The brain is a strange thing

I survived. Actually, all the stress was of my own making, my mind playing tricks on me.

I left early for my date so I could take a very leisurely walk. And I even got there early. He arrived, we got drinks (non-alcoholic) and then we chatted for hours. And I wasn’t really nervous. He was very nice and easy to talk to.

Why did I put myself through such hell yesterday and today worrying?!

Maybe there will be a second date or maybe we will just be friends. The lesson is this: stay focused on the present and let what will be, be.

Thank you for your support and encouragement during my meltdown. xx

Advertisements

Self-Reflection

Another one of my yoga homework tasks is self-reflection. Ironically, I have so much yoga homework that I’ve done a lot less self-reflection than normal. (Another reason is also that I still have a house guest.)

But tonight I will blog and self-reflect. 🙂

Today was a chaotic day at work. My supervisor was really, really stressed. So much so that I felt I needed to keep reassuring her that things would be okay.

I have general anxiety disorder, but the thing is that I think I generally perform well in a “real” crisis. It’s like there is no time to worry, I just have to do things to get stuff done. Here is where perhaps my procrastination gave me good training. By leaving everything to the last minute (a habit I had long before it was worry-driven), I’m used to performing under fire. So I’m generally ok in crisis mode. Though I do usually crash afterwards.

But I can’t this time! Because not only is this project nearing the end, so is my yoga teacher training and I need to be fresh to start a new job too.

So I think that for my self-reflection homework over the next few days, I’ll periodically assess how I am doing. Am I running myself to the limit? Am I taking a daily walk at lunch for fresh air and space to keep myself centered? Can I keep my focus on things I can control? Can I keep my composure and generate a calming presence?

I’d like reflect on how I handle this stressful week. And I want to do periodic checkins with myself where I assess if I am becoming stressed and if I can take an action to help with that. Take deep breaths, go for a walk, whatever. I need to work hard but I also need to be compassionate to myself so that I’m not burnt out in time for my next challenge.

That’s the plan, anyway! We’ll see how it goes! 🙂

Back to running: Step one

This year, I really want to start running again. Before depression and injuries hit, I was able to run half marathons!

Today, I took the first step: I walked home from work on what was our first nice sunny spring day this year.

The walk was a brisk walk of thirty minutes, and a little less than 3 km. But it’s the first step for many reasons.

1) My biggest issue is always just getting out there and doing it. I love it when I do get out, but that is always a problem because I build it up to this big mountainous task in my head.

2) I never even got out my bike last summer, let alone ran, so this is the opportunity to scope things out, find the best paths and be inspired by all the other runners I see along the way. I think exposure will be key.

3) I’ve been doing lots of yoga but no other exercise. And you really do need to walk before you run. This was a good walk, and it had hills too! So it’s a good warm-up for my leg muscles.

Let’s hope today’s success inspires a second step! 🙂

The aftermath of stress

This week I put myself through a lot of stress. And it caught up with me today.

As I mentioned, I had to teach my first ever yoga class this weekend. I had to create my own lesson plan and then teach my fellow students.

I was really worried about not being good enough and so I procrastinated.

I felt really tired throughout the week and slept instead of preparing. In my mind, I think that was meant to be helpful, but really it was avoidance.

And the problem with avoidance is that it doesn’t make things better, it just leaves you with more worry and less time to address it.

So I was scrambling to prepare on the morning of my presentation, still changing my routine and not well practiced. I obsessed so much about timing that I didn’t take time to simply become comfortable with the routine.

After all that, my presentation went really well. It was a lot easier than I had made it out to be in my head. It was my routine and I chose the poses I was most comfortable with and that I liked the most. It was a natural program for me.

I received really good feedback. My routine was well structured and the poses went well with my goal. My voice was well heard at the back of the class. I had a soothing presence and calming voice. My instructions were easy to follow.

Where I have room for improvement relates directly to my worries and obsessions. I was so concerned about sticking to the schedule that I kept checking my notes to make sure I didn’t forget something and the timer to make sure I stayed within the time limits. And I was so concerned about showing and explaining poses that I didn’t spend a lot of time just watching my students. Basically I got caught up in my head.

I’m so glad to have completed my presentation. It showed that I can do this and have good instincts. I just have to work more on trusting myself and being present. Not just remind my students to arrive and leave their worries off the mat, but remind myself too!

I continued working in the evening after the full weekend of training because I have another yoga presentation in two weeks. So I didn’t allow myself the opportunity to really relax and decompress.

