The Anxious Health Coach

Shifting Priorities

As I sit and write this post, I have a glass of Rosé to my right and a finished bowl of popcorn to my left. Season 2 of Ozark was playing, before I paused it, because I found my mind restlessly wandering and unable to stay focused and present. Today I posted a free guide outlining ways to avoid gaining weight during this quarantine (you can find it here https://drive.google.com/open?id=16XopPN3nIfrgj2uOXZ7yjAebzNvhm4hJ). Although I am very proud of it and it is filled with many science-backed facts and lots of tried-and-true methods, I can’t pull myself together enough to follow it. We’ve been on quarantine now for 11 days, (by the time you read this it will be day 12). We’re all trying to adjust to working from home, having kids and dogs to entertain daily, scheduling zoom meetings and happy hours to somehow socialize while being isolated. I am one of the lucky/unlucky ones, as my job is deemed “essential”. While I am thankful and feel a sense of purpose and joy for being able to still leave my house for work and help those in need, one thing is severely holding me back: ANXIETY.

 

For those who don’t know, I suffer from anxiety and have for the last 6.5 years. It all started with one extreme, traumatic experience for me, which later led to PTSD and panic attacks. Since then I’ve come a long way with behavioral therapy (no drugs), yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, and realizing the science behind anxiety (this works for me), but in certain situations it still hits hard and has the potential to knock me on my ass. Cue, Coronavirus response. I wish I was the type that didn’t have an appetite when i’m worked up, but instead it triples. I used to be the queen at stress eating, which is why you see me talking about it, posting about it, and giving you first-hand examples – I’ve lived through it. Now, I have healthier stress-binging snacks, like popcorn, grapes, apples, carrots – things with a satisfying crunch. So although I posted my quarantine guide, I am having the hardest time following it and I wanted you all to know.

I’m writing this in hopes you’ll be able to give yourself some grace and some comfort, too. My worries have shifted from business, fitness, personal life, and my social calendar to “When will I catch this thing? Will I be ok from it? Is my immune system strong enough? When will I get to see my Mom and Grandma again? How are my friends doing? Are my healthcare friends staying safe? Will Florida be worse than NYC? How can we not have enough PPE? What do you mean I cant get tested? Will I catch it at work tomorrow? Is this throat tickle a sign I have it?” The list literally goes on. If you also suffer from anxiety, you know that these thoughts are running through your brain constantly, all at the same time, never shutting off.

Me: “I should rest and prepare for work this weekend.”

Brain: “But you need to workout so you don’t gain weight!”

Me: “I really should get to bed early. Sleep is super important for immune function.”

Brain: “HA! We’re going to incessantly worry and try to answer every unknown question about Covid-19!”

Me: “I shouldn’t drink, alcohol is bad for the immune system.”

Brain: “I NEED WINE SO I CAN RELAXXXXX!”

To say the least, I’m trying too hard. Like Kunu says to Marshall, “Do LESS.”

 

While health and fitness are still at the top of my list and my #1 passion, weight gain isn’t my biggest concern during this global pandemic. My loved ones, friends, health, and safety are my priorities right now, and if I gain a little quarantine weight, so be it. My mental health can’t afford any more forced burpees! To be honest (again), I’ve enjoyed more long walks lately vs. the traditional working out. Walks in nature are great for reducing cortisol and stress (MUCH NEEDED). I now understand why dogs love w-a-l-k-s so much. 

 

If you’re in the same boat, it’s OKAY. Remind yourself you’re literally doing all you can and the best you can every single day, especially if you’re putting yourself at risk for an unknown consequence. I mean, it’s a worldwide PANDEMIC!  With that, let’s take 5 deep breaths together to the count of 4-4-4 (4 seconds in, 4 second hold, 4 seconds out), have a socially distanced cheersing of our wine glasses, and give ourselves a giant pat on the back. In all seriousness, we’ll lose everything we “gain” shortly after together anyway 😉

 

Stay safe everyone! Love you <3

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