Getting through these challenges I've been faced with recently has forced me to be aware of how the things I do affect me.
I made a list of things that are calming or cathartic and that cause me anxiety. After ranking them, I was convinced that I was a nut. But being aware of things on my lists and making sure I do enough on the good side to balance out the things that are hard can be a struggle. Mostly because I often feel that doing things just for myself is selfish. However as I mentioned before I am realizing I have more and better quality of time and effort to give when I do take care of myself.
I have found 3 things that seem to be an absolute must for me recently.
The first is exercise. At the moment I notice a serious drop in my level to cope if I don't have at least 30 minutes or more of vigorous exercise each day. My outlook is better, my energy is better and I am more conscious of what I eat when I exercise. It provides me with natural endorphins and our good feeling brain chemicals. The Medication I've been on has helped get me more stable but even with it, I REQUIRE exercise. So this is something I am putting on my must do list.
The second is working on and singing difficult music. After spending the morning in a recording session with the choir, I made it through an entire scary car ride in the rain and also a night at Boondocks without taking the extra medication the doctor gave me for panic attacks and to help me sleep without agitation. Yes by the end of the Boondocks I was a bit frazzled and close to my limit but I made it and I attribute it to the mental challenge of working hard and focusing on music for an entire morning. I do not however get much in the way of a boost if the music isn't challenging or the pace of learning the music is too slow. I also still have trouble with solos, these were once a great asset to me and I believe that I can make them be that once again if I begin to take voice lessons again. As soon as I feel stable enough I plan to start looking for a part-time job and part of the money from said job will go to paying for voice lessons, and another portion to a college tuition fund. This way I can expand my mind and not feel guilty about it because the money will come from work I do and not our normal family budget.
I will get there.
The 3rd thing has been prayer. I have had many experiences with prayer over my life and many new ones recently. Daily communication with my Father in Heaven is essential and at times in my life I have forgotten it. I have been able to really look at how I pray and who I include in my prayers and this has helped to put me in a frame of mind to think of other's needs. I am truly humbled as I think about others and their struggles and successes. I feel more connected to them and it truly has an effect on my anxiety level around people.
Anyway. These are my 3 must haves. What are yours? Do you take time to enrich yourself and prop yourself up? I hope so.