what to do when you’re scared out of your mind (my most vulnerable post yet)
And we’re back! The homebody in me has never been happier. As much as our trip to Hong Kong was a mega adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience, there’s nothing more wonderful than coming home to your cozy couch, a homemade green smoothie, and your own bed. Can I get an AMEN?
Shortly after we arrived home, I snuck a picture of Gena with our cat Gray. I think both of them were super happy we were home too.
Part of the reason I was so glad to be home is that when we were away, I felt super anxious a lot of the time. I couldn’t have felt more outside of my comfort zone. On most days, I experienced a panic attack – or two. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you can imagine how not fun that was. If you haven’t, just know that everyday I experienced very high levels of anxiety that often seemed to come “out of nowhere” and that felt very effortful to manage.
By the second day we were in China, instead of just getting all flustered and annoyed at what was happening, I decided to take a step back and ask myself WHY this was happening. Because after all, everything that happens to us carries with it a lesson, a blessing, or both. So instead of focusing all of my attention on my shallow breathing or my racing thoughts, I started to do some investigating. And the answer actually came to me pretty quickly.
Let’s rewind a few weeks for me to explain the answer. I was in Costa Rica with my Freedom Mastermind sisters for one of Nisha Moodley’s epic retreats. One of the exercises we did was to describe what we craved most in our lives. Then Nisha offered each of us an intention to carry with us moving forward. Mine? To feel more secure within myself.
AH yes, so of course I was experiencing all of this anxiety. This was the perfect opportunity for me to practice feeling more secure within myself and to show myself that, even in the throes of a panic attack, I can find security within myself. A challenge indeed, but such a blessing too. So I did just that. I did whatever I could think of to feel more secure and safer within myself, my body, and my circumstances.
Which then lead me to start thinking about how, whether you suffer from panic attacks or not, we all experience some level of anxiety as entrepreneurs. Whether around money (how am I going to pay next month’s rent?) or time (how is it 5pm already, and I’ve got nothing on my to-do list done!) or “competition” (she seems to be doing everything perfectly and I’m such a mess), fear seems to show up quite a lot for us entrepreneurs.
And when fear strikes, you often need a Mary Poppins bag full of resources to help you move forward. Because what happens a lot of the time to too many of us is that when fear strikes, we stop. We get stuck. We freak out. We go into overwhelm mode and don’t do anything about it. We just sit and stare and dwell on how stuck we feel. Now of course, we eventually get back up, dust off our yoga pants and move on with our business. But sometimes, we’ve waited so long that, in the meanwhile, we’ve missed opportunities, we’ve lost potential clients, and while we’re standing up again, we still feel pretty defeated.
Well, I say that it’s time for all of this to be part of your past! To help you, I’ve written a list of 10 things for you to do when you may find yourself in freak out mode yet again.
1. Tap it out. EFT (or Emotional Freedom Technique) has been a serious game changer for me. I’ve bought books on it, but the best resources I’ve found are online. My fav go-to EFT guru is Brad Yates. Just google him and whatever you want to work on, and he’ll have a video on it. AND if you don’t know what EFT is, here’s some more info on it.
2. Breathe it out. Ah, deep breathing. Works every time. You can’t take deep breaths AND feel anxiety at the same time. It’s scientifically impossible. Sit, close your eyes, and breathe until you feel more grounded and centered in yourself again.
3. Talk it out. Whether the talking is to your significant other, your best friend, your coach or your therapist, talking out what’s going on in your mind is so so helpful because you no longer feel like you’re carrying the burden of your anxiety alone. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I think it takes a village to take care of a person. Let people help you. We all need help, and “we” includes you.
4. Journal it out. I heart me some journals. I’ve been journalling since high school, so I’m going on a good 15 years or so of writing my feelings out on paper. For some people, this comes as second nature. For others, not so much. Either way, I invite you to explore adding this to your toolkit of calm and ease. Moving whatever is floating around in your head onto paper can truly do wonders.
5. App it out. I am obsessed with iPhone apps. Wildly obsessed. Why? Because there are so many good ones! In fact, I have a whole page on my iPhone JUST for relaxation/manifestation/meditation apps. No joke. Here’s a pic if you need any suggestions of which ones to download.
6. Walk it out. The power of a good walk. Getting outside and breathing in some fresh air is a quick and easy way for you to feel better fast. Grab your headphones, your fav playlist or podcast, and walk off all of that nervous energy.
7. Play it out. Do something fun! I recommend you write a fun list before your next moment of nervousness so that you already have some ideas in your back pocket. Doing something fun helps because it forces you to focus on something new. And distraction sometimes is the way to go when other things don’t seem to be working.
8. Hug it out. Have I told you yet about oxy hugs? So recently, Gena and I read somewhere that when a hug lasts over 20 seconds, it releases oxytocin in both you and the other person. So now, we make it a point to give each other oxy hugs multiple times a day. Among many other things, oxytocin reduces stress and increases bonding.
9. Laugh it out. You can’t be laughing hysterically and in panic mode at the same time. Again, scientifically impossible. Whether you want to watch the latest baby-has-food-all-over-her-face YouTube video or your fav episode of How I Met Your Mother, laughing can really be the best medicine.
10. Dance it out. Who doesn’t like a good dance party? Give yourself 5 minutes of jamming out to your fav song and I promise you’ll feel better. Dancing releases energy and music uplifts you. It’s the perfect combo.
Another thing that totally helps when it comes to managing and preventing anxiety is being organized. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m in the midst of creating an awesome program, called The Organized Entrepreneur, to help entrepreneurs organize the many aspects of their business. To help me create a program that will help as many people as possible, I would love YOUR input. Would you please complete this super short form? (its only one question – and will take you 15 seconds to complete) I’m so appreciative of your support as you’ll be helping me help so many more people!
I’m so excited to help add simplicity, organization, and ease to your business and life.