parish this coming summer and not to sound crazy, but I'm also trying to keep a somewhat-normal relationship with my boyfriend, friends, and family. It's been crazy to say the least. But hey, that's life- right? And I'd never, ever want to give up anything on my huge to-do list because I love it all so much (besides working in retail, but that is still slightly tolerable) so therefore I really can't afford to allow anxiety to control me because I'm nowhere near ready to give up my busy, fantastic life. So who's with me? Who is ready to continue living regardless of panic attacks, anxieties, and any other road block getting in the way of your life? You may be saying me, me, me, me!! But oh, how I wish it was truly that easy and I can just fix your problems. I'm not a medical professional so I cannot help you rid yourself completely of anxiety but what I can do is share some of my personal tips for tackling stressful situations.
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I am infamous for being overwhelmed and saying "but EVERYTHING is due today!" when in reality, I would like to get everything done in one day but not everything on my list is actually due in that same day. My first tip when you are feeling completely in over your head is to make a list and prioritize what is necessary on your list to be done ASAP and find a few things that can maybe wait a little bit. This will ease your mind because you will see on actual paper that the entire world is not demanding you today, it's really only a few things.
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I'm a sucker for a really good planner book. I love being organized and writing everything down, especially when it comes to my college assignments. Get yourself a great planner and actually write everything down, whether it's a date with your bestie or a really important 20 page paper: jot it down. You will A. feel less stressed because you won't have to remember every assignment or event in your mind and B. be able to see what's happening down the road and be prepared rather than rushing to work to find out you missed the big meeting. I also enjoy planning things out because then I feel like I have some control over the situation, even when I really do not. My anxiety is linked to wanting control so planning gives me a taste of that.
Then, be pro-active.
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Get your stuff done and don't procrastinate! Chances are if everything feels like it is piling up, it probably is. Schedule time for yourself to sit down and take care of a few things. Even if you have to set aside ten minutes of each day to call your mom, pay your bills and feed your dog, just be pro-active about it. Living with anxiety is a hard feat but taking care of your to-do list will ease the feeling that everything and everyone is calling for your help.
Next Up: eliminate anything that you can.
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Can you skip being in charge of that major final project in class? Can you possibly take a long-weekend from work and do something fun? Whatever it may be, make sure everything you are doing is what you want to be doing, not something you have to do. I tend to stress myself out by setting incredibly high standards for myself and if you are like me, this tip is really important. Eliminating anything from your plate that is not 100% crucial is a step in the right direction from feeling overwhelmed. You can still want to save the world, you just can't do it all in one day.
Finally, take time for yourself.
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When you are overwhelmed and overspent, it can seem impossible to have time for yourself. But guess what? it is actually a possibility, if you allow it to be. Because I am encouraging you to plan out your life, this means you have control over your schedule which will allow you to plot out some time for yourself as well. It's never selfish to save some time during the day or week to get your nails done, watch your favorite TV show, go shopping or anything that makes your heart happy. In this life, you only get one body and one soul and it's your job to take care of it regardless of your busy schedule. Remember that you can in fact handle this crazy life filled with stress, especially if you plan for it.