April: Way Past Time for Self-Care

For those of you who follow me on social media, you’ll know I’ve been having kind of a rough year.

Last week, I had a severe anxiety flare-up. Through personal experience, I found out that throat constriction, which feels like anaphylactic shock or a swollen thyroid, is a common symptom of GAD. An on-call physician at a walk-in clinic pointed it out immediately.

Granted, the stress has been overwhelming the past couple months. “Just get through until this meeting,” I’d tell myself. “The only way out is through.” It worked right up until it didn’t.

As a result a combination of suboptimal coping mechanisms, my anxiety has risen like the tide, my weight is (ehem) much higher than at any point in my life, and I haven’t cooked anything other than scrambled eggs in about two months.

I had been planning on making April a month for downtime, but it turns out I really need to focus on self-care.

I’m pursuing some medical treatment, which I won’t go into here. But I’m also re-evaluating a lot of my habits and behaviors, as well as taking stock of my social obligations. So here’s an unsorted list of things I’ll be doing to help with my self-care:

  • Daily mindfulness practice.
  • Distancing myself from social media. In particular, I’ve signed off from Facebook and Twitter on all my devices, and I’ll only be checking my accounts for an hour each week.
  • 1 hour/day of moderate aerobic exercise. Walking, basically. I’m also taking time away from the mat, as I can’t even make it through class right now.
  • More time outdoors. There’s a lovely trail just outside the office that’s perfect for weekdays. I’m also making a list of local parks for my longer weekend hikes.
  • Focusing on vegetarian/pescatarian food. Not being particularly strict about this (anything more restrictive and I bounce back hard), but it should help bring my blood pressure down.
  • Bringing lunch 4 days/week and cooking at home as often as possible.

BTW, I won’t follow all of these strictly. Exercise is most important right now, both to address my fitness and lower my anxiety until I can get treatment.

I’m trying to find something to look forward to. Earlier this year, I was convinced that SUUSI would be a bad idea. And yet I really, really need to see those mountains. However, I’m keeping that contingent on my getting treatment, because then I would┬áhave a hard time again.

(Unrelated: I’m also growing a beard. Because if I’m going to focus on self-care this month, I get to determine how my facial hair looks.)