Home Alone!

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I thought I’d enjoy it… BUT I HATE IT! No one home. No responsibility. Just me, myself, and I. The kiddos are at Grandma’s and Pop’s this week. Their cousins are in from Illinois and Mississippi, and they need to be able to spend time with them more than just a few hours every evening.

I miss them terribly! I miss the fighting. I miss the mess. I miss life as I know it. They are my life.

I have found that being home alone adds to my anxiety–a lot. I’ve been trying to pull my techniques from my “toolbox”, but it’s hard to remember them in the midst of a panic attack!

All of us have anxiety to some extent or another. Here are some ideas that work for me when my anxiety levels are high:

  1. Accept the fact that you are anxious.—Many people want to dismiss it. “I’m weak.” “I worry too much.” “I’m not trusting God enough!” Regardless of your excuses, you must simply accept the fact that anxiety is just a feeling. Everyone deals with it… some worse than others. It’s just a fact of life!
  1. Take a deep breath.— Deep breathing turns off your “fight or flight” and turns on the relaxation”. Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, said to “try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4 and repeat several times”.

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  1. Recognize that it’s just your brain playing tricks on you.—My anxiety is was working on me before I started writing. What if someone breaks into my house and kill me. What if I have a seizure while everyone’s gone and knock myself out and lay in a pool of blood until Matt gets home and finds me? What if… People who have anxiety can have severe chest pain and times, sending them to the hospital with the symptoms of a heart attack…I’ve been guilty! But they’re not having one. They’re not dying. It’s just their brain playing tricks on them.
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  1. Confront your thoughts—When anxiety hits, and my brain plays those tricks, making me think all these bad things are going to happen, I must question my thoughts.

Questions:

  • What are the possibilities of it actually happening? (in my case, probably zero to none 😊)
  • Could I deal with the situation is it does actually arise?
  • Is it a realistic worry?
  • With small anxieties, like “I’m going to mess up while I’m singing my special!”, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
  • Is it true? Do you just perceive that it is?

Challenge those thoughts!

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  1. Use grounding techniques.—
  • Find 5 things you can touch. Maybe a fuzzy blanket or a smooth, cold wall. Feel them.
  • Find 5 things you can hear. Maybe a bird outside the door or the wind blowing through the trees. Listen.
  • Find 5 things you can smell. Maybe a rose sitting on the counter or the smell of a new book. Smell them.
  • Find 5 things you can taste. Maybe lemon juice or the sweet tea in the fridge.
  • Find 5 things you can see. Maybe the toy in the middle of the floor or the full hamper in the corner… Yeah… Guilty again!
  1. Build yourself up.—“I can do this. I can overcome this anxiety!” Anxiety tells you the negative. Focus on the positive.
  1. Focus on the present.—Anxiety “thinks” on the future. Think about what’s happening now and hold onto that.
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  1. 3.  Visualize something calming.—I go to my “happy place”, which dwells only in my imagination. I see a tall waterfall. I feel cool mist splattering my face. I hear the roar of the water. I stand on the water’s edge. I smell the fragrances of Spring. I see a yellow butterfly with black tipped wings flutter by. I use this often. I used it during labor. I use it when I’m anxious… when I remember. 😊
  1. Think on activities that bring meaning to your life. Possibly the worst thing you can do is focus on those negative thoughts. This makes the anxiety stronger. Instead, focus on the things you enjoy doing. Playing with the kiddos, cooking, sketching, singing, and eating chocolate 😊 may be a few.

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  1. Pray! –This always tops my list! When I can’t do anything else, I can pray!

These are just a few things that help me. What are some of the things that help you? Grab your “toolbox” and pull some of those techniques out. Share them with us so we’ll have more “tools” too!

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