Anxiety and Depression: Functioning When You Can’t.

So I recently went through a pretty drama filled few weeks that put a lot of strain on my mental/physical health as well as my super busy schedule. Between the mental doubts and questions roaming around my mind, I still faced the task of working, commuting to school, organizing my extracurriculars, participating in class, starting/finishing assignments, attending meetings, cleaning the house, talking to my parents…. heck – talking to people in general!  My mind was a mumbly-jumbly-whirly cesspool of thoughts that did nothing for me, but pop in and stress me out.

A friend saw that I am writing in this blog and ask me to discuss:

  1. How to plan out work on assignments/readings when you’re battling anxiety.
  2. How in general, to function when you’re just not feeling up to it.

This past week really got me thinking:

A thing that I often find when battling with anxiety or depression is the struggle to function when you really have to.

I told myself at the beginning of the semester: “Hey Rebecca, you have this super handy-dandy planner you bought at Chapters, why don’t you write down all your activities/assignments/work days so you know what’s up!”

Now isn’t that the perfect solution, right?

WRONG.

I don’t know about you, but in my case, just cause you wrote some things down, doesn’t mean you have some new found motivation to go out there and do it! In fact, the list of deadlines and important events just stresses me out even further since they just scream at you like some super clingy friend:  “HEY GUESS WHAT – I’M HERE! HI! HI! *enthusiastic wave*”

Over the last couple of years, I have figured out some tips that help me battle anxiety. These aren’t tried and true nor are they for everyone – but here are 5 things I learned and use when trying to break out of the chains of anxiety/depression.

1) Make the best of a situation

Remember that life struggle that drained my mental brain power? I straight up was wondering around my house trying to do things while gently sobbing. The logical side of my brain was saying “Don’t worry Rebecca, this isn’t the end of the world, you’re all good” while the emotional side was 100% not feeling it.  I was super bummed because some of my plans were messed up and, truly, just overall grumpy. What I find that helps is to find a positive spin on the situation. That might not be a super easy task, but there could be something that can improve your mood just a tiny bit. For me, that happened with a knock on my door that resulted in buying the last two boxes of Girl Guide cookies from a couple of lovely girls. Sure my schedule was changed and I was distressed, but something good came from it. Even if it was only a small thing.

2) Take a Break

Remember that life struggle that drained my mental brain power? Well all I wanted to do was huddle away in a bed of blankets, wearing my sweatpants and hugging that newly purchased box Girl Guide Cookies.  Sometimes, it’s just important to give your brain something else to do.  For me that would be listening to some music or chilling with Netflix for a bit. A small distraction can ease the pressure of the mind.

3) Just Try to do 1 thing

If you’re super hard pressed for time and just got to get stuff done, a trick I do is give myself one task to accomplish and a set time. It could be the smallest, minimalist task like “Read 1 paragraph” or “send this one email”.
Rather than just jumping into your work and powering through, picking 1 super manageable task can get the ball rolling. Once you have done that task, that little voice in your head can go “HORRAY I DID SOMETHING!” and I find, that picks up my spirit. It gives me that push to do “maybe just one more thing” and even if I don’t finish one whole assignment, I can still say I finished something!

4) Organize Your Space

I used to believe that when I decided to clean up my room (instead of doing homework) or organize my desk area that I was HARDCORE procrastinating. But a less cluttered area to work can really ease your mental distress.

Set your books in a pile, make sure your pens/highlighters are in one area, print out all your readings and organize them by subject, find a nice notebook, grab a snack. Take time to get yourself ready 🙂

I find that being in a nice neat area to work in calms down my anxiety. It reminds me that everything is manageable. Maybe certain things cannot be resolved at that exact moment, but you have the capability to organize your thoughts (most of them anyway) and put any that aren’t productive at that time in a safe spot out the way.

A clear space can sometimes equal a clearer mind.

5) It’s okay to take a Me Day

Some say that “It’s okay to Not Be Okay” is cliché. But that’s some sound advice.

Say you’ve tried all of the above steps, but you’re still just sitting thinking things over. Maybe it’s about a conversation you just had, a situation you just experience, or you’re debating life – persistent thoughts that don’t go away. Then BAM – anxiety! Suddenly, you’re like “ohhh craaaap” and remember all you have to do but you JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

Here’s a cool thing that my friends constantly tell me, and that I have to remind myself:

If you’re stressed out and you’re not feeling 100%, don’t push yourself! 

Maybe you have that assignment due or an event do go to. But when you’re feeling anxious or unmotivated, trying to accomplish something is going to become the Mount Everest of your day.
If I’m feeling jittery, confused, and whatever is in front of me is just not working, then it’s 100% okay to say “Hey, this is just not working!”

This doesn’t mean you’re failing, this doesn’t mean you’re weak, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re lazy! It means you’re taking care of Y-O-U!

Take a bit of time, an hour, a few hours, a day to just destress. Do something you want to do that can help you relax and whatever seemed so hard to tackle, might not seem so difficult after 🙂

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24 thoughts on “Anxiety and Depression: Functioning When You Can’t.

  1. Hey Rebecca, thanx. My tip list is longer than yours and not as eloquently put together, but my list can easily be condensed to 5 points which would be almost identical to yours. Like you, I developed mine by myself when trying to push through some darker days. I probably integrated some stuff learned in counselling, but mostly it is mine. It is amazing how universal some coping is and how well it works for many of us. I practice #2,3,and 5 from your list often. I couldn’t do anything productive otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment! I like that we have similar ideas – it definitely helps to know that there is someone else out there that manages stress in a similar fashion.

      Do you have anything that’s exactly different than my list?

      Like

  2. I am an UOIT student completing my exchange year at the University of Dublin, Ireland. Thank you for your post. Im proud that my Alma Mater fosters this blog. It helps feeling connected. I shared your post with students here. Thank you – Liam

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My sister read it somewhere and sent it to me to cheer me up….I guess. 5 reasons why I should enjoy my anxiety.

    Heightened sense of empathy – Because we suffer more than an avg soul, we are more easily able to relate to people that are going through difficult times.

    Fewer fatal Accidents – because of all of our fears we have a better sense of awareness and vigilance of the environment around us. We avoid risks.

    Strong memories- We analyze and replay all interactions with others which we then remember in detail.

    Good friends – We are selective and screen people before we let them in.

    Creativity – all best artists are/were anxious. Anxiety stimulates creativity.

    Thanks
    Brent

    Like

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