Weeding the garden: a method for anxiety

I’ve battled anxiety for most of my adult life. Most of you have too. I’m just sayin’. Science says 33 percent of us ladies have had an anxiety disorder in our lives. I say I don’t know a woman who doesn’t battle anxiety daily. Some days might shine brighter than others, but it’s something we all have in common. So, what do we do?

I want to give you my battle plan for anxiety. It’s called Weeding the Garden. Let’s imagine your brain is a beautiful garden. Accepting that your brain can be a beautiful garden is probably the first step. You see, I believe we can all be at peace. That we don’t have to walk around worried or scared or having a pit in our stomach. That doesn’t mean we’re always happy, but it does mean we can feel more settled, more peaceful, even when we’re not “happy.”

DOWNLOAD YOUR WEEDING THE GARDEN WORKSHEET

So, if your mind is a beautiful, peaceful garden, you have to maintain it, right? It doesn’t just stay beautiful! If you don’t work, weeds will take it over. I don’t know much about gardening, but I feel it’s safe to advise you should immediately pluck a weed as soon as you see it. Anxiety pops up into our lives like little weeds. It starts off small. Just a little nagging feeling. You might not even sense it. However, if you do not take care of it right away, it will grow. And it will get more and more out of control. Eventually, it will take over entirely. Weeding the garden simply means being intentional about noticing those small, nagging feelings and taking action against them. Quickly.

For example, I remember a day when I was feeling really heavy. Burdened. Anxious. I had several weeds sprout up at once: taxes, running a church group and not working out. (By the way, working out is a super-charged, mega weedkiller).

I’d started my own business the year before and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do my own taxes this year. But I’d procrastinated calling someone because I was dreading getting all my files together and seeing the potential tax damage.

I was excited to lead another church group, but this one was a couple’s group. I’d never led men before and I was feeling anxious about it. Intimidated even.

I’d not worked out yet so it was just sitting there on my to-do list. Our bodies are designed to expend energy. When we don’t, it’s like bottled up energy which, in my view, manifests in anxiety.

With all of these things looming, all of a sudden I felt very anxious. Like I wanted to curl into a ball. And this was small, everyday stuff. I mean, it has been worse and it will be again. But I know you can relate. Sometimes little things just add up and make you feel ugh. Like needing to call a friend back, getting to the post office, making a teacher appreciation gift or whether the pants you need to wear next week are going to fit. Of course, there are bigger things too. Like your mom’s test results, a kid getting hurt while on a trip away, debt looming, funding a new roof, layoffs at work.

There’s a lot of weeds out there y’all.

Here’s how you weed the garden. The moment you start feeling this way, get out your journal or a piece of paper. Divide the paper into three columns. In the first column, make a list of everything that is bothering you, of anything that is making you feel anxious. This will help you all by itself. Getting it out of your head will make you feel better. (In fact, I recommend brain dumping these things every night before bed.) Brain imaging research has shown that calling out and labeling negative emotions can help decrease those emotions and give your brain a jumpstart on solving them.

In the middle column, you’re going to write why the thing is bothering you. You will name the emotion while you’re at it. What is the root emotion that you’re feeling about the thing? In my examples, shame and fear were certainly in place.

In the third column of your paper, write down things you can actually do. In my examples, I could call the tax lady. I could gather my files. I could call back my community group leader that I’d been avoiding. I could read up about leading a couple’s group. I could talk to my husband and learn from him. I could work out for at least five minutes.
Sometimes it might seem like there is nothing you can do in a situation that is causing you anxiety. In those instances, pray (we talked about that earlier). Yet, in many situations, there are small actions we can take. Even if it’s texting your kid a message about how much you love them because you’re anxious they’re on a bus traveling for sports. Even if it’s a call to your sister to talk about how you’re feeling. Even if it’s researching the job market just in case. There’s probably something small you can do that will make you feel a little better. Why? Because:

Action is the antidote to anxiety. 

Action puts you in control. It puts you in charge. Another benefit to writing out these two lists is that it helps you see what you have control over and what you do not have control over. In our heads, it’s easy to get worked up. Looking at words on paper helps us to get a little more rational. Because we know it’s irrational to let things we cannot control our mood and therefore our lives. So, let’s get rational. Let’s get weeding.

Sunday planning: How + Worksheet

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a great day! On Sunday’s, I like to do alllll the planning for the week while I’m calm, relaxed and happy.

Before I sit down with my hubby for our marriage meeting, I get my own things in line. Want to take a peek at my plan? Maybe it will inspire your plan?


