Over the past year, I have been in graduate school online, working from home, and essentially living alone in my apartment. Despite the struggle of it all that everyone has endured, I had become accustomed to this way of life, filling my time with new things to read, hobbies to create, and other new trials of self-growth. This extra time came with its benefits and downfalls, and by the end of the spring I felt I was trying to make the best of it by painting, exercising, and trying new things.
At the beginning of March, I came across a TikTok that expressed that this account was going to do a 31 day journaling challenge with a new prompt everyday for the month. Since I have been wanting to get into journaling myself, I thought this would be a fun way to try it out.
While I have never been a huge on New Year resolutions, I do try to come up with new ways to start the year off in a way that helps me to become a better version of myself. For example, last year I set the small goal of flossing my teeth every night, which has now turned into a habit. Trying to focus on what I can control throughout the year has been a challenge through 2020, but it has also helped to remind me of all of the little things I can control.
The holiday season this year looks very different for everyone, and in particular there may be people like myself dealing with the first holiday season without a loved one. In February, my grandpa passed away. With the pandemic hitting shortly after, I have struggled to come to terms with the reality of it and believe at times I haven’t been able to fully grieve having not spent any real time with my grandma or spent time in their home without my grandpa there.
With the weather finally turning to colder, shorter days, I find myself more often scrolling on my phone aimlessly for hours. While social media can be a good outlet, I turn into a zombie after being on it for a while. I will sometimes then be in a funk the rest of the day, feeling very out of it and not wanting to do anything else that I wanted to originally get done that day.
Just this morning, I had one of the biggest exams of my time in school. Since I am in physical therapy school, this exam was a practical, in which I would be asked questions on the spot and have to answer and demonstrate techniques learned over the past year. Despite having studied hard and put in the work, my anxiety crept in. I had racing thoughts the night before such as “What if I didn’t study enough? What if I completely blank? What if I fail?” These thoughts are detrimental to myself, and I had the awareness to tell myself to stop thinking in this way.
I am in no way a business person, so when my close friends and family began to tell me that I should start selling my art, I felt less than capable to be able to sell my own products. To me, the idea of selling what I create provided anxiety about whether people would like it, whether they would think I was ridiculous, and whether people would actually buy things.
As someone with anxiety, I have learned, and maybe you have too, the tool to help you when you are feeling a panic attack. It is to think of five things you can see, four you can hear, three you can touch, two you can smell, (and one maybe taste). This act of bringing yourself to the present moment can be classified as grounding oneself. While very useful, I find that this is sometimes not enough.