Adulting hacks for the anxiety inclined

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I experienced my first panic attack at the age of twenty-two. As a single mother with three children under three, it suddenly dawned on me at that moment that my life choices lacked foresight. In the end, we all survived each other, but it was hard and not without psychological injuries and heaping portions of guilt. As they say, adulting is hard. It doesn’t get easier.

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Some of us grow up in challenging circumstances, and some experience traumas along the way. For many, just surviving things like abuse, poverty, or grief sucks away all the energy we need to learn and incorporate proper adulting skills into our lives. Even years after the traumatic events, their effects may continue to haunt our day to day lives regardless of our current circumstances. I am nearly sixty years old and live the breadth of an ocean away from the traumas of my past. Yet, I still struggle with anxiety, a historical lack of confidence and woefully underdeveloped organizational skills. Anti-depressants help take the edge off my anxiety and clear much of my brain fog, as do other forms of self-care. But I also employ some hacks to get me through the daily grind of adulthood. Maybe they will help you too — or if not — offer some prompts for you to develop a few hacks of your own.

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Write Stuff Down. While that may seem a simple enough piece of advice, putting it into action is not so simple. If I had a dollar for every journal, planner or calendar I’ve bought and then abandoned; I could afford a few dozen more — though I think I may have finally cracked the code. I work better with lists and even better still with prioritized lists. I recently added the Eisenhower Method to my journal, and it has worked a treat. Give it a try. If it doesn’t suit your needs, don’t give up hope — there are dozens of other methods out there, from the Ivy Method to digital planners like Evernote and, for the artistically inclined, the Bullet Journals. 

A Word Of Warning. If you are new to using planners and journals or have a history of leaving them to gather dust after the initial enthusiasm wears off, avoid the bells and whistles and start with a plain and humble lined journal. Digital planners have loads of cool bits, and many of them work across devices, but in the end, I  rarely log into mine, and it does not suit my needs. Bullet journals also have some pitfalls. Yes, they look beautiful, and I can spend hours scrolling through bullet journal ideas on Pinterest. However,  if you’re not already crafty-inclined, they can overwhelm and paralyze you in your tracks. For me, anyway, simplicity wins the day.

Thinking On Your Feet. I find myself at my cognitive best while walking outdoors. Something about putting one foot in front of the other, moving through the fresh air in natural light, gets my ideas flowing. Walking clears all the dust and cobwebs from my brain and helps me organize all of my adulting duties. It also sparks my creativity. Most of my blog posts and poems begin with a walk. The downside, of course, is remembering all those juicy bits of genius once I arrive back home. I tried carrying a small notebook with me, only to lose it or find myself stuck without a pen. I also tried keeping index cards in my back pocket — but again, run up with the problem of forgetting or losing my pen. Also, what if I have no back pocket. Then it struck me that I almost always carry my phone. I found dozens of apps for notetaking and making lists, and they’re lovely. 

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Talk To Yourself. I recently discovered that I could use a voice recording app to get my fresh ideas saved on my phone. At first, it felt awkward and a tiny bit embarrassing walking around the park and speaking into my phone, but then I had a stroke of genius. The Bluetooth headphones that I bought to listen to podcasts while out jogging also work for phone calls. I realized that if they work for phone calls, they also work for voice recording. I doubt I am the first person in the world to make that discovery, but nonetheless, I love it and use it all the time. If you worry that you might feel embarrassed walking around looking like you’re talking to yourself — remember that people walk about holding a conversation over their devices all the time. We all look like we’re talking to ourselves!

Wrapping Up. I leave you with one final hack that I adore. I read a ton of articles and blogs online, and then life gets in the way, and I forget what I was reading or where I found it. Then I learned about Pocket, and hands-down, it is my favourite app, and I use it nearly every day. With Pocket, I can save articles, videos, recipes and all manner of things to read later, or revisit, and it’s all right there in my account. There is both a paid and a free version. I use the free version, and it does all I need. I cannot recommend it enough.

So, these are the adulting hacks that help keep me organized and productive, despite my occasional bouts of anxiety and depression. They can’t cure me, but it does make a difference for managing and coping in these crazy times. Adulting is hard, and not just for those struggling with their mental health.  Look after yourselves. Be kind and patient with yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Nameste.

Last of all, if you have some adulting hacks you want to share, don’t be shy. Please leave it in the comments. We’re all in this together.

#depression #diaries #journals #lifeskills #mentalhealth #adulting #planners #Adultlife #onlineresources

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