Schedule for the week:

  • 5am Wake, Bible, Pray, Journal
  • 6 – 6:30 Breakfast with hubby
  • 6:30 – 7:30 Breakfast / Kid prep / Clean house
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Coffee & relaxing time
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Kid bus / preschool drop off
  • 9:30 – 11 Workout / Shower
  • 11 – 12 Work
  • 12 – 1 Preschool pick up / errands
  • 1 – 4 Work
  • 4 – 4:30 Bus / Folders
  • 4:30 – 5 Dinner prep / House reset
  • 5 – 6 Family dinner / dishes

My schedule varies week to week quite often. And my evenings are always different based on clients / classes but I like to have a good base. This is what I call “mom blocking.” When I have the basics blocked like when I will get quiet time, workouts, housework, kiddo time and my work done then I can breathe and relax and get excited for the week!

When I’m doing my schedule, I also set the priorities for the week.

  • This week I have to get my vision board workshops completely planned out and I need to file business stuff at the county court.
  • I also need to get December’s budget completed.
  • I need to get my girl’s birthday party planned.

Whew! So, I’ve got those things scheduled in on my planner so they’ll actually GET DONE.


Food for the week:

This week’s food is brought to you by leftover turkey and end of the month creativity.

  • Monday everyone will eat turkey sandwiches for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll have zoodles and they’ll have turkey & dumplings.
  • Tuesday they will have leftover dumplings for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll make chicken fried (cauliflower) rice.
  • Wednesday I’ll have a shake and they’ll have leftover dumplings for lunch. For dinner, I’ll make salmon & spinach.
  • Thursday they’ll turkey cranberry salad and I’ll have a shake. Then we’ll all have leftover chicken fried rice for dinner (it’s a busy night).
  • Finally, Friday will bring wraps for lunch and pizza for dinner!

Workouts for the week:

Another thing I plan is my workouts. You may be following a program but I’m just following my heart. Right now that heart says:

  • Monday / Legs: 5k + 4 rounds of 25 squats, 25 squat jumps, 25 walking lunges, 25 lunge jumps, 25 deadlifts, 25 skater jumps + 21 Day Fix abs.
  • Tuesday / Arms: 5k + 10 inchworms + 3 Supersets + 21 day fix Abs.  3 rounds each superset, 20 reps each move. SS1: Plank push-ups & Curls. SS2: Side planks & Skullcrushers. SS3: Pike pushups & Curl to press.
  • Wednesday / Full body: 5K + PIYO.
  • Thursday / Chest, Back & Booty: 5k + 10 inchworms + 4 tabatas.  T1: Chest Press w/ Leg Raise & Snow Angels. T2: Superman w/ band & Push-ups w/ chest bump. T3: Pullovers in bridge & Banded bridge w/ butterfly. T4: Fire hydrant R & FH L w/ hold.
  • Friday / Full body: 5K + Ladder workout. 100 squats, 90 lunges, 70 Everests, 50 Pushups, 30 Triceps dips, 10 burpees, 30 Triceps dips, 50 Pushups, 70 Everests, 90 Lunges, 100 squats.

I want to give you a free tool to help you plan to have a FABULOUSLY FIT week! It’s my Sunday Planning sheet that focuses on your fitness journey.

Get the printable Sunday Planner here!


Join me!

How about you? I hope this post just inspires you to plan your own week. If not, just copy mine as best you can! =D

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in:

  • Vision board workshop. I will have one vision board class in person and one online.
  • Online health & fitness groups.
  • 1 on 1 coaching to help you achieve your goals!
  • You can also check out my How To Have An Awesome Marriage Meeting course for $5!

 

 

Be smarter than the elephant: don’t limit yourself

elephant_tied_with_rope
image from thoughtsforaday.com

When circus folk are training a small baby elephant, they tie a strong rope around their feet and attach the rope to a secure pole. Of course the baby elephants try to walk away and to break free. They’re small though. While they push and pull and try with all their might, they simply aren’t strong enough to break away.

The young elephant tries again and again, day after day. The babies fight for a while but eventually, they completely stop trying to break free. Eventually, they stop resisting. Eventually they give up on believing they can break free. This is when the trainers know they are ready. From then on, the elephant will associate that rope around their feet as something they aren’t strong enough to break free from.
Even as powerful adults, the elephant still makes that association. Though it could easily break free physically, it’s the elephant’s mind that convinces it otherwise.
The elephant does not realize how powerful it is. The limitations brought on by their past frame their beliefs as adults and therefore they never break free.
How about you? Is there something in your past that you allow to be true for you today even though you are stronger? Maybe you’ve grown since the last time you tried. In fact, maybe all of that struggle has brought you to the point today where you’re finally strong enough, once and for all, to break free.