Anxiety – dealing with the shoulds and coulds…

January is typically a difficult month for me with the extreme cold and with the very short daylight hours, I usually struggle with depression, anxiety, lack of physical activity, and a loss of motivation.

It has usually been my month to just hibernate if at all possible, and if not, just to get through it.

This year is no different. Maybe it’s because of COVID, but I feel I’ve been struggling with the lack of daylight hours more than I usually do.

My coworker and I tag each other to get up and walk, to do some steps inside the building we work in because it is too cold for each of us to go outside and enjoy walking like we would do in good weather. This motivates each of us to get moving at least a little bit during our days!

I admire people who are able to get outside during frigid temperatures to walk or do other activities, but I also recognize my physical limitations; having Chronic Shingles means the cold is a trigger for eruptions. While I’d love to push myself, the price I’d pay is 6 weeks of exhaustion and agony, so instead, I respect my limits.

I’ve learned that January is my month for focused self-care. This January has been no different in that need, but this year I’ve felt a resurgence of anxiety, wherein I had to look at my triggers.

My brother went to visit our mother earlier in the month, and while he was making the drive we chatted for a while on the phone. I found that conversation to be triggering, because we spoke about the events which led each of us to leave her home and seek sanctuary with our father, albeit a few months apart from each other.

I found I was triggered more than I usually get, and I’ve connected it to this time of the year when I typically struggle more.

I’ve found myself feeling anxious for no apparent reason. My stomach would be churning, my hands would get sweaty and I’d feel a headache coming on.

I recognized that I was in deeper need of kinder and gentler self-care than I have learned to regularly give myself.

Even when we’re working steadily on a good self-care plan, there’s going to be days or weeks where we need to give ourselves more grace to not accomplish so much, to just allow ourselves the time and the space our bodies and minds need!

This is the time to mindfully remove the “shoulds” and the “coulds” from our inner expectations, and just allow ourselves to flow gently within what we are able to do!

There’s no shame in doing less!

I’ve learned the hard way that respecting my limitations allows me to do more in the long run, because I’m not wiping out all my energy reserves, getting relapses, getting sick, then needing 6 weeks or more of recovery!

I’ve also removed the toxic people from my life who kept insisting that I “prove” to them – over and over, that I indeed have real health issues (mental health is included), and am not just LAZY!! Those were the people who judged me the most, and no matter how much I did or accomplished, it was never enough, for the line in the sand kept shifting!

Best decisions EVER to remove them from my life! No one needs that negative pressure!

Sometimes doing less is actually the much smarter thing to do!

We need to give ourselves PERMISSION to do what’s best for us, even if it falls short of other people’s expectations! After all, we’re the ones living in our shoes, and we’re the ones who have to live with the consequences of giving in to the negative pressures! (They’re also not going to be helping us get through the weeks it takes us to bounce back!)

During these times I recognize that I tire much more easily, struggle to feel healthy, am even more prone to getting sick, so I make sure to focus on taking even better care of myself than I normally do!

Instead of feeling guilty for what I’m NOT able to do during this time, I’m choosing to dig deeper into self-care this month!

Can I hear a Yes for “Jump into Self-care for January”?!!

Things I’m focusing on:

  • Paying attention to nutrition, especially adding dark green veggies to my meals! This care also means I don’t allow myself to get dehydrated or go without eating!!
  • Taking additional immune supplements
  • Drinking more tea with lemon
  • Getting to bed earlier; getting good sleep
  • Taking baths with Epsom salts and doing gentle stretches after
  • Trying to get some walking squeezed into my day by walking up and down flights of stairs and walking around the different floors
  • Paying attention to what I’m saying to myself, so that I’m speaking even more gently to myself
  • Doing things I find to be fun, not being afraid to say “NO!”
  • Trying to dance to music while I prepare my dinner, but some days I just forget to!

Already at the end of January, I’m seeing the days are getting incrementally longer, and I say Hurray! It’s still the time of extreme cold, so the nicer days are welcomed and blessed!

I’ve signed up to take a Flamenco dance class for beginners in February. I think that will definitely help boost me and get the juices flowing again in preparation for Spring!

What are some tips you have found to get yourself through the Blah month?

Read more:

Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?

A new you! Is this possible?

A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…

Your emotions: the quiet lazy River or the roller coaster?

10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness

Setting “Boundaries with consequences”

Healing Art… Does it Exist?

An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!

Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves is the best gift we can give ourselves!

5 Things to quit RIGHT NOW!

Baby steps serve a purpose to allow us to keep moving forward!

Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!

Always believe that wonderful things can happen!

Things are being worked out for the best!

By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!

Thank you for sharing this post and for following me!
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Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:

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14 thoughts on “Anxiety – dealing with the shoulds and coulds…

  1. You model so much strength in authenticity with your sharing. It is so important to acknowledge our patterns, our triggers and what we need in terms of time and space, and then truly make choices for our wellbeing. I have found I conserve so much energy by not fighting or judging myself for not wanting to be ‘productive’ with anything. With the empathic and sensitive tendencies, life gets digested at so many levels beyond most other people’s undersatnding, those around us. We need the rest, if we need the rest. Siblings are the hardest of triggering relations, in my experience as the ties go too deep. You take good care my friend, as I trust you are taking, brighter days are coming ahead. Sending you warmth, sunshine and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement and support! It speaks to my spirit deeply and helps nourish me! Your words of encouragement always come at the right moment! I understand about sibling relationships being triggering, I’ve experienced that too! We will get through these times and the experiences they give us! Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I so relate to your post, Tamara. And your point about “[admiring] people who are able to get outside during frigid temperatures to walk or do other activities…” made me feel so grateful that I can still do this. Because so much depends on walking, for me. But how lovely about your upcoming Flamenco dance classes! I wish you all the fun. 🙂 Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! That was one of the things I wanted to do “someday”, so when an ad popped up in my Facebook feed I realized I needed to stop putting it off! Bravo to you to be able to get out and walk! This is truly important to do for the spirit! Have a wonderful day!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I so need to add those dark green veggies to my plate. Thank you for the reminder!

    And the sleep item – boy doesn’t that make a world of difference? Thank you for the inspiration that comes from grounded knowledge! Sending you my best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure! Thanks so much! I’ve also been drinking bottled green juice I purchase, though I don’t mention it because it seems so disgusting to many and I want the list to appeal to more people as being doable!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve been trying different kinds to see which I prefer. When I first started I preferred the Green Goodness one which has more banana and is sweeter, but as I got used to it I find I can tolerate the others which have a stronger plant taste!!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Take good care of yourself and feel better, dear! I find that painting or crossstitch or any other artistic outlet helps me to feel better. Even cleaning counts! 😜


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