Fun fact: anxiety can be paralysing. Especially when you add depression to the mix.
Take today, for example. I planned to zip through my list of Monday tasks, conquer my inbox, impress two potential copywriting clients on the phone, and cook dinner. And that’s on top of my usual daily routine of exercise, meditation, reading, and time in nature.
Instead of zipping, I was zapped. Hit by anxiety and PMS depression, I was frozen. As a result, I got through about 30% of my to-do list. And that can be hugely frustrating when you’re a type A personality!
It happens to almost of all of us who struggle with mental health. It’s not weird, it’s not abnormal. It’s just a delightful part of our experience with a murky mind.
But, lovely worry warriors, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to get through the darkness. To melt the ice away. So you can still get on with your day.
Step 1: accept it
Today was tough. Do I like the fact that I shuffled through, feeling uninspired and gloomy? Heck no!
But instead of hating and blaming myself like I used to, I embraced my ‘stuckness’. I accepted it as a part of my self, and welcomed it in. I nurtured it, comforting it as though it were a little girl (a little me) needing cuddles and a safe space.
I closed my laptop, went out for a walk, and had a little private chat with my mind. I said, “I know you don’t feel great, and you just want to curl up in bed and forget about everything. You’ll get through it. Just trust me.”
When I got home, I didn’t hide under the duvet (although I really wanted to!) Instead, I moved on to step two…
Step 2: do something
The trouble with a paralysing mind is that it gets worse if you do nothing. The longer you’re stuck, the harder it is to get unstuck. Mmm yes, it’s a vicious little cycle.
So, the trick is to do just one small thing at a time.
It might be making yourself a healthy smoothie or salad (nurturing your body, even when your mind couldn’t give a toss).
It could be sending one email. Making one phone call. Washing the dishes. Writing one page. The idea is to whittle down your overwhelming list of tasks (which, let’s face it, you probably aren’t going to do today anyway) and keep it super simple.
That way, you’ll still feel like you were productive, even if you just got half or even 10% of your stuff done.
Me? I committed to my Daily Warrior Routine (exercise, meditation, healthy eating, reading, and time in nature). I somehow made those phone calls to potential clients (whether I smashed them or not is another story). And I cooked THREE meals, while Stranger Things 2 played in the background. Oh, and I wrote this blog post. Hurrah!
Not bad. Not bad at all.
So warrior, next time you’re stuck and feeling paralysed by anxiety and/or depression, just try these two steps:
Do something small
And remember that tomorrow is a new day. A fresh chance to start again and pick up where you left off. So if you need to step down for a day to rest and recover, gift it to yourself. After all, compassion and forgiveness are KEY to making friends with your mind.