I noticed that my psoriasis was getting bad and that I was constantly scratching all weekend with my stress. So I took a warm bath and a scalp treatment. But today, all the stress still caught up with me. I was really jittery and exhausted all morning. It was hard to focus. I had a bigger coffee than normal to try to compensate, but it just made things worse. In the end, I had to take the afternoon off because I wasn’t functioning. I think this was also due to my stressing over the wait to hear the news on if I will get the new permanent job. I’ve been obsessively checking. I noticed an actual painful wound had developed on my leg from psoriasis, an extra big flag about stress as I normally only have psoriasis on my scalp.

So today I broke my perfect attendance.

I’m not happy about that, but I am compassionate about it. It’s the first time I’ve called in sick for either of my last two jobs. That is a record and one afternoon off doesn’t make me a failure. I just went off track with my worries and it caught up with my body.

This week, I think, will be about personal care. Trying to find balance so that I can do what I need to do without crumbling to stress.

I still have a headache now and my scalp is calling out for me to scratch it. I will be conscious but try to just move on while taking my new lessons to heart. Believe in myself. Stay in the moment. Worries don’t help anything and make things seem so much worse than they are.

Well, I don’t know if this post makes sense, but I’m glad to simply get my thoughts out of my head. Inhale, exhale.

Tests and anxiety

Today I had my language test. It was an oral exam and I’ve been procrastinating on it for five years since I always messed up in the interviews and was stressed that I’d do so again.

I passed! More than that, my evaluation was that I had near-native speaker abilities. 🙂

Just another example of how worry can be so harmful and unnecessary.

I’m so relieved!

Today: A 3/4 Failure

You could say it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I worried that I would spend the day in bed sleeping and procrastinating because I was worried. And that’s what I did.

I slept ALL day. Yes I was tired and sleeping in was justified, but this was above and beyond. Pure avoidance. I avoided the gym, I avoided yoga, and most of all I avoided working on the yoga class I am to teach and studying for my test later in the week. What productive actions!

I am so annoyed at myself.

But though I wasted 3/4 of the day, I did turn things around for the last quarter. I got out of bed, ordered takeout and did the cleaning I’d been procrastinating on all week. It took less than an hour and was well worth it. Not having to wade through a physical mess means less mental strain as well. I still avoided my yoga, but at least I took some steps to prepare for my test. It’s a language test, so I worked a bit on my old texts, but I don’t think that will be useful. So I watched a foreign film which I think is more productive, as it is my listening and oral skills that will be tested. I basically have to immerse myself in hearing the language for the next few days.

It’s now “bedtime” but I’m not really tired. (Ironically just as I wrote that I had a big yawn!) Nevertheless I’m going to bed now so that I can hopefully get back on track tomorrow.

Things to get through my thick skull:
-Procrastinating solves nothing and generates more stress
-Break things down! If I’m overwhelmed by a task, then take on a small piece of it and go from there.
-Remember the quote: “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
-What would make me feel good: knowing I put forward an honest effort in reaching my goals.

Taking Stock

1. I am stressed. I feel it building. My psoriasis is acting up. I need to address this. The reasons, I think, are financial, the pressures of my course and the general lack of long term stability in my life.

2. Tomorrow I have my first day off in weeks! Yay!

3. I readjusted my priorities this week, but as a result I succeeded in going to neither yoga nor the gym.

4. Though I have this weekend “off” I have important things to do: prepare my first yoga class and also prepare for a work-related test.

5. Allergies have been plaguing me this week. To the point where my colleagues are concerned. I think I am susceptible because I am run down.

6. I have perfect attendance at work and everyone is happy with my work. There were a few days this week where I didn’t want to go to work as I was run down, but I quickly overcame the temptation. This is a major improvement.

7. I’ve been trying to take care of myself this week and get more sleep, but I’m still frequently tired. I’ve relied on caffeine. Haven’t been able to watch a full movie.

8. I’m worried that I’ll go off track this weekend. Follow my old pattern of getting stressed and staying in bed and not doing anything productive to help with my assignments and my studying.

9. I’m afraid that I’m nearing the end of a job competition and may come to the point where I don’t get yet another job. I really need that feeling of security you get from a long term job with benefits.

10. I’m feeling guilty for being a financial burden on my parents now that new unexpected bills have cropped up.

11. I’m feeling close to people in my training program but like I’m losing touch with my friends.

12. I feel really fat and I’m frustrated that something is holding me back from going to the gym.

13. The tension in my jaws has been frequent this week.

14. I hope to stay/get back on track this weekend.

15. Daylight savings time begins this weekend. I’m not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep. But I’m really looking forward to there being sun later in the day. Bring on spring! I’m so done with snow and subzero temperatures!