Personal,  Wellness

Overcoming Anxiety – A Goal Oriented Approach

It would be nice if I could wave a magic wand and make my anxiety go away.  Actually, my son is pretty sure he is a wizard and healing spells seem to be his specialty, I bet if I asked him, he would try it.  Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no magic healing spell for anxiety.  However, I find that keeping goals helps me work to keep it under control (or it could make it worse, but for now I think it will help).  I have a lot of goals right now, and I think that writing them down publicly might help me keep my focus.  Some of these are goals that I would never admit to anyone that I needed to make.  But I am admitting it now.

1. Get over my fear of driving and get my license – This is probably one of my most embarrassing goals.  Hiding that goal from most people in my life seems to make it harder to achieve, so I am just going to come right out and say it.  I am 27 years old and don’t drive.  I get the actual mechanics of driving, and I’m not bad at it, but getting behind the wheel of a car sends me into instant panic mode.  This is a problem since I live in rural New Hampshire and driving really is pretty necessary out here.

2. Finish my thesis – The only thing standing between me and my Masters in Social Work is the completion of my thesis.  I completed all of the coursework and internships, but at the time was so overwhelmed trying to take care of Connor and make sure that he got the supports he needed (this was right as we were going through the diagnosis process), that I decided to enter post-residency for my thesis.  Now this is just another thing hanging over my head that I need to accomplish.  I actually was making pretty good progress, but then I became really sick during my pregnancy.  Then, the baby came three weeks earlier than expected, and now I am still working on figuring out how to make time while also taking care of a baby.

3. Lose weight – I gained a lot of weight during grad school.  I think it was a combination of the stress, and having Cal come back into our lives and cooking a lot (Cal is  great cook, but his food is not always healthy and his portion servings are huge).  I started grad school weighing 130 lbs, and finished weighing 200 lbs.  I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life.  I bought a fitbit and started focusing on eating healthier and being more active.  The weight started to come off, and then I became pregnant.  At the start of my pregnancy, I weighed 170 lbs.  Then the weight started packing on again.  I was around 218 lbs when Fiona was born.  As I write this post, I weigh 206 lbs.

I feel that being heavier increases my anxiety.  I am harsher on myself, I feel like I am being judged at every turn, and this all leads to anxiety about what everyone else thinks of me.  So, I am back to focusing on losing the weight and getting healthier again.  I have a new Fitbit Alta and am trying to be more mindful about my activity level and food choices. My goals are in three parts.  First, I need to get back under 200 pounds.  Then, I want to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 170 pounds.  Finally, I want to get down to 130 pounds, a weight where I feel happy and healthy.

4. Get organized – Being a stay-at-home mom, being organized is important.  This is something that I have been slacking on lately.  My house does not have a lot of storage space and it is easy to fall into a trap of piling things on a shelf in the corner and never getting around to putting it in a more neatly designated space.  It certainly doesn’t help that kids seem to accumulate things at an amazing rate, and at least Connor is not happy about parting with any of it.  So I want to become more organized and also cut down on the amount of clutter in our lives.

5. Make friends – It feels silly stating this as a goal, but making friends is something that I struggle with.  Social anxiety is a big part of my experience with anxiety.  It is easy for me to put up walls and keep people out, mainly because I am so afraid that I am going to do or say the wrong thing and people won’t like me.  Instead, I end up not letting anyone get close.  I am not sure quite how I will accomplish this goal.  I think baby steps are important.

Those are the big five goals that I want to start with.  I also generally just want to write more, starting with blogging for at least 30 minutes, four times a week.  Finally, in all that I do, I strive to be a better, more mindful parent and to help my kids grow into their true selves.