I’ll be the first admit it: I have a hard time relaxing. Ever.
You could stick me on a beach in paradise and I’d still be thinking: What if I forgot to lock my hotel door? What if I was supposed to do an assignment before I went on vacation? What if…?
This stream of worrying never shuts up.
Even when I’m hanging out with friends, I tend to be a little high-strung: I want to know all the details: where, when, how long and who’s going to be there. I’m detail-oriented, and that makes me great at getting the scoop in journalism, but as a person — sometimes it makes me a little depressed. It’s hard to admit that. I really enjoy making other people happy, and I tend to keep my worries inside. I’ve always thought — I can’t help it, I’m just a private person — and no one wants to know that I deal with this.
But part of the scary part of worrying yourself to death is the feeling that you are so alone. And truth is, you’re not. People struggle with worrying, anxiety and even depression all the time. Being alone couldn’t be further from the truth. But it’s easy to get wrapped up in this repetition of worries. At first, the worrying is relaxing, soothing, like a repeated prayer. As if repeating the words enough times will make your problem go away.
Worry smothers you, makes you less likely to reach out, makes you feel like you’ve lost your connection to others.
But that’s not true. It just appears to be true. And worrying about problems won’t make them go away — only your attitude can help you deal.
I have a hard time realizing the world won’t end if one new person shows up at a party — or someone who’s promised to show ditches instead. I have a hard time with standing my ground for fear that people will disagree with what I say (um, haters gonna hate anyway?!)
On the outside, I feel like I really have my life together, but on the inside, I struggle every day with worrying and trying to project happiness into my life.
It’s time for me to stop this. For real.
I’ve been a total control freak every day of my life, but it’s time to stop worrying and start living.
That’s why I’m beginning my own 40 Days of the Worry-Free Challenge. I’m going to identify exactly what is making me stressed, tackle it, and move on with my life. To hold myself accountable, I’m going to talk about it here. No filter. If I have a bad day, I’m not going to b.s. it — everyone has a bad day every so often, but we need to unite to cope with them. I don’t expect every day to be completely worry-free (after all, I’m trying to undo 21 years of social conditioning and anxiety here), but I do expect to be able to deal with it better at the end of this experiment.
Why the sudden change of heart? After all, I’ve managed to successfully live like this my whole life. Why now?
I finish my undergraduate college education at SUNY New Paltz on December 16th, 2014. This is exactly 40 days from now. I’ve heard it takes a month to form a habit — but just to be sure, I’ll do so for 40 days. There is no running from this — I’m always on the move, but doing something every day and actually (gasp!) talking about it openly and honestly is bound to make something happen.
I’m going to blog every day about stress management, my life and things I’m learning along the way. Taking care of yourself is such an important priority — but it’s never been my main one. Now, it has to be.
Mantra for Day 1: Just do it.
I’m taking a cue from Nike here. I tend to obsess over absolutely everything I’m doing. Eggs for breakfast? Maybe I should’ve had yogurt. Handed in the essay in Times New Roman 11.5 point font to fit within the page limit? Maybe I should’ve left it at 12, after all.
Seriously, it gets that silly. For a person who prides herself on her logic, my worries have no logic. In the long run, none of these things matter. Today, I’m focusing on not second-guessing myself and simply flying through my to-do list. Just do it.
I believe I can. I’ll report back tomorrow.
Stress less and smile more,